EXPERIENCING LUSH SPA
by Victor Amos
Hidden among the skyscrapers of midtown, and tucked into the second floor of a retail shop, lies LUSH’s first U.S. spa. The natural beauty cosmetics chain, known for its extraordinary bath bombs and facial cleansers, is bringing an entirely new experience to the New York market – and their approach is very “hands-on.” LUSH has sent a team of massage therapists to train at the original LUSH Spa in England, so that you can experience their unique menu of treatments without hopping on an airplane.
The experience begins on the ground floor of LUSH’s 2-story space on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 61st Street. You make a quick check-in at the front counter, and are promptly whisked past the whimsical sights and smells of the retail store, up the stairs, where you enter a beautifully-appointed waiting area. The waiting area of the spa is themed to look like an English countryside cottage, complete with weathered wooden cabinetry, vintage books, mason jars filled with wild flowers, and a rustic hodgepodge of wooden furniture.
Your session starts with a meet-and-greet consultation with your massage therapist. You sit at the large kitchen table and go through a brief (but necessary) survey of your health, while also discussing what nooks and crannies you need the kinks worked out of. After a small chat, you are taken to your room … and that’s when the real magic happens!
I chose to get a spa treatment called “The Comforter?” (yes, the question mark is part of the title). The Comforter? is not an ordinary massage, it is actually an exfoliating treatment. Exclusively for its spas, LUSH creates custom body products that can only be experienced during a treatment; they can’t be purchased. My treatment called for a chocolate body scrub (made of rhassoul mud, raw cacao paste, carob, and scrubby ground adzuki beans) to exfoliate my skin, and a rose body serum (made with illipe butter, shea butter, rose clay, and argan oil) to hydrate after the scrub.
My treatment commenced with my undressing and sandwiching my body between a marshmallow-soft mattress and a fluffy heated duvet cover. OH. MY. GOD. Quite honestly, the treatment could have begun and ended here. I’d never been on a massage table like this one. While staring up at the constellations being projected onto the ceiling, my mind and body melted into a mush of relaxation; it was like being back in the womb again. While the chocolate body scrub was being melted by candle, I was clearing my mind of its troubles, and focusing on the soundtrack to my treatment.
Now, while you may find the exclusive body products unique, there is another layer to the experience that makes it special. LUSH partnered with folk-musician Simon Emmerson to create a custom soundtrack for each spa treatment. Your entire session is colored by tranquil, yet validating tunes being gently whispered through the surround-sound speaker system above head. While listening to the custom soundtrack, I actually recognized many of the contemporary pop and soft-rock song covers … albeit a folksy, English rendition of them.
For the next 60 minutes, the expertly-trained massage therapist meticulously navigated my limbs as though she were a ballerina in a presentation of Swan Lake. Without exaggeration, the masseuse performs a rhythmically-synchronized dance, akin to the ebb and flow of an ocean shoreline, as they careen across your extremities. The sensations of pressure and release, timed to the exact stroke of the music, is a fine detail that sets this spa’s set of treatments apart from any other.
To close out my service, I re-clothed myself and rendezvoused with my masseuse in the waiting area. I shared my never-ending ramble of thank yous and praises while she prepared a unique “mocktail” cocktail for me. My treatment came with a delicious drink consisting of sparkling water, rose water, and a fluffy piece of cotton candy, which I dissolved into the effervescent concoction.
The full-circle moment of this experience was watching that piece of cotton candy dissolve into the fizzy pool of water. It almost made me chuckle, as I felt like all of the tension and stress that I came in with, disappeared just the same.
If you’d like to visit New York’s LUSH Spa:
783 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10065
+1 (212) 207-8151
Makeup Artist | Beauty Editor