Grooming the Groom

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Special times call for special measures, and one’s impending nuptials demand one to be no less than the picture of perfection – at least, for the pictures. Not a bad thing at all; especially, if it makes for a good reason to indulge and pamper. At the men-only Nickel Spa in downtown Manhattan, an attentive, friendly staff lavishes the soon-to-be groom and his faithful entourage with treatments as effective and eclectic as they are enjoyable. Top-notch service, strong attention to detail, and a result-oriented approach have made Nickel a staple of the male Manhattanite’s grooming regimen.

Designed to simulate a submarine with its blue, gray, and chrome walls, subdued lighting, and cavernous hallway, my voyage at Nickel (pronounced “nee-kel” and French slang for “squeaky clean”) began with the presentation of a “travel card” that outlined the services I would be receiving. First up on my “Groom Special” itinerary was a manicure, rendered a few feet away from the spa’s small waiting area. While the treatment station felt a bit cramped and exposed, the service was excellent and delivered in a way that leaves the male ego fully intact, i.e., nail polish optional.

Transitions between treatments are handled rather seamlessly as each practitioner acts as a tour guide and steers guests to their next destination. Next stop, haircut.

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Nickel’s hair salon, which opened in September 2004, is set apart from the rest of the spa. It sits in a cordoned-off section within the establishment’s retail space. Blue mirrors and chairs carry over the spa’s aquatic theme. My stylist was friendly and knowledgeable in the suggestions she made. The end result was great and the price very reasonable by spa standards ($40).

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My own private bachelor party concluded with the main event – Nickel’s signature complete facial, a definite pre-wedding must-have. Performed in one of the spa’s seven treatment rooms, the one-hour treatment is a relaxing experience and a quick way to unwind before any big event. Treatments are customized for the client’s specific skin type but generally consist of cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, and a concluding (and very soothing) mask.

Before the flashbulbs go off and toasts and effusive well wishes ring in a lifetime of wedded bliss, a visit to Nickel’s two story, 4500-square foot urban oasis is the ultimate way to get camera-ready and approach the big day with sound mind and renewed spirit. Leave the grooming to them. As for the vows, you are on your own there.

Nickel ( is located at 77 Eighth Ave (14th Street), and appointments can be made by calling (212) 242-3203. The Groom’s Special package entitles guests to 15% off all services. In order to qualify, the groom and a minimum of 4 friends must attend and appointments should be made three weeks in advance.

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