Shibui Spa, The Greenwich Hotel

March 13, 2014
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Shibui, Japanese for “a subtle and unobtrusive approach” and the name of the spa at The Greenwich Hotel in New York City’s trendy TriBeCa, is indeed the most appropriate word to describe the various pieces that comprise Robert De Niro’s landmark space.

Connected to the famed Locanda Verde restaurant, The Greenwich Hotel took more than 10 years to complete, while they curated favourite materials and decorations — including a structure above the indoor pool, made from wooden pegs taken from a 250-year-old Japanese farmhouse that was disassembled in Japan and reassembled in New York. Surprisingly, the giant wooden hotel room doors, reminiscent of what you might find in a monastery, are some of the few new things made specifically for the hotel.

Described as an 88-room “home,” the hotel welcomes its guests to a number of guest-only communal spaces, including a reading room, bar and European-style outdoor courtyard that sits beneath latticed vines, where guests have access to the full Locanda Verde menu.

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A result of collaboration between the hotel owners and Japanese designer Mikio Shinagawa, Shibui Spa is an ode to nature. Consisting of four treatment rooms and one relaxation room, the spa is rich with dark wood and stone, but minimalist in its décor.

Guests are welcome to relax in lounge chairs by the pool with Voss water, fresh fruit and dates right at their fingertips while they wait for their treatment. The silence and serenity within the spa make visitors to the city and New Yorkers alike forget that they are in a bustling city, and full relaxation comes naturally.

The Drunken Lotus, Shibui’s signature massage, combines cucumber seeds to refresh, tighten and soften the skin; jojoba oil, rich in vitamin E and natural antioxidants, to moisturize it; sake-soaked hot towels to increase circulation and eliminate toxins; and the soothing scent of white lotus to quiet the mind.

Guests have the opportunity to spend 60 or 90 minutes on the massage table, and they can request a deeper level of kneading for exceptionally tight and sore muscles. According to Shibui, the Drunken Lotus is ideal for jet lag, dehydration or after a night of over-indulging.

Whether you’ve flown into New York City for a weekend of excess or you’re a city-local looking to escape the hustle and bustle, Shibui is a true escape from the city’s noise and stressful tendencies …  if only for a few hours.


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By Nadia Mostafa
Photography by Lena Xiao and Herbert YPMA

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