Metamorphosis Day Spa Review on Spa Index

Let me say upfront: I’m not a spa aficionado — this was my fourth treatment at a day spa — and I am a very tough customer. I visited Metamorphosis Day Spa in New York City in November 2004 for a massage and facial to review the spa for Spa Index Guide to Spas.

Most importantly, about the treatments— the massage with Julia was the best I’ve had yet. The facial was good, but not great.

Now, the details. The spa is located in a posh part of Manhattan on 56 Street, between Park and Madison. Fauchon is half a block away, so for those who really want to a treat themselves afterwards, you can head over to the severely over-priced sweet shop, which I hear is actually not up to par with the shops in France.

Entering the spa is a bit confusing. The address is 127 56 Street. Like many spots in New York City, there is a store front with the same address. The entrance to Metamorphosis is to the left of the store front, and it’s on the fifth floor. You have to be buzzed in.

The spa itself is also typical of prime New York City real estate—a small, long rectangular space with little natural light. I prefer the more open airy atmosphere of spas in Brooklyn and California, but most city dwellers will probably not even notice the smallness of the space.

Service at the front desk was a little confused and harried. No one seemed to take the lead as to what I should do once I arrived. After I sat on a bench in the main area, someone eventually escorted me to a waiting area. The waiting area was small, but comfortable — complete with jelly beans, chocolate kisses, Swiss Miss cocoa and lemon water, for those who were interested.

After filling out a short history form, I was taken to a treatment room by Vera, the aesthetician, for my facial. There are no lockers to store clothes, so I just put my clothes to the side, and later Vera put them in a Terry cloth bag which was used to transport them with me.

The music in the background was acoustic guitar. The tape did stop a few times and I was able to hear the traffic and sirens outside.

Vera, a very pleasant woman, did a fine job. Still, I prefer a more “organic” approach rather than her clinical one. First, she applied a cleanser, then toner, and then a pumpkin exfoliant. “Special for Thanksgiving,” said Vera, originally from Bulgaria. She massaged my face. She also massaged my arms and hands for a bit and then applied some cream and put my hands in plastic gloves, which fit into larger sturdier plastic gloves. This “Clean as a Whistle” facial costs $80.

After the facial/arms/hands massage, Vera hydrated my skin with a bio peptide cream and applied a mask. She left the room for about ten minutes, and returned to remove the mask. I was ready for the next treatment.

Now about that massage … Wow! I can’t tell you exactly what Julia, my massage therapist did, but whatever it was, she did it right! She started with my back — which is where I said carry most of the stress — and gave it all the attention it needed, and then went for the extremities, rather than the other way around. She used “deep tissue” massage -– very popular among stressed-out New Yorkers — and Swedish massage techniques. She also used a gel rather than oil, which leaves your skin less “sticky” afterwards.

Would I go back? In a New York minute. But, I’d ask for Julia and just have the massage.

— Teri Goldberg, MSNBC Shopping Channel, November 11, 2004

November 11, 2004 |

2 thoughts on “Metamorphosis Day Spa Review on Spa Index

  1. B.E. says:

    You *are* a tough sell! These flaws like hearing traffic and such is going to happen in every single business in the city, unless you’re in a float chamber of some kind. I don’t let it detract, and it doesn’t sound like you did, either. I’ve used Vera for facials for months and after you establish a relationship and she “knows your skin” you’ll find yourself going back again and again. You’re right, best massage in the city, too.

    • Mary Ann M. says:

      You’re exactly on point. I never understand adding useless details like “the building is narrow” and “the traffic was honking” in NYC. It’s like saying “I went on boat ride and there was a lot of motion.” Ya think? That said it sounds like she liked the place, which is good because I think Vera and the rest of the team are great. Even when the odd horn honks now and again. Owner David keeps that place running like a champ.

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