I have loved hotels for as long as I can remember.  As a child, I thought it was revolutionary that I got to stay in rooms that had a stocked refrigerators filled with all the treats I wanted (albeit a minibar–at the time this seemed almost space-age), and the ability to pick up the phone and get things sent to the room at any time–and if there was a pool at the hotel, then that was simply the icing on the cake.  I remember staying at a ski resort when I was about twelve that had an indoor/outdoor pool with a wall that one could swim under, to go from hot to cold–I loved it and thought this was simply the coolest hotel ever.  After hours of back and forth…cold to hot…hot to cold…I was told the “Spa” was closing shortly.  Spa?  I was at a spa?  I then asked the attendant what else the “Spa” had.  There was the obvious, steam and sauna, but they also had a cold plunge, an apres ski lounge and a light therapy room.  The only light therapy I had known of was something about photosynthesis from science class about plants and had no idea I could have light therapy too!  So, here at the age of twelve is where I can trace my first steps into a fondness for spa life!

The next day I skied from dawn until dusk and then raced down to the “Spa,” directly from the slopes.  I didn’t want to miss a minute of neither skiing nor spa time. With my legs burning from skiing, I was now prepared to get in all the benefits before the facility closed for the night.  I limited my indoor/outdoor swim to a mere hour so I could take in the steam and sauna and light therapy room.   Mind you I was only twelve and every posting on the walls noted that no one under 18 should use the facility without supervision; however, I’ve been  6 feet tall since I was twelve, so I guess the staff thought I was older–fine by me!

Now we must fast forward,  more years than I care to admit, and here I am as an adult with the same love of spas and I am off to The Setai Fifth Avenue!

I spent the afternoon at the Auriga Spa at The Setai Fifth Avenue, New York–sublime! Auriga is not only my new favorite spa in NYC, but may possibly be my favorite in the United States.  The facility is over 11,000 square feet and can easily keep you busy–just relaxing for hours. The spa is divided into men’s and women’s sanctuaries for changing, showering, relaxing etc (each with privacy as well as a private steam and sauna).  Then there is a communal area for both men and women with the most incredible Turkish Hammam (which rivals any I have visited in Istanbul) with charcoal and black iridescent mosaics tiles on the floor, walls and ceiling and massive white marble slabs to lay on under a ceiling of tiny twinkling lights cleverly hidden within the tile work to create the most incredible light therapy I have experienced.  In this dimly lit hammam, the ceiling becomes a night sky and lying directly under it is like watching a massive sky filled with shimmering stars.  It is quite a special and unique experience.  This light therapy is very much intentional and ties into Auriga’s celestial theme.

The staff takes a holistic approach to wellness, ensuring your body, mind and spirit are carefully nourished.  “We invite you to travel…transform…transcend. Come tap into the celestial rhythm,” is their mantra.

Auriga’s body therapies are based on the varying energies of the lunar cycle and are meant to not only create an experience ideal for a desired outcome, but to also tap into the phases of the moon and how they relate to our body’s rhythm.   Allow enough time to experience all the spa has to offer.  Along with the Turkish Hammam is the center of the spa, a spa vitality pool for hydrotherapy and relaxation. Also, there is the most incredible ice room.  This room is covered from floor to ceiling in green glass tiles with a sink in the center of the room filled with ice and fresh rosemary sprigs.  There are several impressive individual showers with lights, music and water jets coming from all angles–very cool.  Just beyond the hammam is a lounge area for napping and snacking–there is a spread of fresh fruit, delicious snacks, various drinks and a collection of teas. There is even a tea sommelier upon request.  Lastly, the fitness center is modern and fully stocked and the Julian Farel Salon is conveniently located adjacent to the Spa.

The Leaders Club introduced a new benefit last year called “hometown benefits.”  Members in over twenty cities now have on-property hotel perks, without even needing a room reservation.  For example, Leaders Club members in New York receive 30% off spa treatments at Auriga, as well as a 30% discount off hair and make-up services at Julien Farel at the Setai Fifth Avenue!

Auriga truly is a very special place and I’m looking forward to reserving my next spa treatment very soon!

Rachel Roy, designer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and mother, designs to inspire women to feel smart, confident and individual.

Originally from California, Rachel attended college in Washington DC. Upon graduation, Rachel pursued her passion for design, and moved to New York City to work freelance; styling magazine shoots and music videos.

In Fall 2004, she applied her sophisticated aesthetic to her own collection, RACHEL ROY, which debuted in department and specialty stores for Spring 2005. With striking silhouettes, a sophisticated color palette and inventive pairings which transition from day to evening, Roy has garnered editorial acclaim in publications such as Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, W and Vanity Fair.

Presently, RACHEL ROY NEW YORK has grown to include four full collections each year, and in June 2008, created a joint venture with Jones Apparel Group Inc. in the hopes of expanding the wholesale business globally, introduce new product categories and open stand-alone stores in the United States and abroad. To date, the RACHEL ROY collections are available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and top specialty stores worldwide.