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Exhale Gramercy in NYC

A Small Spa & Exercise Studio

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

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Exhale Spa

The fitness studio at Exhale Spa Gramercy can comfortably fit 15 for yoga and Core Fusion classes.

Exhale Spa

Exhale Gramercy may not be as spacious as other Exhale locations, but it still delivers quality treatments and wellness experiences. The diminutive facility is on the 3rd floor of the 249-room Gansevoort Hotel, and is easy to miss if you’re looking for a Park Avenue entrance. The entrance on 29th Street brings you into the hotel lobby and from there you take the quick elevator ride up to Exhale’s mini-lobby.

Mind-Body Spa For Fitness Fans

Exhale brands itself as a mind/body/spa and caters to fitness fans as well as those who come in for a pampering treatment alone. Exhale thrives on fitness fans who enjoy taking yoga classes or Core Fusion, a combination of Pilates, yoga, and ballet.

There's also Core Fusion Cardio(a sweat-inducing experience), Core Fusion Sport (uses resistance bands, balls and mats) and Core Fusion Yoga. All of these are guaranteed to provide a serious work-out after which you will be grateful to have a calming treatment.

You can sign up for monthly membership that allows you unlimited classes at any Exhale location across the country (except Soho). At $265 a month for a one-year commitment, it's essentially a substitute for a gym membership. A yoga-only membership is available for $165. You can also get a single session ($35 Core Fusion, $25 yoga) or series of five, ten or twenty classes.

Ooops! Co-ed Locker Room!

The tiny locker room is co-ed (that was a surprise!) so once you get your locker and robe, you need to change either in one of two bathrooms or one of two changing areas. There are 14 half-size lockers. Inside was a wonderfully soft robe that already belted, a towel and a pair of sandals. They run small, (or my feet run big) so don’t be shy about asking for a larger pair.

Expect to hear New Age-y music while you’re waiting for your therapist, and if you like to read before a treatment, bring your own material because there wasn’t even one magazine to browse. There's a co-ed sauna, but that's just not my thing.

A Core Fusion Class

First I took a Core Fusion class in a studio that can accommodate 15, and I have the achy muscles to show for it. Adrienne led this strenuous work-out, described as a combo of yoga, Pilates and ballet. “We focus on the core in this class,” she said.

After warming up with weights and some barre work, she had us concentrate on stretching muscles to the point of fatigue. This work-out was intense and challenging and I’m glad I took it before my treatment, because who wants to work out after a treatment?

Adrienne also promoted drinking coconut water as being the best for hydration, and of course we all know that staying properly hydrated is essential.

After the intense fitness experience I was ready for something less arduous and I headed back to the lockers to change for my treatment, a "Cool Beam" Light therapy. Water and tea are available behind a sliding door that leads to the 4 treatment rooms, one used for facials.

Sweet But Short LED Facial

Cool Beam is an LED photo facial that stimulates the growth of collagen, inflates fine lines, reducing post-surgical inflammation and decreasing hyper-pigmentation and cystic acne. The best results are achieved in a series of six to eight treatments fairly close together, followed by monthly maintenance.

At Exhale, Cool Beam is either a 30-minute treatment ($145) or a $90 add-on to a regular facial ($95 for 30 min./$145 for 60 min.) It is not to be confused with the trademarked Coolbeam, which is a laser treatment.

Vanessa first cleansed and exfoliated my face with a wonderfully aromatic cranberry crush enzyme. Once that was complete, she steamed my face and massaged another cream into it. After some warm towels, she got rid of any residue, completed a few extractions and then readied the light therapy.

It involves a tool that felt like roll-on deodorant, and was pleasant enough. She first used a red beam, which promotes collagen regeneration and improves skin texture and skin tone. She then switched to a blue beam, which kills the bacteria that causes acne infection. But Vanessa said it is also good for eye bags and lip plumping.

Then came a “molecular mist,” she said, a combination of cucumber, coconut and aloe with a hint of witch hazel. I thought the witch hazel might feel tingly but it didn’t.

After some more gentle massages of the face and shoulders she applied an eye serum and moisturizer. Just as I was getting totally relaxed and comfortable, the session was over!

More Relaxing As An Add-On

It's only a half-hour treatment, and 20 minutes of that should be with the LED. I didn't get that much time, perhaps because my therapist was trying to fit everything in, like extractions and massage.

The time with the equipment is the most important part of the facial -- that's why it's 50% more expensive than a mini-facial! So make sure the therapist gives you that time. Even better, add it on to a traditional facial so you get everything and no one is rushed. It pricey by then -- $235 for 90 min. You can also get this facial at other Exhale locations.

I wouldn't go to Exhale Gramercy again unless it was near my place of work, and even then more for the exercise classes than the spa. Call me old-fashioned, but being in a locker room with a guy takes away from some of the relaxation.

Exhale Gramercy:

Type of Spa: hotel spa
420 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 646-380-5330
Exhale Spa At Ganesvoort Park Avenue

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary treatments for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.
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