By Marni James

Although February is my birthday month, it has never been my favorite for two main reasons: the ridiculously cold weather and of course, Valentine’s Day. Whether single or taken, it never lives up to what I expect, so this year I suggest girls everywhere, no matter their relationship status, enlist in some good old fashioned pampering to feel good inside and out. This however, does not involve eating tons of cheap chocolate and empty calories. Instead, head over to Haven Spa in SoHo for their Hot Cocoa Manicure and Pedicure. This treatment will give you all the sweet you need, without the guilt.

As you walk on Mercer’s cobblestoned street, down the stairs into Haven, you’ll find yourself in exactly that, a welcoming, dimly lit, warm abode. I waited for my manicurist in a quaint lounge with plush jewel-toned pillows that looked inviting. I grabbed a glass of citrus infused water and sat down with a magazine.

After a few relaxing minutes my nail specialist, Ira, pulled me into the manicure/pedicure room. I went over to the color station, picked out two Zoya colors (they also had OPI and Essie), a bright red for my toes and a dark purple for my nails. Ira brought me over to the banquette with equally comfy pillows and I dipped my feet into a warm chocolate bath that smelled like rich chocolate bliss. My feet soaked and after carefully cleaning and filing, she rubbed a dark chocolate scrub all over my legs and feet, leaving them incredibly soft. Before putting on the polish, Ira moisturized them with a rich cocoa butter lotion – it was definitely the icing on the cake.

The manicure started soon after with soaking my hands in another warm chocolate bath that felt soothing and wonderful. Ira carefully filed, clipped and took time to moisturize my cuticles and hands, exfoliating with the dark chocolate scrub and following with a cocoa butter lotion. The Zoya polish, called Casey, was then applied: two coats and then a glossy top coat and quick dry. This 75 minute treatment made me forget the bitter cold temperature outside, and better yet, made me feel incredibly relaxed and at ease about the month ahead. All that for $60, I’d say it was worth every penny.

Haven Spa
150 Mercer Street

Originally published February 2009
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