A relaxing escape from NYC: the new QC NY Spa

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Healing water, Aperol Spritz, illy coffee… from Italy Dolce Vita arrives in New York City via Governors Island and we can’t wait to slow down and tell you about it.

Located on the edge of Governors Island, overlooking the downtown Financial District skyline, QC NY is a rarity in NYC: European bathhouse charm in a city in dire need of relaxation.

Not far removed from the style of other NYC day spa destinations, including AIRE Ancient Baths in TriBeCa and SoJo Spa Club in New Jersey, QC NY sets itself apart with its playful approach to relaxation. Add in the panoramic city views and the spa’s relatively easy access, and you’re in for a great day of relaxation just far enough away from the city noise.

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Ferry arrival at Governors Island, New York City © Zachary Laks

Your short break begins with a ferry ride

Governors Island is only accessible by ferry. Fast ferries operate seasonally every half hour from South Street Seaport and two Brooklyn ports and require one Pre-reservation online before boarding. The ferry is $4 with free rides on Saturdays and Sundays before noon.

As soon as you step onto the ferry you immediately feel disconnected from the energy of the city – is there anything more relaxing than being on a boat? From the ferry, the QC NY Spa is about a five-minute walk away.

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The Pool Courtyard at QC NY Spa, Governors Island, NYC
The expansive courtyard and pool at the QC NY Spa © Zachary Laks

A new spa facility with rustic charm

QC NY, which converted a former military complex into a grand recreation destination, opened last March as the company’s first operation in the United States. QC Terme Spas and Resorts has been in Italy since the early 80’s and has since expanded to 9 resorts across Europe.

The spa complex has a rustic, industrial feel, with charming turn-of-the-century portraits and whimsical furnishings. The building is a bit like a maze and it takes a while to get your bearings. The helpful reception staff are there to guide you and ensure you don’t miss any of the property’s special features.

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You will receive the practical carrying bag upon your arrival at QC NY
Handy shopping bag provided upon arrival © Zachary Laks

The front desk staff is also gift bringers: a starter shopping bag contains a fluffy bathrobe, towel, flip-flops (check out the soles for cute QC stamps), and a swim bag; and when you check out, you’ll receive a complimentary sample sizing kit of the skincare products used at the spa.

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The main courtyard and pool at QC NY
The main courtyard and pool at QC NY © Zachary Laks

The most beautiful bath in the area: the beautiful pools of the spa

The main attraction of the spa is the incredible outdoor pools. Although the pools were not operating at the time of our visit (they were due for clearance by the city to open soon), we were still able to get a sense of just how special these pools will be. The variety of spa jets and waterfalls go well with the view of the downtown New York skyline.

QC NY is a year-round destination that’s open daily and offers all-weather access to the pools, no matter how cold it gets. To prepare for the challenging New York winters, heated outdoor walkways will melt snow and keep feet warm, while heated robe stations help soothe the chills.

There are plenty of day beds for lounging and sunbathing, as well as comfy lawn chairs perfect for taking in the sights of New York Harbor.

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In a sauna at QC NY
A look inside one of QC NY’s saunas © Zachary Laks

The spa’s best wellness features: the many ways to get comfortable

Part relaxation, part endurance, QC NY’s steam rooms and saunas have a playful wellness factor that encourages your own journey of discovery through the facility. The spa offers 20 wellness experiences to relax body and mind.

After spending four hours experiencing all 20 types of relaxation, here are some favorites.

The Scottish Room: The Scottish room is adorned with stylish tartan tiles that have an inspired feel. Scotland is one of the first countries to use steam baths for wellness, so it seems fitting that this balmy room is filled with balsamic aromas that help flush out toxins.

The wild and fun Upside Down at QC NY
This photo isn’t upside down – this is the wild upside down at QC NY © Zachary Laks

The Upside Down Relaxation Room: This room literally turns things on their head and brings wistful fun to your day of relaxation. Embrace the whimsical and let it inspire your creativity as you envision the world from a different angle.

The Vichy showers: Don’t miss the opportunity to try this unique bathing experience where you will shower horizontally. Lie on the marble slab, press the button and a steady stream of warm water will wash over you, lulling you into a deep state of relaxation.

The foot baths at the QC NY Spa
The foot baths at QC NY Spa © Zachary Laks

The foot baths: The DIY foot bath in the foot baths was fun and relaxing. Alternate between cold and hot water to oxygenate tissues and relieve tension.

The city sauna: The City Sauna is a rare sauna with a view. The wood paneling of the New York City skyline results in an excellent view of the city itself. It’s also rare to find a sauna that gets so much natural light.

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A massage room at QC NY
One of the couple’s massage rooms, QC NY © Zachary Laks

The massage treatments were the most relaxing thing we tried

We were lucky enough to try one of their unique massage treatments and we are very glad we did. After a few hours of self-directed relaxation, the massages were the perfect transition into utter bliss. Consider booking a massage later during your stay so you have a chance to relax a little and soak up the scene. After the fun of exploring each spa area, the massage was worth the opportunity to truly disconnect with an expert.

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The many touches of innovation and comfort

Some of the most popular extras found throughout the spa include racks for goggles outside each sauna and steam room, hoses in the steam rooms that help with a burst of cold water, and thoughtful signage outside each spa room that guides you through each room’s benefits. Each guest also gets their own chip card bracelet, which helps with paying in the café and spa shop.

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Lunch at Cafe QC NY
Take a lunch break at Cafe QC NY © Zachary Laks

get an appetite

Who doesn’t get hungry after soaking and swimming? The on-site cafe offers light, healthy fare like salads and sandwiches ($24 each) and less healthy, more celebratory cocktails like margaritas and mimosas ($18 each).

A few more details about your visit

The area: Governors Island is worth a day trip regardless of whether you are visiting QC NY. If you only do a 4-hour pass to the spa, plan to add a few hours to your stay. You will feel comfortable walking the island’s grounds and exploring the many beautiful natural spaces.

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Don’t forget to pack: Swimwear, sunscreen and a book to read are required in all spa areas as digital devices are discouraged throughout the facility. The spa promotes a “digital detox” for your visit.

The price: Prices start at $88 for a 4-hour all-access pass.

What’s coming: The full build out of the property is just beginning, with future plans for indoor plunge pools, even more spas, and a full-service restaurant.

A sauna overlooking the QC NY pool and courtyard
A sauna overlooking the pool and courtyard at QC NY © Zachary Laks

Bottom Line: Don’t miss the opportunity to relax for the day at QC NY

QC NY offers excellent value for a luxurious afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of New York. The facility impresses with its playful approach to relaxation and wellness, and we’re excited to see what comes next as the resort continues to expand its offerings.

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