By Dian Mills

The next time you want a first-class, downright sumptuous NYC experience, treat yourself to a state-of-the-art spa treatment at the New York Palace Spa and Fitness Center. Located on Madison Avenue in midtown in the historic (and absolutely gorgeous) Palace Hotel, the Palace Spa’s signature service is their Aromatic Hot Towel Massage.

Available in 25, 50 and 80-minute sessions, the spa’s brochure describes this process as “vigorous massage combined with hot compresses infused with pure essential oils”. I describe it as the ultimate tension-melter and a fantastic way to spend valuable “me time”.

The Palace Hotel has a serious wow factor. It’s unlike any other hotel in the city, an amazing combination of old and new architecture. The Madison Avenue entrance is in a courtyard that used to be the carriage entrance to the Villard Mansion, an historic landmark built in 1882, originally made up of six neo-classical Renaissance-style brownstones. In 1981, a modern 55-story hotel was added to the Mansion and the way the two styles were combined is genius, with a majestic double staircase in the lobby adjoining them and a red Verona fireplace moved from one wing of the Villard and showcased on the second floor of the newer structure. It’s such a great mixture of old and new, classic and cool, it’s no wonder that the hit CW series Gossip Girl regularly films scenes there! I felt like a star just walking through the door. Then it was up to the eighth floor, where the spa awaited.

I was greeted at the front desk by charmers Edwin and Johan. Edwin handed me a pair of fancy slippers and a bottle of cool water, then Johan showed me to the ladies’ dressing room. I changed into a fluffy white robe and settled into a cozy chair in the bight, airy lounge to wait for Jamie, my masseur. A door opened, my name was called and my journey began. Jamie was extremely professional, asking all the right questions (i.e. health concerns, trouble spots I’d like him to focus on, etc.) before using pressure, massage, soft music and warm, delicately aromatic towels (which actually feel like warm waves as they’re applied) to dissolve the week’s stress away. By the time he placed the cozy white terry slippers on my feet and gently bade me goodbye, the world was a calm, happy place and I could barely remember my own name!

The Aromatic Hot Towel Massage is just one of eight massage therapies offered on this spa’s delicious menu (available online). If facials or body treatments are more up your alley, they’ve got you covered. Choose one (or a combo … their packages look so relaxing) and treat yourself to a grand time! Trust me you’ll look and feel like a millionaire!

The New York Palace Spa & Fitness Center
8th Floor, 455 Madison Ave., NYC 10022

Originally published May 2010
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