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Spa Watch: Spa and the City — Spa Merge

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By Mary Alice Kellogg

SpaWatcher is pleased to note that two new — and radically different –  spas have bloomed in New York this spring. One is an intimate oasis, the other an opulent  blockbuster we'll explore in Part Two of Spa and The City.

The first to open is Spa Merge on West 57th Street. A sleek yet cozy model of the ideal urban day spa, its minimalist, tranquil decor contrasts mightily with the Midtown bustle outside. Particularly impressive here is the absence of shared public changing rooms; each of Merge's 9 treatment rooms is self-contained with its own locker/safe, massage table, mirrored vanity, and private bathroom with shower for maximum privacy. Celebrities and CEOs take note.

Spa Merge has an ambitious menu of medical treatments (skin peels, pre-natal massage), the latest high-preformance facial technology (Skin Ceuticals and Naturopathica products), beauty offerings (airbrush tanning, eyelash extensions), and a full array of massages for singles and couples. But after a long winter's angst, SpaWatcher chose — rather, needed — the one-hour Detox Wrap.

To begin, my Gotham-weary skin was exfoliated with a Lemongrass Mimosa Body Scrub rich in essential oils and sea salt. This was followed by a Vichy shower, where overhead warm water jets calibrated to pressure points gently washed away the scrub. I was too relaxed to move when my technician slathered warm seaweed paste all over me, then wrapped me in warm towels and foil to let it all sink in. A happy discovery was that the seaweed paste would not have to be rinsed off  — I've never relished having to get up and shower when I'm in an alpha state. Instead, it absorbed beautifully in the 20 minutes I resembled a baked potato. (I think there was a scalp massage, too, but was too comatose to be sure.)

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Unwrapped and with skin already glowing, moisturized and positively giddy, my technician delivered the piece de resistance: a gentle full body massage and application of Juniper, Mandarin and Bergamot-infused shea butter. Sigh.

Dressing in my private room, I savored a spa snack of cranberry juice and button-sized cookies. Not only did I feel like springtime –I smelled like it too.

Spa Merge at Hilton Grand Vacation Club, 102 West 57th Street, New York, NY.

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