Spa

By Kelley Granger

Attention, Prada “aficionados”: You’ve got the handbag, the shoes, the sunglasses, and LG’s sleek Prada phone. Now the chic Italian fashion brand that Miuccia built ,has gone from runway sashay to spa foray as the Ritz-Carlton debuts its new line of Prada facials and body treatments.

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“We basically took two of the best luxury brands and combined them,” explained Lauren Sandstrom, Spa Supervisor. “We provide the best possible service and Prada provides top-of-the-line products.” The Ritz-Carlton is the only spa chain authorized to perform Prada treatments, and their staff has completed an intensive 40 hour training seminar to assure the integrity of each guest’s experience.

I made an appointment for a Prada treatment at the Ritz’s Battery Park location. It’s hard to imagine the Ritz-Carlton being any more lavish than I could imagine. Yet, the combination of Prada’s quality and aesthetic and the Ritz Carlton’s simple elegance is well…extraordinarily luxe.Upon arrival, I’m greeted by soft-spoken, smiling staff that usher me into the changing room for a plush robe and then guide me to a chair next to a window with a serene view of the water. The spa is elegant and petite, much smaller than I had imagined. Sandstrom says it was done purposefully to ensure an intimate feel and sense of attention from the spa staff – which is precisely how you’ll feel in their hands. In fact, they book a maximum of only three guests, so chances are you may never bump into another person during your repose.

Esthetician and Prada pro Naima Refkan begins the treatment by gently pressing from ankle to knee with a soothing, rhythmic pressure. She makes her way to the other end of the massage table, tells me to inhale, then softly presses down on the center of my chest as I breathe out, exponentially increasing the force and sensation of my exhalation. Her fingers find points on the sides of my nose and ears, then they press and release. She quietly says, “Welcome to your Prada treatment at the Ritz-Carlton.”

At least that’s what I think she said. At this point, I’ve been lulled into such a dreamy state I can’t be sure.

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This relaxation work is the prelude to my Prada Body Facial, and is the cornerstone of all Prada treatments. Each session, whether for face or body, begins with seven to 10 minutes of mindful breathing and stretching, which serves to calm and quiet the tense mind and body. Those few minutes establish the mood and pace for the rest of the experience.

The slow, circular application of a marine mineral crystal exfoliator is next. The crystals feel finer than grains of sand, and Refkan applies them with light, fluid movements, spending generous amounts of time on each area. (This is another signature of Prada treatments – 90 luxurious minutes. Astoundingly, that includes Prada facials, in which Refkan says 30 minutes are dedicated just to massage of the face.) After each limb is buffed with the crystals, a warm, moist towel is placed over the area, dissolving tension and opening pores to absorb the nutrients of the thick, white, stone clay that’s applied next.

While the clay dries on the skin, a scalp and shoulder massage transports me far away from the bustle that waits in Battery Park. A shower with thick, creamy Prada shower gel washes away the remnants of the clay, and I return to the table for one last helping of luxury – some sweeping massage strokes to apply a Prada body cream with a subtle, but sumptuous, scent.

The result of the treatment is seriously softened, dewy-feeling skin, which lasted for days – the longest afterglow I’ve noted from any spa visit. To prolong my memories I am waiting for especially mundane day to open the Prada Hydrating Body Lotion I was given… a memory of a very special day.

The Ritz Carlton, Battery Park
Two West Street
(212) 344-0800
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/BatteryPark

Originally published September 2007
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