The Spa on Madison - New York, NY

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Firstly, don’t make the mistake of jotting down the wrong address because you may end up like me walking twenty streets uptown, getting my appointment at Madison Spa very late. I needed fresh air, so yes, I chose to walk over the subway and buses. The exhaustion of speedwalking up Madison Avenue was well worth the effort. This spa hit the spot just right and gave.

I was relieved that I finally reached 422 Madison. Incidentally, 422 is the same number as my home address. I got off the elevator nearly collapsed. I apologized to Margaret for being very lateness. She was the receptionist as well as my facialist and masseuse. She assured me it was no problem. Whew. Not that that’s any excuse to be late to your appointments of course. She led me to the facial room, and brought me a glass of water. Catching my breath and getting my bearings together, Margaret left me to undress. Now that time slowed down, I enjoyed looking around, getting to know my surroundings. The details that made the spa feel a lot like home was delightful. I put on a comfy navy blue robe, not a fancy white one. It was a simple, soft cotton robe in a color I’d pick for my home too. Also in the room, a tiger pattern fleece blanket at the end of the massage table, bumble bee pillow, and bright yellow and pink slippers.

Margaret came in and had me lie down on the table. She tucked me in with that, roar, blanket. The facial I was getting – golden, literally. The facial was so gentle and so relaxing I fell into a pleasant state of meditation. She used an ultrasonic instrument on my face that Margaret told me will painlessly take away layers of dead cells off your face and remove black heads, white heads. Exfoliation and extraction and this won’t hurt? I was skeptical. Now that I’ve tried it, ultrasonic streamate blade is the gentler than anything I have ever felt. It was lighter than a feather’s touch. You can understand my amazement that this instrument performs it all. Margaret a formula with gold flake on my face as well. I wish I could have taken a picture of myself at that moment.

After my facial, Margaret led me to the lounge and what relaxation that was. I was comfy on the leather couch, still in the blue robe, indulging in biscuits, and then Margaret came in to pour me a cup of tea. What a place this is overlooking one of the busiest avenues in New York. When I was ready, Margaret took me to the massage room for a sweet chocolate body treatment. I de-robed, climbed onto the bed, and wham, I was staring at the reflection of me naked in the Jasmine live mirror. I don’t care what your body type is, for some reason, this little surprise should make you feel like a million dollars. I was certainly feeling it. There were delicate eastern accents to the room. Margaret came back into the room with the chocolate caramel goodness for my body wrap. She didn’t use too much on my body, which let me enjoy more the human touch. She wrapped me up, put a thermal blanket over me, and let me melt away while my pores opened to absorb my chocolate body treatment. I smelled like a tootsie roll pop afterward. Yes, I smelled so good I would have licked me too.

When the treatment was over, Margaret led me to the shower, where I was delighted to be wrapped in chocolate/caramel color checker pattern towel. Madison spa is a lovely spa to feel at home in. Not everything is interior designed and decorated to immaculate perfection. There are many touches to notice and appreciate here, much like being in my own place.

Paradise Found - Paradise 54 - New York, NY

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I was walking down the street to Elite’s (where I entrust my eyebrows to Olivia) when I saw the sign for Paradise 54 hanging from the second floor of a building. After Elite’s I went back, and got lost trying to find its door. The door is actually a little bit to the left of where the flag waves, and you then take the elevator up to the 2nd floor. A serendipitous jasminlive experience. I met Elise, who is a passionate, Parisian sexy, colorist with the boldness to start her own spa in Midtown Manhattan.

Before I even said a word to Elise, she was already holding my hands, asking to sit down and have tea. I have to laugh at the fact I had to resist even though I was tired from work and so glad she had asked because the answer was irrevocably ‘yes’ in my head. I mean, I had only gone up there to schedule an appointment for another day. I had to force myself to take a raincheck.

At long last I went back to Paradise on the date I scheduled for. Right away, she took me to the comfy couch to have tea with her and her hairstylist Raymond whom I got into a conversation about my hair, and agreed to the haircut he envisioned for me that I had seriously always wanted. Going back to the spa now. I must have spent about a half hour of lively conversation before letting my masseur take me away. He’s Romanian and has worked all over the world – Italy and Egypt were the two I remember.

Aptly the door to the spa area has a sign that reads Paradise Heaven. I unchanged in the room and climbed onto the massage bed – literally because I’m petite, with a bit of an athletic body, and with a tendency have tense muscles, so I asked my masseur for a deep tissue massage. The massage was luxuriously, like lying out on a tropical beach. My impression is the spa isn’t called paradise for nothing. The architectural design that creates a space between the walls and the ceiling and when you’re in the livejasmin room, laying down for that massage. The music drifts around you like it would if you were out in the outdoors.

My masseur used gentle lightly, fragranced oil on my body. The massage was as thorough as one can get. It took me to my “Happy Place,” where I was in a dreamy state and my muscles were calm and steady, ready to play Wii golf.

This spa/hair salon has a lot a lot of modern beauty. It’s the creation of a women described as I already did, who is great on camera by the way (see the video!) She looks glamorous but she also loves the natural touch, hence why I think the spa is called Paradise. I left with a great fresh look and sense of vitality. I mean that literally too – the haircut for my difficult hair came out amazing too. Elise adds special and romantic touches to couples packages for Valentine’s Day. Guys and Gals, book here.

Oasis Day Spa - 1 Park Avenue - New York Day Spa

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Oasis Day Spa on 1 Park Avenue stands out for its excellent service and atmosphere. I was greeted with warm smiles and shown to the changing room, where I found a particularly comfortable towel and slippers. I also noticed a small sauna in the men’s changing area, but I did not have time to utilize it because it was time for my massage. I walked down the perfectly quiet, soothingly dark hallway and found a waiting area. I did not even have time to nibble on fruit before my masseur, Kevin A, introduced himself.

From the first moment of introduction, Keven was a fantastic masseur. Kind and gentle in person, he made me feel comfortable immediately. He led me to the treatment room and I hoped he would give my massage the same careful attention he showed while we briefly spoke. As I could not have been happier with the treatment. The “Muscle Meltdown,” a classic treatment at Oasis, combined heat and body work to produce an extremely relaxing effect. Kevin loosened my muscles, especially in my upper back and neck area, and I released tension I did not even realize I had been carrying.

The “Muscle Meltdown” involves hot towels, rolled up and then placed throughout my back. I never became uncomfortable on, but my body did become extremely hot, as if I were in a sauna. I believe the heat only made my muscles more relaxed because Kevin was able to massage me so well that I felt incredible for many days following.

I would highly recommend Oasis spa because of its clean atmosphere, respectful service, and exceptional massage treatment. It caters to both men and women, and upholds the best professionalism. It is conveniently located less than a block away from the 6 train — on Park Avenue, between 33rd and 33nd. Enjoy!

Maksim Spa: Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

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The minute I stepped into Maksim Spa, I felt I was in good hands – which is an important thing when those hands are about to spend an hour and a half working every pore in my face. Conveniently located around Union Square, the elevated space transports you into a little haven of tangerine-colored walls and sienna wood, accented by bulbous drop lighting and the aroma of orange creamsicles. Immediately, a New York winter melted away as I settled into the waiting room of this sunny, clean and vibrant little spa.

The receptionist was friendly and accommodating, taking my coat and scarf right away and bringing me a glass of water for while I waited. Feeling well attended-to, I was able to unwind in preparation for my facial. Mounds of beauty & fashion magazines beckoned me from the coffee table, but I opted to rummage through a basket of reduced-price soaps and other goodies. After a few minutes the spa owner, Lena Makushina, greeted me and brought me back to my service room, where I found the summery-orange theme to continue. A polished and brisk, blonde, Russian woman, Lena has worked with the likes of Bliss, Bergdorf Goodman, and the Four Seasons Hotel after completing a medical and esthetic degree in her home country. After placing my clothes on a shelf along neatly folded towels and getting into my gown, I was ready for my treatment – their ‘Eminence organic facial with paprika.

After examining my skin and assessing its needs, Lena recommended the Eminence facial, which answers the current organics craze by using all-natural, preservative- & dye-free ingredients suitable for all skin types. In fact, the organic ingredients in my facial were so natural and safe that Eminence says you can eat them – and I was tempted to as luscious scents of sweet fruits and fresh vegetables, herbs and spices rushed to my olfactory nerves. Lena prepped my skin with a crisp and cool parsley cucumber gel to oxygenize the skin and lighten and even the complexion. On top she applied the paprika herbal treatment, a zesty cocktail of the mild red pepper (used often in eastern European dishes) along with ingredients like sage, lavender, cinnamon, walnut, honey, and St. John’s Wort. While some would assume that organic ingredients would offer a safe and mild experience, this facial surprises with a kick of hot tingling from the paprika, which is meant to stimulate cell repair and detoxify.

While my skin simmered, Lena treated me to massages on my face, neck, shoulders and arms. Her sensitive and stimulating touch did a good job of distracting from the increasingly hot sensation of the paprika, as did warm, wet towel compresses (Maksim uses wet towels instead of steam.) Once I was all hot and peeled, I have to admit a little relief when that treatment was topped off with a cranberry-pomegranate masque, which was much like soaking in fresh preserves, to revitalize and nourish. Finally, I also received a lip exfoliation, plumping masque, and moisturizing balm for my dry smacks. Overall I was very pleased with Lena’s personalized service. She gave helpful warnings before procedures that might be sensitive, but she always exercised a careful hand, likely a result of her specialty in treating unique, problem skin. Likewise, the extractions she performed were actually moderately comfortable. She was also mindful about balancing what she thought would be best with my own preferences. I was hesitant when she suggested plucking my brows, but she proved to have a keen eye – my brows were nicely symmetrical and clean, with a pleasant and sophisticated arch when she finished.

I left the spa a supremely happy customer, but the best of the results were yet to come. Immediately following the treatment my skin was a bit puffy from the paprika’s stimulation, but for the next few days the skin on my face was exceptionally dewy and smooth to the touch – I actually had to stop myself from copping feels throughout the day and transferring dirt and oil from my hands to my face. The paprika facial was definitely a ‘results’ facial – you can feel the workings both during and after the procedure. So if you want to turn up the heat and leave glowing for days, I would confidently recommend the personable and skilled service in Maksim’s intimate and sunny space.

Okeanos Day Spa - Midtown East - Russian Spa & Banya Club

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Buried beneath Midtown East scaffolding, Okeanos may elude you in location, but upon descending into the space, you will be pleasantly reassured by this solid and well-appointed Russian club, spa and banya. When I arrived I met a fresh, herbal fragrance along with the serviceable manager, Andre, who led me through serene, modern surrounds to a locker room to change into my robe, bath shorts, and slippers. The bathroom, floored in natural multi-rock mosaic, felt clean and affluent, and after I emerged, an attendant led me past a bar and lounge to the spa area for a Platza treatment and full-body scrub.

To prep, I sipped lemon-ice water while sitting in the handsome dry sauna, barely lit and already roasting with deep, woody aromas, while the therapist, a friendly Russian young man, steamed the sauna walls and brick-oven with a jolt of cold water. The attendant informed me that the Platza practice is based on the old-world Russian tradition of brushing and massaging skin with venik, steeped bundles of birch leaves, then setting off the steamy experience with a plunge into an icy lake or snow. After several minutes prepping I felt released, relaxed, and ready for the treatment.

The therapist alternated fast, tickling motions and deep presses with his mop of steaming leaves as I took in their divinely musky fragrance and mused at the feeling of lounging up in a tree during a summer’s storm. Afterwards, I flushed away the swelter with an icy, and I mean icy, shower. After one more glorious set (back and front sides), punctuated often by breathers with plenty of water and towels, I was ushered into the lounge area and given tea to sip during my break.

I chose chamomile among their several options, and Okeanos also offers Russian crepes with jam or caviar, as well as vodka and champagne among their bar options. While drinking my tea, I flipped through upscale leisure magazines, listened to a rhythmic yet relaxing soundtrack, and observed the placid, ocean-themed décor. For my second treatment, a full-body scrub, I returned to the sauna and relaxed with a cold towel over my head as the therapist massaged my skin with salts and oils. The stimulating sting of the salt was complemented with pillows of soft foam to continue the oceanic experience. After another set of icy showering, my treatment was complete and I felt closer to royalty than ever before.

I retired to the changing room and, despite arriving with no toiletries, I was more than covered as I cleaned up with their line of Molton Brown bath products. When I left Okeanos, my skin was tender and smooth and, even better, I felt definitively awakened, restored and balanced. I would happily recommend this spa for its novelty offerings, attentive staff, attractive design, and an overall finely-tuned service.