Exhale Spa is known for combining world-class spa services with exercise, so it has a different vibe than most spas. There are less reverent rubs with robes, and more people running around in tights on their way to yoga or Core Fusion, Exhale’s proprietary exercise class that combines core conditioning, yoga, Pilates, and stretching to produce long, lean muscles.
There are about two dozen Exhales in major US markets (as well as Bermuda and Turks & Caicos) and the main site in New York is Exhale Midtown. But the Exhale Upper East Side is the original Exhale, and it’s still quite large at 10,000 square feet, 15 treatment rooms, and three exercise studios.
This Exhale is located on Madison Avenue, between 76 and 77, in the most exclusive neighborhood in Manhattan, full of luxury stores, art galleries and restaurants. Head to the second floor and you will be greeted by helpful staff who will happily direct you to the changing room.
Although smaller than the downtown location, this site is diligent in keeping up with amenities and needs. The roomy robe was spacious and the living room cozy and well-appointed. Six comfortable green chairs had lots of pillows and the lighting was dimmed by attractive fake Chinese lanterns.
A sample of teas was offered as well as water, although the use of plastic and paper cups seemed disconcerting, given Exhale’s dedication to the environment. He was programmed for a Power Facial, which sounded threatening but was actually divine.
A sugar glitter facial
Caitlin Conn, the lead skin therapist, explained that the facial is “very results oriented and allows us to incorporate enhancements and use conditioning enzymes that do not irritate the skin.” What followed was the most heavenly facial I’ve ever experienced. The number of steps taken would make your head swim.
In addition to regular cleansing, skin analysis and steam, The Power Facial includes exfoliation with a powerful Japanese mushroom enzyme, use of Cool Beam light therapy to stimulate collagen, massage with exotic Kahina Argan. oil and a gel-based mask. My skin glowed for days afterward.
Exhale’s Glow Body Scrub will definitely leave you glowing. Combine dry brushing with a citrus sugar scrub and the application of a moisturizer that will leave your skin energized, supple and hydrated.
Dry brushing, which started at my ankles and continued upward, encourages detoxification through lymphatic drainage and increased circulation, according to Caitlin. Then I rubbed the hot citrus body scrub over my skin, exfoliating my skin even more.
Caitlin used a soothing application of Exhale’s White Tea Lotion that left my skin soft and smooth. And experiencing her agility when removing and repositioning the sheets was like watching a ballet. This treatment is highly recommended, and be sure to ask for Caitlin.
The Exhale hair removal experts
And if you need waxing, look no further than Hair Removal Director Di Medlock, who is in charge of waxing for all Exhale locations. She consulted me about my pitiful looking brows and gave me a quick and accurate assessment. She shares a warmth with her co-worker Caitlin. “We are just a couple of idiots who know too much about skincare and waxing,” he said with a smile.
After lightly cleaning some straight brow hairs, he recommended a prescription eyelash / brow growth medication, or Revitalash, a product developed by a doctor for his wife who had breast cancer. It is available from Exhale ($ 150 with portions of the proceeds going to breast cancer research). The next time I need to wax I know who to consult.
Exhale Upper East Side at a glance:
Spa type: day spa
Location: Exhale Upper East Side, 980 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10075. Phone: 212-249-3000.