Last week, we learned that the Trump Organization bowed out of their licensing deal at the Trump SoHo: the 46-story, $450 million glittering hotel condominium on Manhattan’s west side. The announcement came after a number of foretelling events, if you were paying close attention. The New York Times reported that nightly rates had dropped to keep rooms filled, condos had not been selling as well, and the building’s restaurant closed just this past April.
There is also, by the way, a spa. Now, I voted for Hillary, but I needed a facial (chin acne, see). Plus, admit it, aren’t you a little curious about the Trump SoHo Spa? No? Not at all? Well, we were.
There are a few things I encountered while booking treatments at the Trump SoHo Spa: 1) I hit a moral crossroads. A Turkish bath in one direction (nice!) and a possibly morally compromised presidential administration on the other (not as nice!). 2) If you can get past 1, you have to move quickly and keep your head down, because nowadays — at least in New York City — people, let’s call them demonstrators, will notice who’s walking in.
The Spa at the Trump SoHo is exactly what you would expect. Which is to say: It’s gold. The walls are papered in a kind of muted, antiqued gold foil. The mirrors are ornately framed
— in gold. Anyway, there’s a lot of gold.
The Spa at Trump SoHo opened in 2010, under Ivanka’s long-lashed watch. After spending time in Istanbul completing the Trump Towers project, she came back, presumably inspired to open her own slice of the Middle East in lower Manhattan. The spa’s pièce de résistance is a re-creation of a luxurious Turkish hammam that Ivanka visited overseas. According to the menu, I was in for something “rejuvenating” and “traditional.” I could use a pre-winter scrub, I thought to myself. Bathing is beneath me — I should have people for this.
The elevator doors dinged open on the seventh floor of the Trump SoHo. The 11,000-square-foot spa was uncomfortably quiet and empty for a late afternoon. The woman at the front desk seemed really happy to see me. Have I never had a Turkish bath before? That’s so exciting! It’s the only authentic hammam in the city! It’s amazing! It’s like having my own pied-à-terre in Marrakech! Or something.
You can’t set foot inside this place without being tempted into the Turkish hammam. The whole spa is Middle East–inspired — painstaking mosaic designs on the walls, a gold Calacatta marble fountain, and woven mesh chandeliers. Within minutes I was convinced I could speak Arabic. Maybe you know what a Turkish hammam is. Sadly, I did not. All I knew is that it was a “ritual” (according to the menu) involving exfoliation and really expensive marble. And Ivanka loves it.
A small, quiet Ecuadorian woman had me change into a paper thong and paper bra and lie on a warm marble table. Not warm, hot. Sorry, not hot, insanely hot. The aesthetician poured this insanely hot water up and down my body. Followed by ice cold water. Then she did some move that involved what I think was a bar of soap in a pillowcase, which she shook around my freezing but also steaming-hot body, and the next thing I knew, I was covered in bubbles. Then buckets of water again. By now, I was fairly confident I had burns on my back. She scrubbed away what must have been the first three layers of skin — and don’t we have only, like, four?! The grand finale was: dumping a bowl of ice-cold water over my head. It was like the ice-bucket challenge without the charitable component.
I was led into the relaxation room to await my next treatment. I asked the staff whether any of the Trump family ever comes here. Yes, in fact they do! But then I’m gently ushered to other topics of conversation. Would I like some tea?
The next move was the “Ivanka’s Choice” facial, which I had high hopes for. After all, she looks barely 36 and has like, 10 kids and has written books and owns hotels all over the world — or something like that. Surely this would cure me of my acne and leave me glowing and refreshed and dewy enough to be granted top-level security clearance.
My facialist, too, did not seem to want to talk about Ivanka — but she did want to talk about skin care, which is an easy way to win me over. We chatted about products; she gave her recommendations without pushing any merchandise, walked me through every step, and cleaned my clogged pores. While letting a mask penetrate my angsty skin, she even shaped my eyebrows (this I did not want — I like my eyebrows, more than Ivanka’s, in fact — but it felt impolite to make her stop). In the end and $541 later, my skin was dewy, my brows were too thin, and I was pretty certain there were burn marks on my back.
Read up on more interesting spa experiences below:
- What It’s Like to Get Pampered Like an A-List Celebrity for a Week
- The Dope on Denver’s Cannabis Spa Scene
- Your First Look at New York City’s Coolest New Hair Salon
Get a look at what it’s like to go to the Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland: