Spa

By Charu Suri

A spa is a temple that takes relaxation to levels that even the Bahamas can’t. The world knows that the Thai have always known good hospitality and service. So trust the new Thai Privilege Spa in Soho to really get things right. They definitely know, for instance, that good technique and graciousness cannot be bought, unlike an airplane ticket.

When I entered the spa, which is located on the second floor of 155 Spring Street, I was greeted with warm ginger tea and a hot towel. Everything about the lounge exuded exoticism and calm — as though I had been spirited to Phuket. There were gold-papered walls, silk cushions and large ceramic vases. Understated opulence: it could have been the stage set for The King & I.

Sarahn Room

The spa itself is huge, with over 6,300 square feet of space that houses several massage rooms and a few suites that have shower facilities. There are no locker rooms, so be prepared to go straight from the lounge to the massage room (Thai massages are often done fully clothed). The masseurs don pure silk robes that allow their skin to breathe. The fabric is softer than goose down, and the gold color invokes comparisons to royalty. No wonder that the Thai Privilege Health Care Co. is so well known in Southeast Asia. They were the only day spa to be recognized by the Thai government in 2005.

I was treated to a plush foot massage before my “real” treatment. My feet were buffed gently with sugar, then dipped in warm water dressed with flowers. They should definitely make this the norm in other establishments: the feet are the doorway to serenity. Then I started my journey of the “Thai Aroma Body Treatment,” which was expertly executed by my masseuse, who did not -bless her heart -slather me with oils and massage me like Helga.

Foot Massage

Her touch was light, yet forceful, and my spine, shoulder blades, and strained calf muscles are deeply grateful to her. She used the Sarahn product line, (the word means “inner joy of serenity” in Thai), which consists of a range of gels and oils using natural fruit and vegetable ingredients including Turmeric, Lemongrass and honey. My body not only felt thoroughly well rested after the massage, but my skin felt supple and moisturized as well.

This spa is not for the budget conscious. Prices range from $120 for a massage to $300 for special royal packages. Thai Privilege Spa is located at 155 Spring Street (the best way to reach them is to take the C train to Spring Street, then walk two blocks east on Spring). Call 212-274-8121 to get truly privileged.

Originally published September 2006
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