Spa Castle, the most psychedelic bathing experience of our time, will soon be debuting its Manhattan location. A press preview last night confirmed that the 39,000-square-foot facility is not just a chimerical fantasy invented by hapless bathers tired of trekking to College Point, home of Spa Castle's current sole location in NYC, but a legitimate enterprise set to open sometime next week.
It's to be expected that Spa Castle Premier will differ significantly from its Queens counterpart, if for no reason other than its location. Spa Castle Original is situated on a quiet street in what amounts to the suburbs, plunked unostentatiously next to an apartment complex and some warehouses. It looks, from the outside, like a Howard Johnson.
Spa Castle Premier, on the other hand, feels polished in a distinctly Manhattan way. From the roof deck it's possible (or more accurately, unavoidable) to look directly into the floor-to-ceiling windows of the opulent apartments that surround it, and it's already clear that the residents therein are none too pleased about this naked hippie party sullying their majestic city views. (Reminder: There will be no rooftop nudity; everyone calm down.)
While enjoying a cocktail from the swim-up bar and gazing at the glittering lights (read: gawking at a wealthy family of J. Crew models savoring their nightly caviar and bridge game) is perfectly relaxing, it's not why we go to Spa Castle. The saunas in the new location are sensibly housed behind a series of doors, not in sporadically placed igloos separated by a gently burbling stream. There's lots of black, gleaming marble, and while it's too soon to tell, I saw no evidence of the electrifying shorts-sets that force all who enter into total infantalized humility. Spa Castle Premier is a spa—it's a nice spa! But it's not a phantasmagoric relaxation fever dream, and for that reason, I for one will continue to make the trek to College Point.