By Mrinalini Kamath
Manhattan is full of restorative, tranquil places if you only know where to look. On East 83rd Street, nestled between a restaurant and a dry cleaner is an oasis of calm called Kasia’s European Day Spa. From the moment you walk into this cute, cool, space, with its exposed brick and pale green walls, and sit on the comfortable window seat cushions for a brief wait, you instantly feel relaxed.
At once homey and comforting, the spa is owned by Kasia Opoka, a petite and friendly woman who came to the U.S. from Poland in 1991. After working at several New York City spas, including the Helena Rubinstein Spa, Kasia opened her own business in 2004. Starting out on 92nd Street before moving to her current location on East 83rd, she has many loyal clients who followed her to continue with certain treatments that she’s known for, like manicures and pedicures done the European way, filing rather than cutting the cuticles to prevent infection and hangnails.
Having had an achy neck and shoulders for almost a month, I opted for a combination Swedish and deep tissue full-body massage, performed by Kasia herself. In a quiet and cozy room with French songs playing softly in the background, Kasia started at my toes with Swedish massage and worked her way up to the roots of my hair, switching to the deep tissue method when she came to my problem spots. My neck, back and shoulders felt truly liberated as she manipulated muscles I wasn’t even aware I had. And for just a little while, I felt like I was somewhere far away, the feeling only broken by the occasional car horn.
Kasia’s offers a wide range of services: In addition to a variety of massages, including hot stone, Swedish and deep tissue, the spa also offers cellulite treatments and a selection of body wraps, such as seaweed and the Tuscan body treatment, which uses Tuscan olive oil, grape seed oil, lemon and sea salt. You have your choice of an assortment of manicures and pedicures, as well as waxing, but what Kasia’s may be best known for are facials, microdermabrasion and anti-aging treatments. Facials are performed using the organic Hungarian Eminence products, and are customized not only to skin type, but to season, with scents like blueberry and pumpkin (which smelled good enough to eat!) for fall and winter, and citrus and cucumber for spring and summer. Acne is often treated with a special oxygen facial (known as the Echo 2 Oxy Treatment). Microdermabrasion, a procedure that minimizes scars, sun damage, fine lines and other blemishes, is followed by a method called lymphobiology drainage, which removes fluids and toxins that build up under the skin. Kasia emphasizes that while there are approximate lengths of times for treatments, neither she nor her staff rush the process to finish exactly on time. They will take as long as necessary to thoroughly complete the procedures, which includes massage. Among the brands that Kasia uses other than the Eminence line are Guinot and Colore Science.
Open seven days a week and high end without being intimidating, Kasia’s European Day Spa is definitely one of Manhattan’s soothing sanctuaries.
Kasia’s European Day Spa
202 East 83rd Street (near Third Avenue).