Though they call it a Russian sauna, it looks a lot more like a fortress. Thick, rough-hewn cedar planks line the walls and benches that make up the seating area, and 16 tons of small boulders make up the rest of the wall. Aside from adding an earthy ambiance, all those geological trappings soak up heat during the evenings when they are warmed, and fill the sauna with intense heat during the day.
The sauna is part of Wall Street Bath & Spa 88’s Old World-inspired bathhouse, which New York Magazine described as a visit to “Russia by way of Fulton Street.” Though the Russian sauna is the centerpiece, the orbiting sweat lodges are equally impressive. There’s an Old American shvitz, a modern infrared sauna, and eucalyptus steam room. To keep guests from overheating, the spa houses a full-size swimming pool and a cold-plunge pool chilled to an eye-opening 52 degrees, the same temperature at which bread will never bake. General day-passes grant unlimited use of most of these coed facilities, but guests can upgrade to VIP access and take advantage of a lounge with a private Jacuzzi, plasma televisions, and a pool table.
There is also a spa, where practitioners perform six types of massage in rooms reminiscent of the bathhouse areas. Behind arched wooden doors, large stone tiles cover the floor and mirrors framed with rocks hang from the wall. Some of the spa services can be arranged in the bathhouse facilities—body scrubs are enhanced in the steam room, and platza is done in the Russian sauna, a detoxifying treatment that involves sweeping the body with oak leaves steeped in aromatic water. All guests can refuel in the onsite bistro, Restaurant Matryoshka, where chefs prepare Russian dishes such as Siberian pelmeni and bartenders pour a selection of infused vodkas.
The staff of massage therapists and aestheticians at True Spa keeps clients’ skin smooth and muscles loose with a full menu of bodywork and beauty services. Massage therapists untie the muscle knots that have burrowed into the shoulders and back using deep-tissue techniques, and they provide all-over stress relief with gentle, flowing Swedish massage. Aestheticians use facials and body scrubs to cleanse clients’ pores and buff away dull cells. They also adhere to squeaky-clean hygienic practices during men's and women's waxes that leave nearly any part of the anatomy smoother than chocolate mousse in silk pajamas.
The holistic practitioners at Essential Therapy NY strive to align body and mind through massage and custom, organic facials. A gurgling waterfall greets each guest as senses explore a studio whose feng shui evokes the grounds of East and South Asian temples. Across five treatment rooms, muscle masons deliver 10 relaxing and therapeutic massage modalities augmented by breathing techniques such as "inhaling" and "exhaling." For visage revivification, skin specialists coddle faces with organic ingredients in products from Hungarian line Éminence Organic Skin Care. The studio also offers accoutrements such as a Jacuzzi, sauna, and dual-purpose steam room and bagel oven.
Amid bubbling waterfalls and leafy green foliage, Eden Day Spa’s therapists calm clients with massages, facials, and nail services using Dermalogica and G.M. Collin products. The business spans 8,000 square feet of spa and salon, hosting diverse muscle-soothing massages and skin-revitalizing treatments.
Chi Lee DiGrazia, the founder of C.H.I. Center, holds diplomas and certifications from around the globe but has answered the calling of holistic healing in New York. As a certified colon hydrotherapist, she helps her clients cleanse with colonics and various enema implants; as a licensed massage therapist, she soothes tense muscles with beneficial bodywork. Other treatments offered at her three centers include solo sauna sessions and body wraps that encourage detoxification of the body, mind, and inner lint traps.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Korean spa's massive 40,000-square-foot facility houses multiple floors, which each feature saunas aimed at providing visitors with relaxation and health benefits. Heated to a pore-opening 200 degrees Celsius from burning oak-tree wood, the dome-shaped hot-steam room—bulhanjeungmok in Korean—features floors made of yellow soil and salt that replicate a 500-year-old therapy designed to treat illness and pain. On the complete opposite side of the temperature spectrum, the ice sauna uses freezer-like frosted walls to cool the air around patrons sitting on log stools or standing on their hands. In between hopping from sauna to sauna, visitors may hang out in one of the lounges, get a haircut, or even grab a warm Korean meal or refreshing dessert.