There are countless spas in New York City, including day spas, luxury hotel spas, and medical spas. How do you know which are the best? Here are my picks for the best day spas in NYC by neighborhood. Treatments start at $89 for a 55-minute massage at Dorit Baxter and top out at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, where a 50-min. massage is $225 on weekends (plus 24.5% for service fee and tax). Most are $120-$125.
If you want a spa outside the city, here's the best spas in New York state.
Best NYC Spas - Upper West Side, 60th and Up
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental is considered the city's greatest luxury hotel spa, and it's priced for the people who don't have to worry about money -- Wall Street types and their wives. Time Warner Building, 80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street, 35th floor. Tel. 866-801 8880. Go on a video tour of The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, NYC.
Best NYC Spas - Upper East Side
Exhale Upper East Side is one of three Exhale spas in New York City that combine excellent spa treatments, healing modalities like acupuncture, and exercise classes like Core Fusion, which gives the locker room a sweaty, athletic vibe. 980 Madison Avenue between 76th-77th. 212-249-3000
Best NYC Spas - Mid-town - 34th to 59th
The Peninsula Spa by ESPA is a luxury hotel spa with 12 treatment rooms, a sun-lit movement studio, fitness center and a glass-enclosed pool featuring panoramic city views. Go on a video tour of The Peninsula Spa in NYC.
Exhale Midtown on Central Park's southern end is a 12,000 foot oasis with 12 treatments rooms and two 1,200 foot studios, and a chic nail bar. I had a great facial here. 150 Central Park South between 6th and 7th Ave. 212-249-3000
Townhouse Spa is a three-story spa that caters to a corporate clientele, down to the leather banquettes and one all-male floor with a barber station. SpaOceana is a giant hydro-capsule that sprays you with steam and oils. 9 W. 56th St., between 5th and. 6th Ave., 212-245-8006.
Spa Ja uses organic skincare products as much as possible. Along with all the usual services, it offers tanning and is one of the few day spas to have Oceana 5, a computer-controlled hydrotherapy capsule that uses steam, Vichy showers, and infrared heat. It can be combined with a body scrub or scalp massage. 300 West 56th Street at the corner of 8th Ave. 212-245-7566.
Dorit Baxter Spa has been in mid-town for 30 years, and has the lowest prices of any big-name spa in town -- $89 for a 55-minute massage. The therapists are experienced and have been with Dorit a long time. Don't expect a luxurious atmosphere, though there is a nice view overlooking 57th St. 47 W 57th St. between 5th and 6th Ave, third floor. 212-371-4542
Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa is the original day spa -- founder Elizabeth Arden was a yoga devotee even in the 1920s)! Though a bit old-fashioned compared to newer spas, it has a rich history, a commitment to solid professionalism and depth of services (including hair) that no one else matches. 691 Fifth Avenue at 54th St. 212-546-0200
Okeanas is one of the few places in Manhattan where you can get a traditional Russian banya (steam-infused sauna) and platza, an invigorating brushing with bundled birch leaves followed by a splash of ice-cold water. And it offers barber services. 211 East 51st Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. 212-223-6773.
Bliss is a major spa brand now, with locations in major cities all over the world. New York City day spa locations in midtown include Bliss 57at 19 E. 57th St., Third Fl. and Bliss 49 in the W. Hotel. 877-862-5477 for all locations.
Best NYC Spas, 14th to 34th St.
Ohm Spa is a serene spa that allows its massage therapists to customize a treatment and express their own individual style. It's a true gem, but it's not a place to hang. 260 5th Ave, 7th Flr, between 28th & 29th Streets. 212-481-7892
Juvenex is a high-end Korean spa with a Jade Igloo sauna, mugwort steam room and the best Korean body scrubs in the city. It is clothing optional for women only from 7 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Men and women are allowed from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., with bathing suits. 25 West 32nd St., 5th floor, 646-733-1330.
Oasis Day Spa is known for its customer service and expert therapists. It's biggest location is at 1 Park Ave. at 33rd, 212-254-7722; there another Oasis at The Affinia Dumont Hotel at 34th and Lexington.
Exhale Gramercy in the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel is small and offers quality services, but could use co-ed locker rooms! 420 Park Avenue South, 646-380-5330
Best NYC Spas, Houston to 14th St.
Great Jones Spa in downtown Manhattan, is known for it "wet lounge" with hot tubs, cold plunge pools and saunas, available to guests up to two hours prior to and one hour following spa treatments. 29 Great Jones St., 212-505-3185.
CLAY has a strong fitness component for members but also offers spa treatments for non-members. You have access to the sauna and cafe, but not the work-out room. 25 West 14th Street between 5th and 6th Aves. 212-206-9200
Exhale Meatpacking is in the super-chic Gaansevoort Meatpacking hotel in Manhattan's lively Meatpacking District. Bummer alert: only hotel guests can enjoy the rooftop pool,the three treatment rooms are curtained off. I had a great massage, but could hear everything next door. 18 Ninth Avenue at 12th St. 212-660-6733 or 646-380-5330.
Best NYC Spas, Soho
Bunya CitiSPA is a New York City day spa with an Asian flavor, including hard-working Asian therapists who really give you your money's worth! Shiatsu and table Thai massage with hot herbal compresses are a specialty. 474 West Broadway, just south of Houston. 212- 388-1288
Haven is a neighborhood spa where you can get a range of treatments. Known for their waxing. 150 Mercer St. between Houston and Prince. 212-343-3515.
Bliss Soho is the original Bliss location started by Marcia Kilgore in the mid-90s. 568 Broadway, Second Fl., 877-862-5477.Best NYC Spas, Tribeca
Euphoria Spa is a small neighborhood spa with master estheticians and results-oriented skin care treatments like microderm, hydraderm and skin rejuvenation. 18 Harrison Street, New York, NY. 212-925-5925
Just a few doors away,Tribeca Beauty Spa is a larger spa with sauna, seven treatment rooms, and a complete range of services. 8 Harrison St. 212-343-2376