from the archives: massage of a lifetime

Mandarin Oriental Central Park view

High above Columbus Circle in Manhattan, the Mandarin Oriental has an over-the-top spa with spectacular views of Central Park. And while raising the bar for service and ambiance, it is also raising the bar on what the market will bear for a simple rubdown. With the recent surge of affordable qi gong joints popping up all over major cities — not to mention practically every nail salon now offering to rebalance your chakras for $20 — you’d be hard-pressed to pay more than $100 bucks for an hour of qualified deep-tissue attention. Even nearby, high-end day retreats such as Bliss and Sanctuary top out at $200 for a hot stone or lomi-lomi massage. However, in the rarified world of the Mandarin-in-the-sky, a no-frills massage will set you back about a cool $500. Read more HERE.

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loose-limbed and light

sunset spa

I was wrong about that massage being redundant the other day.  So wrong, in fact, that I’ve retreated back into the spa at Paresa today for something called Thai Boran Massage, an ancient Thai-style massage that dates back 2,500 years. Using no oil, the rhythmic treatment utilizes scented herbal pouches instead, concentrating on pressure points and stretching to stimulate circulation and relax muscles. I’ve had more than my fair share of massages but this turns out to be 120 minutes of bliss. When all is said and done, I feel amazing: relaxed, yet energized; loose-limbed and light. Even better, I’m not left dripping in oil.

herbal boran pouches

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just published: the apple of your eye

Spas in the Big Apple have become as ubiquitous as tourists: one on every corner, standing side-by-side, and often found in groups. Every run of the mill nail salon now has spa somewhere in its name. Storefronts cater to time-crunched pedestrians by offering facials, shiatsu and shoulder massage – nirvana promised in less than 15 minutes. Even department stores have gotten into the act, comforting weary shoppers with hot rock calf massages before sending them back to the racks. To wit: every major hotel has either opened a spacious stand-alone spa or has one in the works. It’s only a matter of time before full-service healing is as close as a call down to room service.

Yet some of the best places to find serenity in the city that never sleeps are often hidden in the most unlikely nooks and crannies, too: unmarked buildings with no signage, on the second and third floors of buildings without elevators, uptown, downtown, and even underground. For the uninitiated, the path to inner peace is about more than just knowing where to look – it’s about knowing who to know.

Luckily, you know us. So whether you seek the newest treatments, the hottest trends, or the most traditional therapies, New York, New York will melt away those little town blues and have you at the top of the heap.

Click HERE to download the full story as a PDF

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just published: swiss bliss

If discretion is the better part of valour, surely the Swiss deserve a medal. Not for nothing do all those secret bank accounts remain so hush-hush – well, mostly: the Swiss have not only perfected the art of keeping secrets, they’ve elevated it to an art form.

With the exception of a few undisclosed vaults in Zurich, nowhere is such a distant delicacy practiced with greater fervour than along the shores of Lake Geneva. A hit list of bold-faced names that have sought sanctuary here confirms its reputation as a hideaway in plain sight: Byron, Shelley, Chaplin, Nabokov, Wagner, Hemingway, and Freddie Mercury, whose life-size statue adorns the Montreux waterfront. This is the Swiss Riviera after all.

It’s only natural that you’d find a selection of sublime spas and wellness clinics blending seamlessly into the Alpine landscape here – if you know where to look. Between Lausanne and Montreaux, no fancy signs point the way. Bells and whistles are nowhere to be seen and the international clientele that comes in search of rejuvenation would like to keep it that way – and remain nameless, thank you very much. However, once inside these retreats you’ll find the peace of mind that comes from cutting edge therapies and a promise that everything will run as reliably as the trains and as smoothly as the chocolate.

CLICK HERE to read more Swiss Bliss (pdf download)

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