For years, Spa Castle Urban Resort has ruled College Point, Queens, as a beloved—and behemoth—hydrotherapy-focused escape. Consistently keeping the facility at capacity, relaxation-seekers have long proven that they do not mind schlepping from the city and surrounding areas to partake in the 100,000-square-foot oasis that is equipped with an impressive array of soaking, steaming, and spa-ing options and is open to spa-goers of all ages. With the recent opening of Spa Castle Premier 57 in midtown Manhattan, however, denizens of New York City have crowned a new relaxation ruler much closer to home. But this version—all 39,000 square feet and three floors of it—comes with a contemporary, high-end, and more adult-focused twist (guests must be at least 16 years old to enter). “Premier 57 is the luxury-brand extension of the Spa Castle Urban Resort,” says Stephanie Chon, chief marketing officer and director of operations. “When constructing and designing this project, we wanted to find a smaller and more intimate space than our existing locations, since Premier 57 has an age limit and is targeted towards a higher income demographic.”
Unlike many more traditional spas, where treatments are the focus, it is the many amenities that make Premier 57 stand out, most notably Sauna Valley and the hydrotherapy experiences, all of which can be accessed by guests after they pay a $65 entry fee for an entire day of healing. “Premier 57 is largely influenced by the bath culture found in Asia and some parts of Europe,” says Chon. “Spas specifically in Asia are more communal destinations for socialization and detoxification. Because of this, the experience found within is much different than your typical day spas that primarily focus on spa services. Premier 57’s facility is designed to bring numerous health and beauty benefits, with spa services as one of the many amenities found within. Premier 57 is also a one-stop destination that includes eateries, spa treatment rooms, sleeping and resting areas, extensive hydrotherapy spa pools, and unique sauna rooms.”
A major highlight is Sauna Valley, which features six rooms of varied temperatures and design elements, each offering a specific and healing benefit. In the Himalayan Salt Sauna, water and blood pressure are regulated throughout the body, and the salt helps those with respiratory issues breathe easier. The Far Infrared Sauna room encourages detoxification. The Gold Sauna, which features 24-karat gold on the ceiling and each and every wall, is intended to improve mental acuity and concentration, rejuvenate the body, and offer additional beauty benefits. The Chromotherapy Sauna uses blue, green, red, and yellow light to help balance energy levels. The Loess Soil and Charcoal Sauna, complete with yellow clay walls and a charcoal-lined ceiling, helps boost blood circulation and metabolism, as well as relieves headaches, arthritis, and liver ailments. Meanwhile, the Ice Igloo, which is an ideal place to stop between some of the warmer sauna rooms, stimulates the body and improves antioxidant capabilities, strengthens the immune system, firms the skin, and closes the pores.
Another favorite place for guests to unwind is in the Indoor Bade Pool, which features strategically placed jets throughout a large pool that massage specific areas of the body. The warm water relaxes the body while the acupressure helps enhance circulation, skintone, joint and muscle tension, and digestion. Between dips in the pool, guests can visit the adjacent bar for fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies, and cocktails. Those looking for even more places to unwind can unplug in the Meditation Room, where the soothing sound of water cascading from the ceiling soothes the mind and spirit, or the Infrared Lounge, where guests can stretch out and immerse themselves in the warm, healing wavelengths of infrared light.
Though the all-inclusive options are enticing enough to many guests, the spa treatment area also makes them feel like a king or queen and allows them to receive services in one of 14 treatment rooms, four of which are suites. According to Chon, the suites, including the white-tile Lexington Suite, the black-marble Galleria Suite, the natural-oak 5th Avenue Suite, and the gold-plated Park Avenue Suite, are reserved for spa package retreats. The ultimate indulgence is the Your Majesty Spa Retreat ($690, 3 hours 30 minutes), which includes a Detox Body & Foot Bath, a Caviar & Stem Cell Facial, and a Premiere Signature Massage & Treatment. The other treatment rooms are designed for facials, body treatments, and massages. Traditional Korean Body Scrubs are offered in the men’s and women’s lounges. “Most of our client base is looking to enjoy the facilities included in the day admission,” says Chon. “However, a majority of them also book a service while enjoying their stay. Our concept entices them to visit us, while our treatments and the experience found within keeps them coming back.”
Like with any monarchy, expansion comes with some growing pains. The spa officially opened in the fall of 2014, but a few licensing and permitting snafus delayed a full debut until June 2015. Though the doors remained opened during that time, and much of the spa was accessible to guests, a few of the amenities, including the Indoor Bade Pool and the rooftop area, remained closed. The outdoor roof area is expected to open this winter, and the Indoor Bade Pool is now fully functional. “To meet specific permitting codes, certain renovations were required, which extended our grand opening beyond the projected fall 2014 date,” says Chon. “We are pleased to have completed these changes and to be in compliance with the codes necessary to offer our customers the highest quality of guest experience.”
And the kingdom is expanding. Along with the two New York outposts and a 140,000-square-foot Spa Castle Urban Resort in Carrollton, TX, the next project scheduled is a 300-acre wellness resort called Spa Castle Grand Poconos (PA), which is slated to open in 2018. “There, we will have condos, villas, hotels, a conference center, hiking trails, glamping sites, and a full village with restaurants, markets, and recreation,” says Chon. No doubt wellness-seekers are sure to have a blast storming the castle.
Owner: Steve Chon
Spa Director: Sua Lim
Opened: December 2014
55 % female
44 % male
39,000 square feet;
14 treatment rooms
Booker, Cosmoprof, Earthlite, Shin Hwa Aqua
Steve Con (New York City)
Victor Chon (New York City)