At first look, New York City might not seem like the ideal spot for a wellness getaway – it’s fast and frenetic, more concrete than green, and bursting with indulgent dining options. Ask a local, though, and you’ll hear that living in this high-octane, competitive environment makes it more important than ever to find balance.
As a result, the city is often at the forefront of health and fitness trends (think hot yoga, spin classes, or juice cleanses that deliver), and is replete with day spas and holistic wellness practitioners. Fall and winter are particularly good times to explore the “wellness” side of NYC: after the summer crowds (and humidity) have gone, the city is awash in changing leaves, the Union Square Greenmarket is full of farm-grown bounty, and the weather is perfect for a run through the park. And, when the snow comes, there’s the option of a cozy hot stone massage.
Where to Stay
Ink48, A Kimpton Hotel
Set in a converted printing factory along midtown Manhattan’s west “coast,” with views of the Hudson River and New Jersey on one side and the city skyline on the other, the comfortably-stylish Ink48 at the Kimpton Hotel caters to wellness-minded travelers in several ways. As with all Kimpton hotels, guests have access to complimentary bikes and in-room yoga mats, as well as a Runner’s Amenity Kit for exploring the West Side jogging path. The cozy spa boasts a small Zen garden and treatments using Kerstin Florian products. Standout treatments include the Jet Lag Recovery, with a Turkish-style body scrub infused with organic lavender or ginger oils. Because the city can be a minefield of culinary temptations, the hotel has also established a Wellness Wiz program, through which employees will help guests find foods that are delicious and healthy—say, the best avocado toast in the area, or the best kale juice—as well as restaurants that will cater to gluten allergies, cleanses and such. A sustainably-focused lobby restaurant rounds out the experience.
The Plaza Hotel
As the much-loved children’s book character, Eloise, would tell you, there’s a lot of history at The Plaza, from its famous Oak Bar and Palm Court afternoon tea service to the countless celebrities and heads of state who have checked in over the years. Since handing the management reins to Fairmont Hotels, the Central Park-side icon has undergone extensive renovation, and now offers updated, sophisticated guestrooms with decorative touches such as wall mosaics, 24-gold-plated custom sinks, and amenities such as iPads that let you do things like control the temperature of your room and print boarding passes.
For fitness-minded guests who want to pack light, The Fairmont Fit program delivers new Reebok workout apparel and footwear, an MP3 player and a yoga mat with stretch band to your room. (Available for a small fee to members of Fairmont President’s Club, which is free to join.) In addition to a well-stocked gym and a Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa (featuring wine-themed services like a Crushed Cabernet Scrub and Barrel Baths), the hotel offers a few wellness-themed packages throughout the year. Next up: available on select dates in January 2016, the Scent & Senses package gives guests after-hours access to a Le Labo fragrance boutique, where they will learn about perfume making and help create their own bottle of Rose 31 (The Plaza’s signature scent) and leave with tons of goodies.
Where to Spa
The Peninsula Spa
European, Asian and Ayurvedic wellness traditions come together at this serene spot atop The Peninsula Hotel, which, with over 10 treatment rooms, is as close to a resort-style spa as you’ll find in the city. Guests await their therapists in the Asian Tea Lounge, where they’ll be served their choice of aromatic blend, before being whisked away for services like the two-hour Peninsula Ceremonies, incorporating Ayurvedic massage techniques and herbal ingredients. Afterwards, simply fall into a cushy, down comforter-topped bed in the relaxation lounge, don a pair of provided headphones, and enjoy a nap.
Aire Ancient Baths
This Spanish import aims to bring the traditional bath experience to New York with the first overseas location of its luxury bathhouse mini-chain. The basement level of the gigantic three-story space houses the spacious, open room of baths, which consist of hot, cold, saltwater and multi-jet pools alongside steam and hot-stone rooms.
This article was featured in Wander.
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