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Guerlain Spa - Review

The Waldorf=Astoria

by Irvina Lew

A wet room at Guerlain Spa, with floating rounded ceilings
A wet room at Guerlain Spa, with floating rounded ceilings


Step onto the mosaic tile floors at the Park Avenue entrance of the legendary Waldorf=Astoria in Manhattan, and there's a buzz under the crystal chandelier in this superbly sophisticated lounge. This is where out-of-towners and New Yorkers meet and mingle, at the iconic golden clock near the Guerlain Spa Boutique and famed Peacock Alley. But up on the 19th floor, the ambiance is transformed into one of serene elegance, for this is where the Waldorf=Astoria Collection, Guerlain and Spa Chakra, Inc. opened the much-anticipated Guerlain Spa in September 2008. Quiet prevails in this all-white-and-gray marble setting, with its floor-to-ceiling crystal bead room divider and white glass mosaic tile walls. Within the spa, shiny yet soft-colored gray mosaic tiles create bold floral wall patterns.

A floral hallway of mosaic tiles The lobby's white and gray setting
A floral hallway of mosaic tiles
The lobby's white and gray setting

At reception, the host's greeting is unique: "Here at Guerlain, we would like to customize your treatment with one of our Guerlain fragrances. Do you prefer to be relaxed or revitalized after a treatment? Do you prefer a soft and discreet or more bold and enveloping scent?" Answers determine the aromas used to personalize the treatment room.

First-time clients receive a complimentary foot bath in the spa's extraordinary, state-of-the-art foot lounge. After changing from shoes to slippers, guests are greeted and escorted to a seating unit, one of four in the high-ceilinged space that are divided by long, flowing white drapes. The practitioner presses a button for the white-lacquered floor to recess under a couch, steps down into a seat facing the foot bathtub and pushes another button that surprisingly lowers the client's seat so that feet fit perfectly in the warmed water. It's amazing, to say the least.

A guest receives a foot bath A couple's suite at the spa
A guest receives a foot bath
A couple's suite at the spa

There is no need for locker rooms here, either. The 14,000-square-foot Guerlain Spa/Spa Chakra is housed on the entire 19th floor of the hotel, and each of the stunning sixteen treatment rooms—including a couple's suite and wet rooms—is hotel-sized and includes an en-suite bathroom with a shower. While room shapes and sizes may differ, each is outfitted with floating rounded ceilings, soft lighting and large windows, as well as a wardrobe closet with a safe, storage and lovely seating. The signature spa item on the menu, the two-hour Waldorf Impériale ($510), begins with a customized body massage. Afterwards, the masseuse introduces the aesthetician, and, while the client relaxes, the therapists transform the massage table into a facial chair for the next treatment. Guests remain in the same room for the facial, which follows and uses Guerlain's Orchidée Impériale skincare collection.

At the Waldorf, spa guests enjoy an incredibly lush space and a royal assortment of services, even a private-to-spa-guests fitness facility!

Guerlain Spa
The Waldorf=Astoria
301 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022-3897


(Updated: 10/12/12 KK)

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