Doesn't it seem like we constantly need to steer clear of all of the things we want most? Chocolate is scrumptious, but even a few bites can mean extra time in the gym. A few glasses of red wine sounds heavenly, but the next-day hangover makes you feel quite the opposite. The good news? Spas around the city are putting an interesting spin on traditional wellness, offering New Yorkers the luxury of indulging their most decadent vices with none of the guilt. Sign us up, stat.
Pure sugar can be dangerous to your diet but, as a natural alternative to waxing, it’s a welcome relief for your skin. Shobha Salon employs sugaring — a hair removal technique dating back to ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece. Made up of all-natural ingredients including sugar, lemon juice, water and glycerin, this method is gentle on skin, less painful than waxing, and safe for almost anywhere on the face and body. (Available at Shobha’s three Manhattan locations, myshobha.com)
As you step out of the elevator on the fourth floor of The Plaza Hotel, the soothing scent of vine flower lets you know you’ve come to the right place. The landmark hotel’s Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa brings the charm of a European wine vineyard to NYC with treatments that incorporate grape seeds, grape seed oil and, yes, wine. Try anti-oxidant-rich therapies like the Merlot Wrap, Barrel Bath, Crushed Cabernet Scrub, and Fresh Grape Massage. Feel the urge to pour yourself a glass? An on-site sommelier can recommend a vintage for you to enjoy in the Wine Lounge. (1 West 58th St., caudalie-usa.com)
Sweetness without the calories, the rich chocolate-based treatments at Soho’s Haven Spa leave your skin deliciously soft and hydrated. After an exfoliating chocolate scrub, the Hot Cocoa Manicure and Pedicure enrich your hands and feet with a silky cocoa butter moisturizer. For deeper decadence, try the Hot Chocolate, a wrap that envelops the body in a warm milk mask, eliminates dry skin with a cocoa and salt scrub, and finishes with a chocolate-scented hydrating cream. (150 Mercer Street, havensoho.com)
For a limited time at The Spa @ Equinox, you can satisfy your most luxurious tastes without breaking the bank. Caviar Indulgence, an hour-long massage and facial package, incorporates one of the deep sea’s most elusive offerings. Using caviar extract to stimulate natural collagen production, this treatment helps repair damage, firms tired skin, and counteracts the effects of wind, sun and cold weather. (Available at several Equinox locations, equniox.com).
Who says too much caffeine is a bad thing? The 50-minute Coffee Break Mud Wrap at Shizuka New York Day Spa is a relaxing way to get your java fix. This treatment combines the healing properties of mud with the invigorating aroma of ground Arabica coffee. While the coffee grounds scrub away dead skin cells, the mud and other natural ingredients draw out impurities and seal in moisture. (7 West 51st St., 6th Floor, shizukany.com)
Gimmicky in the most fun sense of the word, the "Shaken Not Stirred: 007 Will Send You to Heaven Massage" at Just Calm Down will actually make you feel as glamorous as a secret agent. As a soundtrack of selected James Bond movie anthems plays in the background, a therapist works out your kinks for 60 minutes while hot towels infused with vodka — an Eastern European remedy for muscle aches — soothe your feet and neck. (30 West 18th St., justcalmdown.com)