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Book here, not there: How to make sure SpaFinder’s Deal Days deliver

praying for a spa deal NYC
Praying for a spa deal in NYC that's worth the $50? We've got you covered!

On Monday, SpaFinder, the company known best as an online repository of far-flung spas (and the owner of the now-shuttered magazine we used to write for) debuts Deal Days. Participating spas will offer 50-minute treatments for $50 throughout the week. Think Restaurant Week for spas—or swap butter for body butter—and you’ve pretty much got the idea.

Of course, the event encourages spa-goers to spend during the downturn—or try a new spa treatment or a new spa, says Susie Ellis, SpaFinder’s president and owner. “Deal Days also provides a way to introduce new consumers to the wellness, stress reduction, and beauty benefits of spa-going. Getting someone to go to a spa for the first time is where the greatest challenge lies.” SpaFinder is certainly not the first to do this—in fact, they’re a bit late to sale-rack spa services—but the company is capitalizing on the unavoidable and latest spa trend: discounted services.

Get 40 winks and foot rub at Yelo Spa during Deal Days

Spa Week was the first to apply the Restaurant Week concept to spas. Cheryl Reid, Spa Week’s founder, launched the concept in fall 2004 with just 20 spas. She now has 800 around the country. “Spa Week opened up the spa lifestyle to the masses. It’s no longer an indulgence but part of a healthy lifestyle,” explains Reid, whose nationwide event kicks off on April 12.

Lifebooker was also early to the spa-discount game, though its approach is more like Orbitz than Zagat. “Local spas and salons have all these talented employees sitting around in the middle of the day. Our company was formed to take excess service time and discount it,” explains co-founder Andrew Unger. What does Unger think of Deal Days?  “I wish them well. But I hope consumers realize that the spas aren’t rated or reviewed in a trustworthy fashion.” (Lifebooker’s users can rate spas and services on the site if they have booked and honored appointments.)

Unger makes an important point. The event-week spas aren’t cherry picked by Ellis or Reid, which is why some are duds. And unlike Restaurant Week, which includes many of the city’s toniest eateries, Deal Days doesn’t include the Babbo and Bouley of spas. So you can forget about having a $50 service at the Mandarin Oriental or the Sense Spa at the Carlyle. Although the brand-new spa at the Setai says it’ll be participating in Spa Week.

Caudalie at the Plaza created amuse bouche spa treatments for Deal Days

On the other hand, while the Caudalie Spa at the Plaza is participating (see the list here), that luxe spa is offering an abridged service “for SpaFinder,” an amuse bouche of their stellar vinotherapy treatments. And many mediocre days spas are offering a $50 spa pedicure, which is not much of a discount at all. Skip these, along with the blow out at Great Jones (great spa, boring service) and stay away from discounted Botox or laser hair removal, unless you’ve already done due diligence.

Our advice, go for facials and massages—and these spas. Our picks with potential for Deal Days:

Iguazu Day Spa, 350 Hudson St.,
For the South American–themed Amazon Massage (Deep Tissue), and Refreshing Iguazu Facial (50 min, $50 each)

White Tea Spa, 104 W. 14th St.,
For the skinny on Endermologie (35 min) $50 and the Organic Custom Facial (50 min) $50

FineLiving New York Ayurveda, 154 West 14th St.,
We’ve been wanting to try this place: Ayurvedic Body Massage and Ayurvedic Balancing Facial (each 50 min, $50)

Brilliant Smile, 45 Rockefeller Plaza,
We don’t usually recommend spa treatments at the dentist, but these cool-sounding treatments might be worth the gamble: Face & Foot Massage Nirvana and Sound & Stone Massage (each 50 min, $50)

Yelo Spa, 315 West 57th St.,
The napping spa puts its best combo on sale: 30 Minute Reflexology and 20 Minute YeloNap or Yelo Glow Facial (each 50 min, $50)

SpaFinder Deal Days March 8-14,

Have you been to any of the Deal Day spas that are worth a second visit? Tell us, here!

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