Spa

By Kathryn Holl

When you walk around the meatpacking district, you’re almost automatically transported to another time and place. Like so many of NYC’s little secrets, it’s hard to believe this section of our metropolis is only a few subway stops from the hubbub of Times Square. The vibe is trendy yet classic; full of activity yet surprisingly quiet; and the residents and visitors are hip but stylishly laid back. That is exactly how I would describe the GSPA at the Hotel Gansevoort – something completely unexpected and unique but at the same time familiar and wonderfully comfortable.

Ask anyone about GSPA and they’ve most likely read about it on Page Six or heard about the A-listers who frequent this relatively new nightspot. But while we were all ears when it came to this see-and-be seen lounge-by-night, we were more interested in what takes place during the daylight hours.

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The moment I stepped off the elevator, I knew right away this was going to be one of the most memorable spa experiences I’ve ever encountered. There’s no qualm’s about it – this place is 100 percent lounge. If I didn’t know any better I would have expected to wait on a line or go directly to the coat check. However, pleasant staff members greeted me and escorted to the shockingly small changing room. The very intimate ladies room has a total of 34 lockers, one bathroom and one shower. I was intrigued to find a black robe awaiting me along with black-heeled flip-flops – very chic! As if the name of the spa wasn’t enough, I was starting to catch on to its sexual undertones. I sipped my Pinot while waiting for the esthetician and had a chance to take in the ambiance. Sensual images of men and women adorned the walls and I was instantly tantalized by the smell of the Archipelago candles burning on the small tables in the bar area. I still could not shake the fact that I felt a bit out-of-place – its not too often you go to a spa that moonlights as a nightclub. When they summoned me for my “Celebrity Facial” (so exciting!) I was ready for anything.

Once you walk into the spa area it is truly amazing, quite reminiscent of a chic exclusive resort pool area, you are surrounded by lounge chairs that are used for pedicures, Infinity pools that double as hot tubs and treatment rooms that masquerade as cabanas. I was told that at night all the products and equipment are put in storage to make room for the cocktail tables that are reserved for private bottle service. Again, this is a small spa with only three treatment rooms, three pedicure stations and a small area for the hair salon – I have to admit I was a bit reticent at first. After I became accustomed to my surroundings and heard that Sienna Miller and Selma Hayek were frequent customers, I was ready indulge in the treatment.

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All GSPA facials include steaming, exfoliation, masking, extractions and a décolleté massage in addition to other special features depending on the selected treatment. The impressive line of products used amazed me. A medley of Epicuren, Sonya Dakar, Astara, Anakiri and MD skincare lines are used. The Celebrity Facial is completely Epicuren-based. For those not familiar with this process, Epicuren enzymes are metabolically active with one’s skin. The enzyme proteins found in their products are organ-specific and speed up the cellular activity of the dermal cells. Through this process, the dermis becomes self-rejuvenating.

The Celebrity Facial is a signature treatment recommended for those going to a special event as it is designed to leave the skin looking rested and healthy. Caterina Marra, my well-schooled esthetician and possibly the most insightful and skilled facialist I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, once had 59-year-old client give her a huge hug after her Celebrity Facial as she felt she had recaptured her youth in under two hours. This enzyme-based system utilizes the Epicuren system and the masks detox and nourish skin.

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This treatment starts out as any normal facial would- your typical cleansing, steam and minimal extractions. Caterina explained that she could not do too many extractions with this particular facial as it includes a five percent peel that contains enzymes equivalent to an acid peel. The peel and mask combination encourage blood to travel to the surface of the skin which makes the skin taught and quite tight. I found the tightening to be an interesting sensation that is bearable, but when Caterina relieved me with the gel protein enzyme, which restores skin back to its original elasticity, I felt at ease once gain. I especially enjoyed the Anakiri lavender hydra salt they use at the end of the treatment. If you are not a fan of lavender they have another option but it was so pure and rejuvenating, I wouldn’t suggest opting for anything else.

Prior to going in for the Celebrity Facial the skin on my nose was peeling and my pores were clogged. I left feeling revitalized and looking like I had just been on vacation for weeks! Not to be overly dramatic but my sin was radiant! I’ve never had that kind of positive response from a facial treatment. I am now officially a true believer of all things Epicuren. This facial is perfect for anyone who plans to attend a big event, celebrate a special occasion or needs that extra pick-me-up to make you feel fresh and younger than before. Bravo G SPA!

G SPA & Lounge Hotel Gansevoort 18 Ninth Avenue 212.660.6733 www.hotelgansevoort.com Facial prices range from $150 for 60 minutes to $200+ for 90 minutes depending on your desired treatment.

Originally published June 2006
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