Recently, I visited the Banyan CitiSPA at 474 West Broadway in Soho, New York (212-388-1288). Although I usually go to Bliss just a few blocks away, the Banyan CitiSPA is new, and quietly tucked away on one of Soho’s chic-est streets. I learned about it from my contacts at Pevonia Botanica (one of my personal favorites when it comes to spa-oriented products) and, since Pevonia products are used almost exclusively at the spa, I decided to give it a try.
One enters the spa from a storefront, and is greeted quickly and pleasantly at the front desk. I wanted to try a treatment that would showcase the skill of the spa staff, with Pevonia Botanica products, and selected a Botanical Body Polish that combined a massage (90 minutes $150) with an exfoliating scrub and moisturizing treatment. That settled, I was escorted into the changing area. Go through a curtain and you are directly at the lockers for changing (a little more privacy between the curtain and changing areas would be nice). On the plus side, the lockers are already stocked with fluffy, immaculately clean robe, slippers and towel and who really plans to linger in the changing area when you’re in a fantastic spa? Turn around and enter a large room with multi-head showers, pedestal sinks, toilets, a nice steam room, and, at the other end of the room, a very nice sauna (both the steam room and the sauna were excellent).
At the end of the room, if you make a left, you’re in the “lounge” area. There is a television mounted on the wall, I guess for those who simply have to have it. The rest of the room is tailor -made for relaxation, with comfortable settees, lounge chairs, the latest magazines, cold and hot beverages, and light snacks.
I immediately felt at home. Actually, I automatically envisioned myself relaxing for a few minutes, maybe a few hours (actually, I could have stayed there all day). Before I could settle in with a fashion magazine and a glass of water with lemon and get too comfy, Maggie, my masseuse/technician introduced herself and escorted me into the treatment room (right on time, which is a good thing, especially if you’re a busy person taking some “me” time between appointements). don’t really remember much about it because it was already thoughtfully darkened to induce that kind of “I’m here for me” feeling right away. I did note a gel-filled, heated mat covered with towel atop the treatment table, and above my head was a large, metal contraption with a number of nozzles (to wash off the products at the end of the treatment).
I am not exactly sure if the Pevonia Botanic exfoliating treatment you can buy for home use is exactly the same as the professional (and large sized) jar of product that Maggie used on me, but the Banyan CitiSPA’s version has safe, rosemary, lemon extract and jojoba granules to gently remove dead, Summer-weary flakes. The standard “spa tunes” were activated, and I immediately began to relax as Maggie massaged, pushed and sometimes, gently pummeled the stress out of this writer’s body. Even better, as the massage continued, Maggie was also exfoliating my dead skin cells..and I had to do is float on the bed of soft gel…simply heavenly!
I knew the treatment was coming to an end when the warm water began to flow through the overhead contraption, rinsing off the exfoliatior and whatever “yuk” had been removed along with it. It felt delightful though–a bit like sleeping in a perfectly temperature controlled room on a comfortable bed, during a warm rain shower. By the way, Maggie asked several times iif the pressure she used in the massage, and the temperature in the room and the water were confortable for me That shows good attention to detail and shows a high level of consideration for the client. You’d think every spa would do this, but often, you have to suffer in silence or speak up (and you should speak up if something is uncomfortable for you during any spa experience). Finally, there was an application of dry body oil (heavenly) and the blissful experience was over…sigh!
By the time I stood up, I could move my neck in ways I haven’t been able to do for months, ok, maybe more like a year. Nothing hurt and everything felt right with my body and especially, my back (an usual feeling, especially since I sit and bend forward to type most of the day). Even better, my usually-sensitive skin wasn’t red, sore or itchy. There wasn’t a single mark on it. And, it felt smooth, soft, so “like a baby’s” that I couldn’t quite believe it was my adult skin!
Maggie offered a cool glass of water, gratefully accepted. I was invited to sit in the lounge, or use the steam room and sauna. I used both, reluctantly pulling myself out of the steam room to make another appointment. It was the middle of the day and the spa wasn’t crowded (I only saw two other women there) and I’m sure it would have been ok to literally make a day of it, reading in the lounge, and alternating between the sauna and the steam room.
The shower woke me up (don’t they always?) but it was time to go. I dressed, reluctantly, slowly, leaving my spa trappings of robe, slippers and towels, in specially-marked baskets. It was time to traverse that line between spa life and real life, by walking through the curtains and back into the front reception area. I blinked, a bit overwhelmed by the light and activity I’d left behind a few hours before. I didn’t realize until then just how relaxing the spa (and the entire experience was) really was, until sounds and light assaulted my senses. Can just an hour or so really change the way you look and feel that significantly. At the Banyan CitiSPA, that answer, apparently, was “yes.”
I wanted to meet and thank Kathy, the spa’s Manager, and I admired the wall of products, mostly by Pevonia, available for purchase while waiting to speak to her. If you’re a New Yorker, the spa is easy to get to from nearly anywhere and it’s open Monday to Saturday 10am to 9 pm and Sundays 10am to 7 pm. If you’re not nearby the Banyan CitiSPA, you can still have a taste of the fantastic treatment I experienced (and enjoy a total spa experience) at home) with products from Pevonia. I’d suggest the Silky Skin Body Scrub by Pevonia from their Ligne Nymphea line for $26.00 6.8 oz as it is very similar to the ingredients in the scrub used in my treatment. This gentle and deep cleansing scrub has Rose Essential Oil, Chamomile, Soapwort, Rosemary and Lemon Essential Oil (as my treatment version did). It eliminates dead cells and impurities , and soften dry and rough areas into submission, gently, no matter what your skin type (as I said, mine is sensitive, and this product passed the gentle but effective test with flying colors). Follow with Pevonia Botanica’s Preserve Body Moisturizer $23.00 6.8 oz also from Ligne Nymphea. This fantastic body moisturizer is rich in oils, vitamins and phyto-extracts including: Chamomile, Horsetail, Vitamin E, Vitamin B Complex, Rose Extract and Orris Essential Oil It restores your skin’s essential lipids leaving skin soft and hydrated, but not greasy. It also improves your skin’s elasticity and is anatural, family-friendly product even children can use. Get more information about products and purchasing Pevonia Botanica products on their web site http://www.pevonia.com
I immediately thought of purchasing a massage for my husband (men have their own section of the spa, and they can get most of the treatments available to women) and I’m already planning my next visit.
Business cards and thanks, exchanged with Kathy, I literally floated back out onto the hot, humid, New York Street, but for a few more hours, at least, I enjoyed the sensation of being renewed, recharged, improved!