A Massage and Facial at Thai Privilege Spa in New York
Susie Ellis, SpaFinder Insider
It was my privilege to be invited to a spa located in the Soho area of Manhattan called Thai Privilege. I noticed it on several “top 10” lists. Since Manhattan has many hundreds of spas, making a top 10 list is a pretty big deal. (Remember there are more spas in the U.S. then there are Starbucks in the world!)
It was Friday night and I arrived after a very long and somewhat tiring week to experience a four-handed body massage and a facial. The spa was on the second floor of a building – not all that easy to find. (Now I was even more impressed that they were popular because clearly they wouldn’t get much walk in business.) The ambiance and décor was Thai. There was ginger tea and a cool face towel waiting. What followed was foot washing, a nicely synchronized massage with two very well trained therapists, and a facial with Eminence products given by an aesthetician who knew what she was doing.
Here is what I noticed as stand-out features:
The foot bath was an actual sink with plumbing rather than a bowl which seems more hygienic to me.
Massage beds were fantastic – from Thailand – very wide, firm thick mat – no face cradle needed since there is a hole worked right into the table (see photo). For men this table must be especially comfortable. Underneath the table, below the face hole, was a lovely flower – I didn’t have to look at a floor with dust balls or see therapist’s shoes (often dirty).
Before the massage, I was given an attractive small wooden box for my jewelry. The box had a lid. Loved that! It adds an element of safety. It wouldn’t be as easy for someone to snatch my jewelry if I end up snoozing during a treatment. (I never leave my jewelry in a locker because I consider them unsafe. There are too many people who have access to the “master key” or “master combination.”)
After my service I was escorted to a large lounge chair in a kind of relaxation hallway. After more ginger tea and a few moments of relaxation one of the lovely Thai girls handed me a small leather folder with a pen – just like what I would receive at a restaurant when they present the bill. Indeed, that’s what it was – and included were three of those small manila tip envelops each labeled with the name of my therapist and my name. I kind of chuckled because I immediately realized what a good idea this was. It totally took care of the often awkward moment at the front desk when you aren’t sure what to do about tipping. An “assumptive close” perhaps, but effective!
It seems that Thai Privilege was started in Bangkok by Mrs. Surangrat Chirathivat, a nurse. There are now a half dozen locations including Bangkok, Phuket, Shanghai, New York and several places in the Middle East with franchises available. The concept seems to include creating a totally Thai experience – every single thing in the spa is from Thailand -and the staff is all Thai. I would say it works. The Thai people are known for their charm, hospitality and respect so a treatment here did feel like what I have experienced in Thailand.
As I left, I wondered why the name of the spa included the word “privilege” which actually seemed a bit odd to me. Initially I thought it probably meant that I was going to get the privilege of a Thai massage. However now I suspect it is something a bit different. I felt it was more about the staff feeling privileged to provide their superior service and perform their art. Or, perhaps it is both.
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