The car-less streets with gorgeous tree canopies and wide-open fields overlooking the NYC skyline on Governors Island have made the island an oasis for New Yorkers. But these days, it’s no longer just a sleepy former military outpost in New York Harbor, it’s become a true destination for New Yorkers looking for some peace and quiet.
On March 4, the luxurious Italian wellness spa QC NY (by QC Terme Spas and Resorts) will open to the public, bringing the elegance and rejuvenation of a European spa to Governors Island, but with New York City flavor.
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It’s immediately clear when you enter the spa that it was made to feel like home. From its cozy reception area decorated with custom-made furniture from Italy to its welcoming relaxation spaces with plush leather chairs and massive pillows you can sprawl out on, it feels like you’re staying at a retreat with New York Harbor views. Since it’s on the edge of the island, a short walk from Soissons Landing, looking out the windows offers gorgeous blue water views and glimpses of the city skyline. Because of its layout, the spa feels secluded from the rest of the island.
When you check in, you’re given everything you’ll need—a bag containing flip flops, a towel, a robe and a key for your locker—and a chance to sign up for a 25-, 50-, or 75-minute massage ($100-$250). Then, you are set free to roam the spa, which is full of relaxation rooms (each with its own meticulously curated personality, scent, and music), themed saunas, Vichy showers, infrared beds, foot baths, hydro jets, steam baths and other amazingly lush experiences.
Relaxation rooms include one that has been designed to look upside down. When you walk in, it’s like you’re walking on the ceiling—furniture and even a chess board have been painted and affixed to the actual ceiling to create this illusion. Another room, the “Jukebox Club,” decorated with a gramophone and comfy leather chairs, plays music from New York artists from the early 20th century. The cocoon room features several suspended egg-like chairs and the “Alchemist Room” offers up four scents from the spa’s fragrance line, Aria, to sample and write down memories that come up for you. The “Fireplace Room,” of course, has a fireplace but also several beautiful rocking chairs and a library aesthetic. Because relaxation looks different to everyone, QC NY wanted to offer different ways of chilling out, according to reps.
Its saunas also offer varying levels of rejuvenation—the “Mountain Stube” is completely made of gorgeous-smelling pine that looks like you’ve stepped into a German cuckoo clock with built-in arches and cubby holes (and views of the pool and harbor); the “Park Sauna” features a Central Park theme with singing birds that looks directly onto the harbor; and “Sauna and the City” has a direct view of the skyline, which is mimicked in the fun wooden motif on the sauna’s walls.
The spa’s steam saunas are located on the lowest “acqua” level along with its other water-based rooms—the “Botanic Sauna,” which is infused with rosemary, the “Scottish Room” steam bath with soothing balsamic aromas and the “One Thousand and One Nights” steam bath. There’s also a “Hydro District” with hydro jets, foot baths and the surprisingly wonderful Vichy showers.
Of course, the pièce de résistance is QC NY’s outdoor heated pools that overlook the harbor and Downtown Manhattan. Here, you’ll be able to relax on benches within the water or lay on cabanas poolside. The pools will open later when it begins to warm up.
With all of these amenities, it could feel a bit overwhelming, but QC NY has been designed with NYC in mind. QC NY is built within a former military barracks/family housing from 1934 and keeps the original character (and even its original floors), so visitors are able to relax inside a historic NYC building. Every room has a nod to the city, from its jazzy playlist in the changing rooms to the old New York feel in its relaxation rooms and more.
“Within QC Spas, every detail is purposeful. When we are looking for locations to build our wellness escapes, we focus not just on buildings with a rich history (8/10 of our properties are built within an old, historical building like the Army Barracks on Governors Island), but also the surrounding area that makes up one of the most crucial pieces of our experience, the existing landscape and views,” says CEO Janine Di Gioacchino. “To pay homage to the cities where our centers are located, we like to add touches and nods throughout the spa. At QCNY, you will find many experiences, design elements, and even smells that are in honor of the great city we have dreamed of bringing QC Spas to NYC.”
QC NY on Governors Island opens March 4 and will be open daily, Sunday–Thursday 10am–10pm and Friday–Saturday 10am-11pm. Half-day passes are $88 ($100 on weekends) and full-day passes are $110 ($128 on weekends), which includes access to the entire spa, all amenities for the whole day and a roundtrip ferry ticket. You can get passes right here.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.