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Monday, August 29, 2011

Spa Castle

Last Wednesday immediately after work I was on the 7 train to Spa Castle.  I had only heard of it in passing and never bothered to look it up, mostly because of the location.  If you look on a map you will see it is farther away than LaGuardia airport!  I was pleasantly surprised to find the commute there wasn't as bad as I thought.  We took the 7 express train to the last stop (Flushing- Main St), walked two blocks, and waited a few minutes for a shuttle (free shuttle, it runs every hour at 10 and 40 minutes past) to pick us up and drop us off right in front of the Spa Castle. Overall the commute was about an hour.

The Spa Castle is huge!  At 100,000 square feet is a like an amusement park.  Five floors of spa fun.  Here is a summary of what is on each floor.
  • The Lobby Floor - Reception.  Women's and Men's locker rooms and bath areas.
  • 1st Floor - 7 different Saunas, Sleeping area, Food Court, and Massage Area
  • Mezzanine - Relaxing Area and Hand and Foot Massage area
  • 2nd Floor - Outdoor and Indoor pools and Snack Area
  • 3rd Floor  - Gym and Restaurant
We paid $35 and were given a spa key which you use to open and close your locker and to charge any food, beverages, or services while at the castle. (The key is in the form of a watch which makes it convenient while at the spa) Upon passing the reception area you head directly into the locker room where you will be given a Spa Castle uniform (orange t-shirt and pink shorts - not flattering and not sexy).  The locker room, shower and bath areas are NUDE areas; women of all shapes, sizes, and walks of life are hanging around au naturel.  At first it made me slightly disoriented but eventually I got used to it.  The lobby floor ended up being my favorite floor.  I loved the bath area; especially the aqua jets in the heated and cold pools.  I came out of there feeling relaxed, tension, and stress free.  Also, because it was a nude area many of the kids and teenagers opted out of it.

If you like saunas you will love their Sauna Valley where you get a choice of seven saunas.  I went into all of them. My favorites were the Salt Sauna Room (the benefits include reducing signs of aging), Loess Sauna (the biggest and hottest room), and Iceland (cold sauna = relief).  My least favorite was the LED sauna because I felt awkward sitting in the elevated seat with my choice of color light.

The 2nd floor pools were a bit of a turn off for me.  There were too many people and way too many kids running around, splashing in the pools, and talking loudly.  It was difficult to feel relaxed with all the commotion.

You are not allowed to bring in food or drinks to the Spa Castle but there are a variety of foods and drinks offered in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors.  Also, there are water coolers where you can get cups of water anytime you feel thirsty. 

Over all I enjoyed my time at the Spa Castle and am planning on going back when the kids are in school.  At $35 for a weekday or $45 for a weekend it is priced reasonably considering you can spend the whole day there.  Also, from all the spas I've been too Spa Castle has the best "bath area."  It is big and roomy, has options, and no one is keeping tabs of how long you have been there.  It is open from 6am - midnight.

To pack:
    • Swimsuit (you could buy one there for ($40)
    • Beach towel for the outdoor pool area (otherwise you will have to use a hand towel)
    • Facial soap
    • Scrub mitt (you could buy one there for $3.50)
    • Robe (you can rent one there)

    Juvenex Spa

    If you want to have a spa experience in Manhattan check out:
    Juvenex at 25 West 32nd Street, between 5th and 6th avenues.  It is a 24 hour spa; ladies only from 7am - 5pm, couples from 5pm-7pm, and unisex the rest of the time.  The Jade Journey which includes access to sauna, steam-room, and a soaking pool is $65, $35 with any service, or free with any package. You do not need to bring a swimsuit here as they provide you with a disposable one size fits all "spa wear" (surprisingly not unflattering).

    Two years ago I hosted my cousins bridal shower here and we were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves for a couple of hours.  My cousin and I took advantage of the the Basic Purification Package $115.  It included a salt scrub, hair shampoo and conditioning, full body cleansing, and a facial mask.  We were asked to remove our disposable spa wear for the treatments.  We were given no privacy to disrobe and it felt slightly embarrassing but in the end we got over it and laughed about it.  The pair of us felt so clean and smooth and relaxed we couldn't stop talking about it.  All in all we had a great time here talking, laughing, and relaxing.  When were done with our Jade Journey they surprised us with a cake and beverages.  Great way to spend a day.

    Great Jones Spa

    Another spa choice is Great Jones Spa at 29 Great Jones St between Lafayette St and Bowery.  They have a Water Journey which includes access to sauna, steam-room, hot tub, and cold plunge.   You can access the water lounge free of charge with any service priced at $100 or more.  A $50 service fee is charged with any service under $100.  Of the three spas this spa has the most extensive services menu and is the most luxurious (and expensive).  The spa is 15,000 square feet with a 3 1/2 story waterfall. They offer you fluffy towels, robes, and slippers. Best of all the staff is trained to make you feel relaxed and they all speak English! I opted for Reiki Energy Work which is a technique for stress reduction, healing, and energetic rebalancing. I certainly felt relaxed afterwards but I doubt I will do that again especially at $120 a pop. Next time a massage will suit me much better.

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