Okeanos - New York City
There aren’t many places in the city where you take a long steam in a banya, followed by a Platza (birch-leaf stroking) session, then down a couple shots of Zyr vodka while eating Petrossian smoked salmon and caviar. This alone is reason enough to go to Okeanos. It’s coed, but Okeanos is modeled after the traditional all-male Russian bathhouses where politicians and businessmen schmoozed while sweating, so it’s particularly man-friendly. Given its midtown location, this could be the new deal-making hot spot. An exfoliating scrub with Black Sea salts; a massage incorporating Siberian ginseng; a wrap using caviar—Okeanos honors its Russian heritage with decided extravagance. Sure you'll find bracing, traditional treatments like a platza, an in-sauna service during which an attendant swats you with a bundle of wet, stubby oak leaves then douses you with ice-cold water—then repeats—but ultimately, this destination spa is the Cadillac of stateside banyas: Tiled reliefs of waves grace the walls; porthole light fixtures and sconces with shades resembling abstracted sails cast a nightclub glow. Further distancing itself from typical spa experiences, the in-house bar serves Zyr vodka and Heidsieck Monopole Champagne with certain spa-packages, and a small, glass-encased chamber (featuring an antiqued globe and a ready chessboard table) can be used for cigar smoking during parties. The services, like the decor, have a masculine slant: The Russian Sports Massage favors deep muscle/tissue work and Shiatsu-like stretches, barbers cut hair, and nails are buffed, never polished. As the first American spa outside of the JFK terminal to offer Molton Brown spa services, Okeanos might betray its cultural bias, but devotees of the cult-inspiring British skincare brand are unlikely to complain in any language.