The French have a saying: “It is impossible to overdo luxury.”
They should know. Having spawned talent like Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and cosmetics companies like Guerlain, the French probably own this saying more than any country in the world.
Which brings me to the Guerlain Spa the the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Situated on the 19th floor of the Towers is the oasis that is now owned by Spa Chakra. I had the good fortune of experiencing one of their signature treatments, the Waldorf Imperiale, which is a 2 hour long saga of body massage and facial.
(The Lounge at the Guerlain Spa, Waldorf Astoria)
I won’t lie: the treatment is incredibly expensive. It’s $510 for the 2 hour plus session, but makes a stellar indulgence or luxury gift to someone.
First up, the complimentary foot scrub treatment (all visitors get this). You’re taken to the lounge where a mechanical sofa makes you descend into a bubbling vat of foot soothers. My masseuse, Sasha Blyakker, did an extravagant job of exfoliating me with a scrub and slathering juicy moisturizer to my tired soles.
Then I had my hour long massage in my own private suite, complete with gorgeous bath. Before Sasha did any work on me, I had to fill a detailed questionnaire, and even specify what kind of aromatherapy oils (soothing, energizing etc.) I wanted on my body.
Sasha was a wonderful masseuse, and took every ailment, sprained tendon and wretched knot under consideration. Hers was one of the best massages I have ever had, and extended well over an hour. Since you have your own private suite (spacious, well lit, beautifully furnished and everything a Waldorf should be), there’s no sense of hurry. Time is lost, as though you’re in some H.G. Wells novel, and there’s a feeling you’ve wandered into your own rich galaxy.
(Guerlain Secret de Purete Cleansing Milk)
Next up, my facial. This was a real treat and my aesthetician, Michelle Cummings, took stock of my large pores and blackheads as though it was just a run of the mill car inspection. First up, the gentle Guerlain Cleansing Milk to clean the skin, and then the Super Aqua Toner.
(Guerlain’s Super Aqua Mask is a hydrating genius)
I loved the Super Aqua moisture Mask that infused hydration to my dry skin. There’s always a customization process when you get a facial at the Guerlain Spa, of course. You’ll get the incredible Orchidee Imperiale line slathered onto your skin as though it were drugstore shea butter (limitless in supply) but you’ll also get a good education in what your skin needs.
After a rather painful yet thorough extraction process (hey, it needs to be done– just like household chores), my face was revitalized and even my undereye area was refreshed and less puffy.
The Waldorf Imperiale is a 2 hour massage / facial combination. There is also a luxurious Orchidee Imperiale 2 hour facial treatment ($600) that also includes a facial waxing component (lip, chin, eyebrow tweezing) and a paraffin hand treatment. It also features two targeted face masks and an eye contour treatment. This one’s a must for the true facial freaks.
Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf Astoria
Reservations: 212 872 7200
301 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022