Bliss-SohoWomens-LoungeA great way to relax with girlfriends is a spa vacation, but even if you are in New York City, you can visit day spas worthy of their own journey. Sadly, my favorite spa, with a rooftop lounge where you could savor a pedicure and a glass of bubbly outside, closed.  But in the interest of serious journalism, I enlisted a couple of friends to check out a few NYC spas.

And if you have a daughter, a spa is a great way to celebrate middle school graduation, getting into college, returning from junior year abroad. When my middle daughter went to prom this year, I invited 5 of her friends to get mani/pedis before the hair appointments. Since teens can’t text when their nails are wet, you can actually talk face to face.

A couple of my fave New York day spas include:

Amethyst Crystal Steam Room 2This luxury chain has locations in Hong Kong to Hoboken, and I’ve been to the branches in Fort Lauderdale, Chicago and San Francisco. But I remain loyal to Bliss49, in the W Hotel.

You definitely want to come early to your appointment, or stay late; the locker rooms have steam showers that you can use, even if you are just getting a pedicure. And if you go here alone, you can watch a movie with headphones and not even talk to anyone.

But go with a friend. You get a bottle of Bliss water and a fluffy robe when you arrive, and you can help yourself to free snacks. You can almost make a meal from the cheese, crackers, olives and brownies. Best of all, you don’t have to feel guilty; you can use the sleek fitness center at the hotel (and snag a free apple in the lobby).

I’m also partial to the Soho Bliss, the first Bliss spa.  If you need retail therapy after a massage, head here, then shop in Soho.

The Edamame Spa at Destination Maternity
This is ideal for new moms or expectant ones.  The spa offers special pregnancy and post-natal massages and facials, and the natural products are safe for mom and baby.

You can shop for baby products, maternity clothes or nursing bras after your spa treatment.

The Spa at Chelsea Piers
Oriental Tea Lounge with person 2Chelsea Piers is so far west that you may feel like you’re leaving the city. The complex has skating rinks, a bowling alley, a huge rock climbing wall, driving range, and the production studios for Law & Order.

While you can’t get a mani/pedi outside, you go get one with a view, overlooking the Hudson River.  And as along as you spend $75, you can get a free day pass to the fabulous health club, where you can swim, take a class, or lift weights. Bring a few girlfriends to field a sand volleyball team, or gossip on the sun deck.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental 
The Mandarin Oriental offers the height of indulgence. If you book a half or full day spa extravaganza, you can use the hotel’s pool and fitness center; anyone booking a treatment can also use the super-oxygenated Vitality Pool. All spa guests can hang out as long as they want in a plush robe in the relaxation lounge. There is complimentary tea, citrus infused water, fresh fruit and dried fruit and nuts.

For the ne plus ultra girlfriend getaway, the luxury hotel just introduced a Moët Champagne Slumber Party Package, which includes a night in a suite, champagne, mani/pedis, VIP shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue and ‘girls’ night in’ movies.

You can also plan an out-of-town girlfriend get-away, but for my money, give me Manhattan.