Undeground Oasis Gets a Facelift
Despite being only 14 miles long and 2 miles wide, the island of Manhattan in New York City is home to nearly 950,000 businesses that serve more than 8.4 million residents. With spas and salons dotting the sidewalks every few avenues, there’s no question it takes a lot to stand out in the city that never sleeps.
Just southwest of Midtown’s Murray Hill neighborhood, beyond a marble staircase leading to the basement of One Park Avenue, lays the Oasis Day Spa. The spa, which opened in 2001 and has a sister property in Westchester, recently underwent a redesign with the hopes of impressing its city’s clientele. Envisioned by a pair of local interior designers, the spa now dons lighter walls and grey carpeting, new wall art, contemporary furniture and revamped signage that come together to create a modern, Zen-like effect.
On a recent trip to Manhattan, I was fortunate enough to spend the morning checking out the newly redecorated underground oasis—and indulge in a bit of pampering!
A minimalist women’s lounge, complete with several showers and toilets, keyless-entry lockers and a makeup counter, served as my first stop where I changed into a plush, oversized robe. I made my way to the waiting area, a circular room edged with posh leather couches, countless magazines and ice-cold cucumber water (pictured), to wait for my Almond Blossom Aromatherapy Massage (60 min./$130), one of the spa’s special fall offerings.
My therapist, Nicole brought me back to a treatment room, where she asked what aches and pains I’d been experiencing lately. Six hours on a plane to Baltimore and several bus trips to make my way up the eastern seaboard to NYC had put some stress in my shoulders, so I was excited to have my upper back thoroughly kneaded.
Once I was settled on the massage table, Nicole introduced the nutty aroma directly beneath my face rest and for the next 60 minutes, I oohed and ahhed (no pain, no gain, right?) as she worked tirelessly to loosen my back. I’m sure 45 hours a week hunched over in a desk chair is also palpable cause for all that tension.
Now, I’ll confess: I’m a sucker for massages. I’m pretty content with most rubdowns, but Nicole applied the perfect amount of pressure as she ensured the knots in my back were beat into submission. Once she softly let me know my time was up, I lay motionless on the table in a trance-like state for several minutes, unwilling to move my limbs.
Though I longed for a whole other hour, I slowly eased myself back into my robe and toward the waiting area, where Jessica whisked me away to a second treatment room for an Éminence Kale & Citrus Facial (60 min./$155), another one of the Oasis’s new autumn offerings, and my very first facial.
I know, I know. But nearly a decade on birth control meant I had relatively flawless skin (don’t throw the tomatoes yet, please.) As I transition off of hormones, my skin has been less than cooperative—to put it nicely—and regardless of how many topicals I use, my face remains broken out and splotchy. Needless to say, I was looking forward to treating my face to the same vegetable and citrus goodies that are staples of my diet.
Jessica examined my skin for obvious blemishes, targeting the acne on my chin and the blackheads on my nose. Cucumber slices shielded my eyes as she carefully used her gloved fingers to extract all of the gunk clogging my pores.
After prepping my face with Éminence’s Lime Refresh Tonique, Jessica gently applied the brand’s Citrus & Kale Potent C+E serum and a slightly sweet aroma wafted into my nose as the concoction began to tingle my chin and cheekbones.
Next came the mask—which was so light I almost forgot my face was caked in the trendy green—then a gentle finger and palm massage, after which Jessica slathered my hands in moisturizer and nestled them into heated mitts before beginning to knead my shoulders and arms.
As the mask was gently washed off, my skin felt squeaky clean and refreshed. Jessica treated my face with the kale serum once again before she led me back to the women’s lounge.
Relaxed, but not yet ready to take on the city, I lingered in a steamy shower and lounged on the couches before finally ascending the marble staircase back into the city.