On the menu: masks with pure caviar, 24-karat gold, and charcoal, plus the use of a "heat device embedded with Tourmaline, the highest energy-producing crystal in the world."
Gold Vitality Facial at Spa Nalai at the Park Hyatt New York ($375)
As part of the third installment of Park Hyatt’s International Series, in which acclaimed treatments are offered for a limited time at sister properties around the globe, Spa Nalai at the Park Hyatt has two new facials that hail from Dubai. In keeping with the city’s reputation for extravagance, we opted to test the Gold Vitality Facial, available from July 1 through September 2015. The 90-minute service incorporates ancient Middle Eastern healing practices, and begins with a ceremonial footbath using soothing desert botanicals and minerals sourced from the region. Next, the therapist massages the skin and applies Carita’s Trio of Gold Complex mask, made from 24-karat gold and natural plant extracts. The small gold gems gently exfoliate and purify the skin, guaranteeing a youthful flow.
Contour-Brighten-Tighten Skin Rehab at Townhouse Spa ($395)
Designed to target the damaging effects of aging, sun exposure, dehydration, and environmental aggressors, the 90-minute CBT facial may be one of the most rejuvenating treatments out there. The aesthetician begins with a deep tissue and lymphatic drainage massage, loosening up any tension in the face and preparing the skin for step two: the “Super Sonic Polisher.” Different than your typical diamond-tipped microdermabrasion wand, the Skin Polisher uses high-frequency vibrations to promote circulation and eliminate toxins. Next comes the oxygen, via a pressurized machine that layers the face in vitamin-rich serums to restore hydration and plump fine lines. (Ask your aesthetician to pause halfway through and show you the before-and-after effect, which is amazing.) Afterwards, a cotton mask infused with pure caviar is applied to the face, along with a neck mask, both by innovative Korean brand Repère. The aesthetician then sweeps a micro-current wand over the mask to further stimulate and tighten the muscles. Even more effective: you leave the spa with a caviar mask to use at home three days later, prolonging the effects.
Jade Stone Facial at the Mandarin Oriental New York ($350)
U.S.-based spas are beginning to incorporate more Eastern medicine and wellness practices into their treatments. Case in point: the latest facial at the Mandarin Oriental New York, created exclusively for the hotel by Traditional Chinese Medicine specialist Ping Zhang (also a certified herbalist and licensed acupuncturist). The facial begins with a gentle exfoliation using products from Dr. Zhang’s Nefeli line. Then, a therapist uses a smooth jade stone to lift the skin, beginning around the jaw, moving to the under eye area, and up to the hairline. This isn’t a facial that focuses on extractions, but rather, impurities are released by opening up meridian lines and stimulating lymphatic drainage—leading to a clearer, younger looking complexion.
Sensitive Skin Facial at L’Institut Sothys ($140)
Those who suffer from the trials and tribulations of sensitive skin (uneven complexion, redness, dehydration) will want to seek out this specially formulated, ultra-hydrating treatment. The 50-minute facial incorporates manual massage, detoxifying steam, and the application of masks. All of the products used are from the Parisian stalwart’s Spa Thermal Water range, which features natural spring water—sourced from the Belgian Ardennes—which is scientifically proven to restore balance to skin. The treatment’s ultimate soothing effect, however, comes from the use of cooled porcelain spoons, which the aesthetician gently sweeps over the face in strategic circular motions. Guests can also add on an eye treatment to further benefit from the magic spoons.
Triad Medical Facial at the New York Dermatology Group (price available upon consultation)
If you’re in the market for an advanced medical spa experience, look no further than this Fifth Avenue practice, founded by renowned dermatologist Dr. David Colbert. Colbert gets Hollywood starlets red carpet ready with this high-tech treatment, which combines microdermabrasion, laser toning, and (gentle) chemical peeling to stimulate collagen production and rejuvenate cells. If that sounds complex or scary, fear not: Colbert’s trained aestheticians will walk you through the three-step process, which completely rids skin of old, dry skin cells, and restores texture, clarity, and softness. The result? Glowing skin that will have you shunning makeup for a minimum of three weeks!
Deep Sleep Wellness Massage at Ling New York ($195)
Celebrity facialist Ling Chan emigrated from Hong Kong at the ripe age of 21, and has since built a holistic skincare empire that includes two flagship spas in New York and an extensive line of products. And with a client list that features such names as Naomi Campbell, Mariah Carey, and Madonna, it’s no surprise that Chan conducts her business with acute attention to detail—the skin maven frequently returns to China, where she trains new staff and further develops technologies and treatments. Her latest, the Deep Sleep Wellness Massage, incorporates the use of an energy lift machine, an exclusive heat device embedded with Tourmaline, the highest-energy producing crystal in the world. During the treatment, the aesthetician walks you through mind-body-balancing breathing techniques (an ultra-calming experience), and then uses the machine to localize heat therapy down the spinal cord, intended to relax the automatic nerve system. After that, it’s 35 minutes of pure full-body massage bliss, followed by a reapplication of the energy lift machine to your back, legs, and stomach. The sensation of the heat, combined with the manual release of pressure, not to mention the authentic setting (Ling’s Union Square location features a treatment room with antique Chinese doors imported from Hong Kong), is truly conducive to sleep.
ESPA Lifestage Facial at the Peninsula New York ($360)
ESPA’s founder, Sue Harmsworth, specifically launched this facial for women of 40 years or more to help minimize wrinkles and reduce pigmentation issues. Lifting massage techniques, along with a smoothing mask filled with seaweed extracts, argan oil, and menthol, both firms and plumps up the skin, leaving you radiant for days. A quick note: Harmsworth cautions against women in their 20s and 30s booking this facial as an anti-aging preventative measure, because the rich formula may cause breakouts.
European Facial with Charcoal Mask at Mario Badescu ($105)
Simple, gentle, effective: that’s the mantra behind Mario Badescu, a leader in the skincare industry for more than 45 years. The brand’s hallmark 75-minute European facial now has another stellar add-on—the detoxifying charcoal mask. After a gentle massage and thorough cleansing with extractions, the paste-like (aroma-free) mask is painted onto the face, where it’s left to dry for approximately 10 minutes. When the aesthetician peels it off (in one fell swoop), skin is glowing—rid of any excess oil or impurities. And in signature Mario Badescu style, clients leave the spa with retail-sized samples to maintain their radiant look.