By Amanda Tust
Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend this year, offering ideal timing for a romantic spa getaway with your guy or a fun singles trip with girlfriends. But for many of us (myself included) that just isn’t in the financial cards this year. It’s time to reevaluate. Time to embrace a word tossed around a lot recently: the staycation. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the staycation is a relaxing vacation day spent close to home.
In searching out my own Valentine’s Day staycation, I had a checklist of requirements, but the most important two were that it be indulgent while still relatively budget-friendly. Anasa Day Spa in Astoria, Queens, seemed to fit the bill. So, on a snowy day in January, I decided to go for a pre-February 14 test run.
Located a block away from the 30th Avenue stop off the N or W trains, it was a quick 15-minute shot from Midtown. Sibling owners George Tsambas and Toula Angelidakis greeted me and I learned that the spa has served as a calming neighborhood staple for the past four years. After I enjoyed some berry herbal tea in the sleek glass waiting area, I headed back for a massage and pedicure, options offered as a Valentine’s side-by-side package (you get treated next to your significant other or one of your girlfriends).
The massage room had a sliding center wall, but since I arrived solo on this trial trip, the divider remained shut. A man on the other side of the wall with a bad back was getting spine relief, possibly in the form of deep tissue or hot stone. As for me, I opted for a mix of Swedish and reflexology. After checking medium pressure on the waiting-room form and warning my massage therapist that I get ticklish if the pressure is too light, he set to work on all my kinks. I left the table just as grateful as when I received physical therapy massages for a seized-up shoulder last year.
With my muscles at ease, I moved on to the pedicure chair, the kind with the hand dial to select pulse and speed. I tested out the controls and surprised myself by shutting it off. I guess my table massage was just THAT good. As my feet soaked in a bath of rose petals, I sipped another drink (which will be swapped for a champagne toast in February). The Anasa signature pedicure included a homemade honey-lavender sugar scrub followed by a dunk in a lavender paraffin mask – a hot wax to help seal in moisture. Two words of advice to those of you who have never experienced paraffin: dip fast. After being asked to dip three times, I made the rookie mistake of dunking slow. By the third submergence of my right foot, I could barely stand the sensation. When it was time to switch feet, I opted for a quick in-out. The later method gave my foot a full wax coating without all the pain. My pedi concluded with a splash of sangria polish, which I’d probably switch to scarlet for VDay; and I was sent home with the pedi tools as a welcomed, sanitary perk.
Overall, I would describe the staff as friendly and chatty (but not too chatty to be distracting or annoying). Small, with a borough charm, yet professional and full service, the spa offers everything from mud wraps to makeup.
February Valentine’s Specials (price for two people):
Side-By-Side Anasa Combo Massage (includes 45 minutes of Swedish combined with 30 minutes of reflexology of the hands & feet): $199
Signature Love (Anasa Combo Massage + Anasa Signature Pedicure): $280
A couple other staycation considerations:
*If the man in your life is iffy about the pedicure factor, just tell him you don’t expect him to get dainty polish (unless he wants that, of course). For him, it’s merely a scrub and soak, a chance to slough off all that nasty extra surface skin while you get your toes painted a hot red.
*While you’re in the neighborhood, you might as well swing by one of the many Greek cafes (check about reservations). Or, better yet, order it to go and eat it comfortably at home in a candlelit ambiance reminiscent of your romantic and relaxing day at the spa.
Anasa Day Spa
31-09 Newtown Ave
Astoria, NY 11102