The La Prairie spa at the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South offers one of the most luxurious treatments in the entire city: a $1,000 White Caviar Facial. We were offered one on the house, so we sent Racked beauty correspondent Lilit Marcus to test it out. Welcome to Whale Week.
No matter how luxe a spa treatment is—and, trust me, this one's pretty freaking luxe—a big component of the glam experience is the spa itself. Considering that the La Prairie spa is located in the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South, and that you need a special key to get up to the floor, you feel like a celebrity before you've even put on your robe and slippers.
Right away, I noticed two major things that made the La Prairie spa different. The water and herbal tea were there, but there was one major thing missing: magazines. Unlike other spas, La Prairie doesn't want you reading about celebrity breakups. Instead, there are art books and a big tome about world history.
There is one cool addition, though: a list of fifty different music channels, which you can choose from at the start of your facial. The usual spa favorites like Enya and smooth jazz are represented, but there's also an all-John Mayer channel. (I would strongly advise against choosing this one.)
And, oh yeah—there was also a caviar facial. Every component of it was luxe and relaxing, such as the heated bed (perfect, since it was about 20 degrees outside), a knee bolster, a gentle steam machine, and a mask that was painted onto your face with a brush. There were also hand, foot, and scalp massages, which made "facial" sort of a misnomer. The estheticians are equally happy to give you the run-through of every product as they use it, or to leave you alone and let you Zen out.
It's not only the caviar that makes the products so pricey—one of them, the facial scrub, even contains crushed-up diamonds. It may not seem much different than a normal scrub, but you can't help but feel glamorous knowing what's on your face.
So, was it worth it? I have a hard time justifying anything costing a thousand dollars, so it's tough to make the call.
La Prairie's entire line of white caviar products are online if you want to try and replicate the experience at home. The whole set (including a hand cream, face serum, and spot treatment) will set you back $1,855, though you'll certainly get more than one use out of them. If you want to spend a grand and really make it count, the best strategy is to arrive super early for your appointment and take advantage of the La Prairie Spa's other amenities: the steam room, the testers of other La Prairie products, and an ongoing supply of champagne.
The ultra-private location also means you won't get that rushed feeling after your treatment; you're encouraged to stay and detox a little more before returning to the real world. If you think of the thousand bucks as the fee for all-day access to a super lush spa and not as a single beauty treatment, you can almost justify the price tag. And when your skin looks so amazing that you don't wear makeup for the rest of the week, that helps too.
· La Prairie at the Ritz-Carlton [Official Site]
· All Whale Week coverage [Racked NY]