Spa

By Kelley Granger

Your taste buds will arch into a downward-facing-dog after a sip of chilled white tea in a tall champagne flute. Your body will appreciate the feeling of warmth in the thick, comfy faux suede chairs of the meditation area. Your ears will be soothed by the ambient music that filters through Bose speakers. Your nose will be greeted by the serene scent of white tea lotus body wash.

White Tea Spa Tea-Bar

A visit to White Tea Spa is a wholly sensual experience, however, the carefully chosen trimmings and faithfully followed tea theme are one of the most compelling reasons to make an appointment for one of their many services. Just a few blocks from Union Square, White Tea Spa is tucked away on a second floor, 1500 square foot space on busy 14th Street. Co-owners Sandra Mendez and Anandy Hazoury opened the spa just a year ago and embarked on a continually evolving design.

Mendez says she has always been inspired by the antioxidant powers of nature. As an esthetician, she frequently used glycolic and fruit acids on her clients, so when she was opening her own spa, she looked toward these things for inspiration. Mendez researched the healing properties of pomegranate and tangerine, as well as white tea. She says of these options, white tea came closest to her philosophy of holistic healing for the face and body. The focus was chosen, and the theme came to life with Hazoury’s keen design sense.

White Tea Spa Interior

Walk up the flight of stairs and open an unassuming door to enter a transporting recreation of an English tea-house. A 40-foot window front is draped in sheer and shimmery gold curtains, and the walls radiate with a color palette of gold, taupe, and bronze. The essence of the 1920′s (the decade the building dates back to) is resurrected with one-of-a-kind pieces, like the chandeliers that grace the entryway, that Hazoury arduously hunted down in auction houses. Mendez says that the hardwood floors, windows, and antique tin ceiling that impart character to the space are all original.

White Tea Spa Cafe

“Part of the design idea was that we’re going to be classic and art deco-ish,” Mendez says. But she and Hazoury considered the urban area they were in and added balancing touches, like a colorful piece of graffiti art by Pablo Carreno, that’s still an elegant and undisruptive choice. Other special touches are the light fixtures, which are framed, rectangular pieces of tinted vellum with colorful, twisty fibers in between (they create soft, muted light); the subtle glow of candelabras mounted on the wall; the tea knick knacks (Mendez says that clients have started bringing them in as gifts); and most of all, the tea bar.

The tea bar is a striking mimic of zebrawood, which is dark with slashes of bright wood. The area houses some copper tea accessories, white daisies in a copper pot, and their stash of Teaology teas (I spied pomegranate peach blueberry leaf white tea on hand). On Sunday afternoons from 3-5, White Tea Spa offers their High Tea in traditional English fashion. Finger sandwiches, scones, crumpets, and homemade jams are served with tea at one of the small café tables next to the bar – best of all, all are welcome.

But the spa design is still in motion. “Any space that’s interesting evolves,” Mendez says. “That adds to the allure.”

White Tea Spa Couple’s Massage

So does a delectable spa menu. Cleverly incorporating tea into every treatment (and they mean every treatment – massage oil, facial packs, and hot towels are all infused with tea), White Tea Spa offers a wide range of services. Although you may be captivated by your surroundings, give the staff a little while to pamper you, eyes closed. Try a lash tint and extension “realiTEA,” which will make your wildest, sexy-eyed fantasies, well, a reality. Plan to spend a little while at the spa for this one – the vegetable dye tinting takes just a few minutes but attaching each lash seems like a painstaking process of accuracy (though Mendez assures it’s not as laborious as it appears). She recommends the eyelash treatments for special occasions, and with Valentine’s Day approaching, you can achieve a gorgeous, full-bodied look for your lashes, and it’ll even look beautiful the morning after, too. While you’re at it, your honey may enjoy a “Mr. TEA” facial (who could resist on wit alone?) or enjoy a couple’s massage (“Tea for Two”) in their well appointed, intimate couple’s room. If this sounds like ‘your cup of tea’, check out the rest of the services the spa offers at the site below. Cheerio!

White Tea Spa
104 W. 14th Street
New York, NY
212-647-8919
www.whiteteaspa.com

Originally published February 2008
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