Can you have a successful spa break in the city that never sleeps?

On a trip to New York, Mhairi Wilson swapped charging round sightseeing for a restorative stay at the Equinox Hotel.

In the run up to the end of last year, like everyone, my time was consumed with work, family and festive planning, which for some reason, I went unusually big on.

Throw in a bout of Covid, long recovery time, gargantuan levels of anxiety around picture perfect plans for hosting Christmas, getting work finished and you have the perfect mix for baking a disaster cake.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sprinkle on top of disaster cake, an immediate post new year 50th birthday (mine – which I’m in denial about, to the point that I won’t commit to anything other than a vague muttering about a trip to New York) and you have the beginnings of an existential melt.

Manhattan’s iconic skylineManhattan’s iconic skyline
Manhattan’s iconic skyline

Remember the scene in Friends where Ross repeats the phrase ‘I’m fine. Totally fine!’? Me – all of December, reacting to stress by piling more of it on my plate – ‘I’m fine!’, walking through a field of potential mental and physical health landmines.

With all of that over, I sat and thought about what I actually wanted this trip to New York to be, and what I needed the most.

Wellness. Sleep. Physical and mental strength, balance, an evening out of mind, body and soul, a smoothing of my jagged edges, rejuvenation, relaxation and restoration. In New York though? My experiences of NYC have been amazing but none of the above…

I reawakened my laptop after the Crimbo Limbo, typed in ‘best health and wellness hotel in New York’, and there it was; a shimmering skyscraper stretching towards a clear blue sky, the Equinox Hotel New York. Click.

‘Named one of the two hotels in the United States to be honoured in The World’s 50 Best Hotels.’ Click.

‘Escape to an urban oasis’. ‘Your best sleep here.’ ‘A haven in Hudson Yards.’ Click.

According to Forbes, ‘Equinox Hotels raises the bar, then runs laps around it for fun.’ The Wall Street Journal says it’s the ‘fittest hotel on earth.’ Immediately calls husband.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In my mind, I’m already there, emerging from my zen-den room feeling light, dreamy, stress free and floating down to their ‘Broken Coconut’ eatery (that irony is not lost on me…) for my Chia Seed Bowl and Turmeric Latte.

Centrally located in Hudson Yards, the newest neighbourhood in Manhattan, Equinox Hotel New York has 212 rooms and suites. On-site amenities include The Spa by Equinox Hotels, Electric Lemon ‘health-forward’ restaurant, bar and terrace, a private dining and events areas, and Equinox Hudson Yards fitness club.

In addition to the nutrition element, it’s really The Art + Science of Sleep by Equinox Hotels experience I’m here for. As someone who loves sleep, but doesn’t do it nearly enough, I’m intrigued as to how this ‘scientifically designed for your best night’s sleep’ experience works and actually, if it does.

With a touch of the ‘Dark. Quiet. Cool’ option on the in-room iPad, my room shuts down to the optimal sleep setting, functioning as a ‘sleep chamber’, blocking out both sound and light pollution.

The superking size bed is layered with temperature-regulating natural fibres and a duvet each. Your own individual sleep zone but with your other half merely at arm’s length away (‘Hiiii’…’Byeee’). And my goodness, the comfort of these sheets and duvets is like nothing I’ve experienced. Cosied up with my duvet wrapped around me, Coffee Super Latte in hand, gazing across the Manhattan skyline on a minus 10 snowy day, is a vibe.

The RoomBar is stocked with everything known to man to induce slumber and revive. Herbal teas, all manner of tinctures, wellness patches, high-performance eye masks, collagen face masks, superfoods, snacks to support natural melatonin production and all manner of revivers, restorers and relaxers.

I gesture to the spa menu with my patch covered wrists, vanilla matcha bar in hand, “Shall we book a drip? Cryotherapy? The face lift facial? CBD massage?” My husband is so on board with all of this in a ‘Let’s just do everything!’ way.

It’s not just the room, the products, the bed, the peace and quiet that builds this optimum vibe of total switch off and relaxation. Nutrition is a huge part of the experience. The in-room dining menu features bone broth, bedtime charcoal latte, Beauty Bowls, brain boosting smoothies, super grain bowls and a whole menu item devoted to comfort food where you’ll find burgers, cheese toasties, pizza and tacos.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We breakfast ‘in room’ on one of our five days here and are sent a deliciously healthy spread of avocado toast, chia bowls, smoothies and turmeric lattes. Peering upwards at the skyscrapers around me, I feel very LA in NYC.

We do of course leave our room. My husband suggests a spa day. I suggest two. I want to spread a lot of treatments over the days, while I’m in health and wellness nirvana.

The programme at The Spa by Equinox Hotels is the X Circuit, five circuits to achieve inner and outer body excellence – Beauty, Performance Healing, Temperature Therapy, Inner Body and Sleep. I fully embrace the circuit.

For my Beauty, I have the Equinox Customised Facial by Biologique Recherche, which leaves me, if I may say, looking five years younger than I did when I entered the room. I have the CBD Relief Massage and melt, in a good way. It’s beyond expectations.

For the Temperature circuit, I do the MLX i3Dome which is a new generation of touchless detox treatments designed to stimulate and detoxify the body, reduce stress, inflammation, muscle and joint pain and strengthen the immune system. It’s 30 minutes, it’s intense, but wonderful. I felt completely evened out, relaxed but energised. It was so good I did it twice during my stay. I also did cryotherapy twice, which is addictively effective – three minutes in a -150 degrees chamber which helps increase blood circulation, reduce inflammation and promote improved sleep quality through the release of the hormone, cortisol.

We stayed at the Equinox Hotel New York for five days and although we spent most of our time there (you’ll want to – the hotel is the experience), we organised some very cool bits and bobs around it.

Visit Dante in Greenwich Village, a regular listing in the World’s 50 Best Bars which I always visit when I’m in NYC. The laid-back Italian aperitivo bar is famous for its negronis. I go for the Negroni Sbagliato which uses fizz instead of gin and gold flakes – it is my golden year after all. Book a table at Overstory downtown. Expect a cosy, relaxed, vibe-y ambience in 1930s Art Deco plush, elegant surroundings, warm hospitality with attention to detail and spectacular elevations on cocktail classics.

Head to La Grande Boucherie, a Parisian, Art Nouveau-style square in Midtown and one of the most authentic French dining destinations in Manhattan for a classic NYC Sunday brunch of champagne, oysters, steak frites and if it’s your birthday, profiteroles with a candle.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When I’ve visited New York previously, the hotels have always been great, but more a means to an end, the end being of course, exploring, pounding the streets and enjoying what New York has to offer. I wanted a trip that would give me ‘brand newness’; an experience that would leave me feeling restored, revived, stimulated and inspired to return to my world being my best self, feeling 100 per cent with a new lease of life. And I did.

A week later, back home, I have my own ‘RoomBar’ drawers and cupboards full of magic potions, remedies, nutrients, supplements, masks, patches and powders, with a whole new approach to my health, wellbeing, nutrition and of course, sleep. I feel better than I’ve ever done.

I don’t know whether I’ve become more ‘LA’ or ‘New York’ or just ‘50’. What I do know is, I’m definitely no longer a broken coconut.

The average room rate at the Equinox Hotel New York is $895 a night,

Related topics: