Urban Oases

Patent Lather: An old-fashioned barbershop shave at Paul Labreque East.Photo: David Yellen

171 East 65th Street

A nurturing tone is set by Regina Viotto, who runs thespa and happens to be one of the best facialists intown. The array of treatments includes an aromatherapyfacial, a “medical facial” with adermatologist-strength peel, electronic musclestimulation for sagging muscles, intense skinhydration, and a special relaxing facial for men. (Anold-fashioned razor shave is also available.) Thelatest offering is accussage—which begins with anenergy reading of the tongue (why not?) and ends witha deep massage.

30 East 60th Street, Suite 101

Jerry Seinfeld and Nina Griscom are among the notableswho frequent this discreet Moroccan-inspired skin-caresalon. Yasmine trawls Europe and Asia for techniquesand tools, both ancient and modern, to regeneratetroubled or weathered skin. The latest innovation is aHannibal Lecter–style contraption that’sfitted to your head and massages the top of yourspine, draining puffiness from your face. On the moretraditional side, acupuncturist Ping Song uses needlestinged with incense to attack wrinkles in the face.

1 Park Avenue, near 32nd Street

This spa is as busy as its clients—mostlyprofessional women who line up for the new Power RichFacial, which includes a deep cleansing, multivitaminpeel, extractions, pressure-point massage, and a finalmask with a simultaneous neck and hand massage. Alsonew is pranassage, during which you are twisted intopretzel-like yoga positions you didn’t know youwere capable of, then kneaded with Ayurvedic oils.Mondays, the spa gives free “facemapping”—sophisticated skin analysis.

25 West 32nd Street, fifth floor

Insomniacs, waiters, actors, and other night owls lovethis new 24-hour spot in Koreatown for steams andsaunas in a jade igloo, followed by vigorous loofahscrubs by women who work in their bathing suits(it’s not what you think; they just don’twant to work in wet clothing). Once your skin isbaby-smooth, you can pause for tea and freshwatermelon slices before padding over to the massagetable. A deep-tissue rubdown is the perfectnightcap.

103 Fifth Avenue, fourth floor

The homey atmosphere of the flagship has beenpreserved in this aptly named new space. Liliya,Kristen, and the other therapists from uptown nowspend part of their time here and are chatty as ever.(The conversation helps distract you from theindignity of having your legs contorted over your headwhile the signature wax is applied.) They also dofacials, from micro-dermabrasion and electronic musclestimulation to the paprika special, which imparts ahealthy glow for days. Smile guru Dr. Larry Rosenthalhas set up shop here, so teeth whitening has beenadded to the menu.

32 West 22nd Street

Exposed brick walls are the backdrop for this spalocated in a former print shop; facials are given oncouches in a boudoir setting, manicures done at aVictorian writing table, and pedicures given inItalian bowls. There’s also a choice of achocolate manicure-pedicure; an ambrosialmilk-honey-and-cream-of-coconut soak, followed by afresh-fruit exfoliation; and achocolate-coffee-and-milk body wrap. Thankfully, youare allowed to escape the standard New Agey fare andpick your own CD to relax to.

960 Park Avenue, at 82nd Street

Many spas now have affiliations with doctors whoaren’t actually on premises, but this is thereal deal. The Botox-and-collagen set like to getpampered here, where liposuction is performed in thestainless-steel operating facility, serious facialsare conducted in nearby rooms, and the staff mainlycomprises registered nurses. The signature treatmentuses human growth hormone, which stimulates fresh cellgrowth. There’s also a clarifying facial with asulfur mask and an enzyme peel; a vitamin Canti-oxidant facial, and a lightening treatment fordark spots and sun damage.

The newest scrub in this minimalist spa is done withground toasted almonds, and the body treatment du jouris an oolong-tea wrap, for improving skin tone. Thereare several varieties of electronic muscle stimulationfor the face, one in which electrodes are placeddirectly on the skin. Asian cold-stone therapy, usingjade stones along the facial meridians to restoreenergy and balance, is offered, along with the morecommon hot-stone therapy for the body.

77 Eighth Avenue

Only in Chelsea would you find a men-only spa thatoffers the Bodybuilder’s Waxing Special. Basicfacials—exfoliation, extraction, andmoisturizing—are the most popular choices, butcome spring, try the Love Handle Wrap, which targetswinter excess with an anti-fat-cell gel. You’llfeel relaxed after a stop here, but the mainfloor’s fluorescent lighting may hit you like adouble espresso, causing a sudden desire for a nightof clubbing. That’s all right. There’salways the 30-minute Face Rescue Express facial,offered to those suffering from too muchpartying.

140 East 63rd Street

Flowers and a view of the pool greet you when youenter this quiet enclave inside a bustling gym. Forwinter, the comfiest choice is the Self-heating MudFacial, which is accompanied by a warm seaweed-and-mudmask. One of the most popular treatments is the salad facial, made from fresh edibles and full of vitamins and antioxidants. Two separate treatments are available just for the eyes—a botanical one for puffiness and a collagen option for wrinkling. Massages are sports-oriented and come with the option of simultaneous reflexology.

Urban Oases