The Best View of NYC Is at This New European-style Spa on Governors Island
Europe has a long history of bathing traditions that dates back to Roman times. While in the U.S., going to the spa is considered a luxury, in many parts of the world, it's a regular affair. Families and friends will head to a spa to enjoy the public facilities, which might include pools, hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, and other water features. Having a massage or a facial is not always part of the experience, but can be a luxurious add-on. After opening a slew of successful spas in Europe, QC Terme Spas and Resorts has brought this approach stateside — to New York City.
QC NY is located on Governors Island in three restored landmark buildings, originally army barracks, that surround a stunning outdoor pool and lawn. The pool has enviable views of Lower Manhattan, including the Freedom Tower, and is sure to be one of the hottest spots this summer. (At the time of publication, the pool was not yet open and a date had not been announced.)
On a recent visit, we were impressed by the sprawling facilities and the European approach to a spa day. After checking in, you'll head to the locker room and change into your swimsuit, bathrobe, and flip flops, then head out into the wellness path. The co-ed wellness path winds its way through the landmarked building, with different experiences along the way. In total, there are over 20 rooms to choose from, and you can go at your own pace. You might stop to meditate next to a fireplace in a rocking chair, pop into one of the many themed saunas, lay on an infrared bed to fight inflammation, or relax in an upside-down room and marvel at the chessboard that is stuck to the ceiling. Downstairs, you'll find the water areas, which include steam baths, Vichy showers, and foot baths. After, head out to the pool area to soak up the sun in a lounge chair and take the requisite Instagram photos.
The spa has a convivial atmosphere, with groups of friends and couples chatting as they enjoy a day "taking the waters," so don't expect an ultra-serene, quiet spa experience.
The spa's home, Governors Island, is a 172-acre island just off the southern tip of Manhattan. (Seriously, it's only 800 yards away.) Ferries run multiple times an hour, and the cost is included in the price of admission to the spa. You can choose to visit just for the spa amenities or book a massage treatment. Guests are welcome to stay all day and enjoy the facilities, perhaps indulging in a delicious Italian lunch from the bistro. If you've booked a massage, we recommend arriving two hours in advance so you can fully enjoy the spa facilities and have time to shower before your massage. The massages come in 25-, 50-, or 75-minute treatments and can be slightly customized.
Learn more and book your Governors Island spa day here.