She was standing in line during Restaurant Week in 2004, jockeying for a table at a hip Chelsea bistro, when the idea struck Cheryl Reid: day spas needed a Restaurant Week.
For years, Reid had worked in spa PR and marketing. “My feeling was that someone should do something terrific for the tiny, one-off day spas. Spa owners have a lot of passion for their work, but so few marketing resources,” she says.
Like the Restaurant Week concept, Reid’s notion was that a week-long spa event would generate citywide buzz, and would be built on the simple model of discounting full-service treatments from rack rates to $50. (Spa Week gets a commission.) That first year (2004) Reid recruited 12 spas, which sold every treatment spot within 48 hours, so lickety-split she had to recruit another dozen to meet demand. The event has since gone national, with just over 800 spas participating this year.
While spas filled with new bookings, Reid took some flack for discounting in the luxury sector. But it wasn’t from spa-goers. “The consumer needs this industry so badly. The $50 treatments show them spas aren’t only for the rich and they’re not just about pampering. Massage is medicinal. Once people try it, they see the de-stressor it really is.” And a handful of the luxury spas that once pooh-poohed the idea are now onboard.
Reid’s favorite treatment is a hot-stone massage done in conjunction with a deep tissue massage. “It makes a huge difference for my lower back,” says the Midtown West resident. She tries as much as work allows to live the lifestyle she promotes: The avid skier is good about using her vacation time for trips to Colorado and Utah, and she’s currently amping up her cardio at the gym to prep for the Five Boro Bike Tour in May.
Well+Good asked the woman behind Spa Week (April 12–18) for her NYC treatment picks. Given that the event started as a way to promote off-the-radar spas, it’s not a surprise that Reid still has a soft spot for the ones you won’t see advertising in New York Magazine or Time Out. Reid talks us through some of her recommendations:
Graceful Services is a no-fluff, no-frills, type of spa. It has a solid following for its Qigong Deep Tissue Massage. And let me be clear, it’s deep! Plus it’s the kind of place you can afford to go when Spa Week’s over.
Spa Week Pick: 50 Min Qigong Deep Tissue Massage
Tribeca Beauty Spa is owned by Nadia Dekhkanova, one of my all-time favorite facialists. She’s obsessed with skin care, and she obsesses about her client’s skin even more. She has great products in her spa and gives excellent advice for taking care of your skin.
Spa Week Pick: 50 Min Tribeca Signature Facial
Deva Spa is a chic little Soho spa on Broome Street, and the sibling of the Tribeca curly-hair salon. It has lots of rooms to lounge in, some quiet, some for chatting, and the spa uses only certified organic and natural ingredients in their services. Even the peels.
Spa Week Pick: 45 Min Botanical Peel with Hydrating Mask
Vada Spa is my lucky penny. I can always seem to get an appointment when I need it most. It’s not a place for relaxing but for that quick fix that I’ve put off! I’m not going to tell you everything I’ve booked here, but they offer everything from facials and teeth whitening to laser-hair removal.
Spa Week Pick: Laser Hair Removal Session (Brazilian or Full Face)
Spa Week is April 12–18. For a complete list of spas, visit www.spaweek.com
What’s your favorite spa participating in Spa Week? Tell us, here!