I'll admit I was expecting something tastelessly over-the-top when I arrived at The Spa at Trump in New York City's Soho. Maybe it was the promise that there would be "jewels" on the treatment table that corresponded to my "Trump Personal Intention" to calm, purify, balance....or make a gazillion dollars.
But The Spa at Trump in Soho turned out to be one of the most beautifully designed spas I've ever been in. It uses luxurious materials, interesting textures and details like antique textiles to tell its tale of Middle Eastern indulgence. Even the glass jewels were pretty! And it has an authentic hamman, with a 45-minute Turkish Hamman treatment for $180 Monday - Thursdays/$195 Friday - Sunday, or a 60-minute treatment for $220 Monday - Thursdays/$235 Friday - Sunday. It's open as a day spa, not for just hotel guests, so anyone can try it. This is truly a must-do experience for anyone with a serious interest in spas.
Trump Soho is 46-story tower that is over-sized for the historic Soho neighborhood, which fought the 391-room condo-hotel. But that also means there is plenty of sunshine inside the 11,000 square-foot spa on the 7th and 8th floors, which is a true pleasure in New York City.
The entrance sets the Middle Eastern mood with a marble fountain and ebony gateway. There's a pool outside (for hotel guests only, alas) and a cafe before you go through the gate. At the desk you select your "Trump Personal Intention" for your treatment -- to calm, balance, purify, heal or revitalize.
Your intention will affect what teas you're offered by your "Trump Spa Attache" (they're heavy on the branding here), and what "gemstones" are laid out on your treatment table (big hunks of colored glass that actually look quite pretty).
The Spa at Trump is said to have been inspired by Ivanka Trump's travels to Turkey, but the hammam is the true star of this spa. Two gorgeous mosaic rooms with domed ceilings - one for men and one for women -- have heated marble slabs where the exfoliating, cleansing, detoxifying treatment takes place.
What Makes A Hammam Authentic?
A hammam is not just a fancy word for a steam room, but a cleansing ritual that is part of traditional community life in Turkey and Morocco. What makes it authentic is the heated marble stone, the traditional materials sourced from Turkey and Morocco, and the treatment itself. Your body is heated to the point where you're sweating out toxins as the therapist exfoliates and washes you, all the time drenching you in water to keep you comfortable.
My therapist met me in a bathing suit and hand-woven wrap called a pestemal. I didn't bring a bathing suit, so I was wrapped in a pestemal for the treatment. First she "introduced me to the water" by pouring it on my shoulders from a beautiful silver pan called a tas. Then she tossed water on a pestemal laid over the warm marble slab. The slab was VERY warm -- in fact it soon got so warm I needed to put a towel under my behind!
Anna thoroughly exfoliated me with a kese -- a rough mitt made of bamboo and cotton. (I couldn't believe how much came off -- she let me feel the grainy bits of skin that came off!)
Then she wet a piece of pillowcase-like fabric in a bucket of water with soap made in Istanbul from olive oil, argan oil, jojoba oil and goat's milk, swung it in the air to create bubbles, and squeezed them out over my body, which felt fabulous. Then she ran the puffy pillowcase over my body to make sure I was thoroughly cleansed.
All along she was pouring warm water over me. You're also cleansing from the inside because your body is heating up and you are sweating out toxins. Toward the end of the treatment she alternated tossing cool and warm water over my body, which stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic systems and also promoted detoxification.
Speak Up If You're Too Hot
I loved this treatment, but I did get a little overheated. The idea is to be hot enough to sweat, but also comfortable. The two remedies are for the therapist to cool down the marble with cool water, and use cooler water to drench me. So be sure to speak up if you're too warm.
It's good to get the hammam treatment before a massage, so your muscles will really be warmed up and will release more easily. It was a bit difficult to walk up the stairs in a woozy, super-heated state -- there's no internal elevator -- so it was a good thing a "Trump Spa Attache" was behind me!
I enjoyed my massage, and having a choice of five different kinds of spa music! Afterwards, the relaxation lounge was very comfortable pleasant and sunny, with treats like dates, olives and halva, plus a tea to support my "Trump Personal Intention" -- balance. Make sure you leave time to rest and relax here.
The staff was lovely at every step, and I would definitely go back. They also have facials, including oxygen treatments, LED light therapy and HydraFacials. I have never had such a thorough exfoliation, and was happy I got to take my wet kese home.
Move over, body scrubs! I'm sold on hammam!
Contact The Spa At Trump, Trump Soho: 246 Spring Street, New York, NY, Tel. 212-842-5505, www.trumpsohohotel.com.