We then went upstairs and proceeded to partake of a list of pampering that would make the Real Housewives of Orange County jealous. We started with manicures and pedicures in a lovely mosaic-style tiled room with water falling down the walls. Nice, but when you're in the city, a good mani pedi is on every corner. We were just getting warmed up. Rachael then left for her ninety minute hot stone massage ("That man beat me up! In a good way!", she said) while I stayed with Helen, the waxing specialist, for every woman's favorite half hour at the spa. Okay, it wasn't too horrible and she was very sweet. Her favorite phrase was "Beauty is Pain". Ha! I would have to remember that. Then I left for my (after that, much needed) Swedish massage. My portly female masseuse seemed to have some kind of sonar for my sore muscles and the hour-long massage was both therapeutic and enjoyable. So far, so good. A good, if average, spa day.
Rachael and I then met up on the first floor for a little gnosh. The large open area was part cafeteria, part living room, and part trickling zen garden. It was oddly peaceful. Everywhere, people were sleeping in leather massage chairs, eating frozen yogurt, and chatting over asparagus and grilled chicken from the salad bar. To our left was a cluster of igloo-looking saunas, above us was a dark leather relaxation room, and in front of us was a Starbucks. Classic. We ate our lunch (sushi for me, chicken for Rachael), compared notes, and decided what to do next.
Overwhelmed, we padded barefoot (everyone's barefoot - if you don't like it, you'll get used to it) to the second floor which was largely an outdoor area. Through the glass, we saw six bubbling pools under the New York sunset. The most important bit of info: all of the pools were heated. Every pool had a digital temperature above it so you could pick your pool and where you want your jets. We tiptoed carefully on the icy runners to the 106 degree whirlpool and hopped in as quickly as possible. It felt fabulous. We were outside in the 30 degree weather looking at the stars in Queens. Random, but fabulous.
Before this blog gets too long, I'll tell you quickly the rest of our spa escapades. Rachael had a honey wrap/scrub that left her skin feeling like silk and I had a little time to explore and lay in the leather recliners in the relaxation room. We went upstairs to the restaurant and shared (totally unhealthfully, I know) some spicy waffle fries and tasty mango orange concoctions. By this time, it was around 9pm and our subway would turn into a pumpkin soon, so we took Erin's advice from the Russian restaurant ("When in Rome . . .") and went downstairs to the baths, threw our shirts and shorts into a laundry basket, entered the "swimsuits prohibited" section, and hopped into a 102 degree bubbling bath. It was oddly comfortable. And for a moment, we felt very European . . . in Queens. Go figure..