I can't pretend to know how Claudia Schiffer arrives at the Bamford Haybarn Spa, located in the basement of the 1 Hotel in Dumbo. But I'd guess it's not the same way I did: hurtled underwater via the F train and blown by a freezing wind the rest of the way. But after the model recommended the whole line of the spa's products in her The Face, myself and fellow ITG team member Emily Ferber knew it had to be a must-visit. So I went one weekday evening in April after a long day of work and a midday haircut disaster to a massage appointment that could not have come at a better time.
Stepping off the elevator into the Haybarn Spa is like sitting in a restaurant when they dim the lights for dinner service. Once your eyes have adjusted, you'll see that everything around you is candlelit, cream and brown, and there is not a straw of hay in sight. Coming from the streets of New York means your ears will probably have to adjust to the peace and quiet too, but by the time you've slipped into your white cotton robe and sandals you'll be feeling like you could get used to what that sounds like.
Past the steam rooms and showers and through a set of barn doors you'll find an array of the kinds of snacks I actually do imagine Claudia Schiffer keeps on her kitchen counter. Nuts, dried and fresh fruit, hot tea, and water stocked with various fruits for flavor. In my case, after reclining on a cream-colored sofa and sipping hot herbal tea for enough time to forget my previous life, my therapist—a dark-haired, elegant, woman—met me there to introduce herself. Then it was time.
The session began with a foot bath, performed by hand using some kind of physical scrub and hot water, and it was lovely. I was then instructed to choose the scent of the oil my therapist would be using for the massage and I blindly went with what turned out to be the one that was "perfect for spring." Lavender and something else I can't recall.
The actual massage began with a Shiatsu technique to warm up the muscles, and then went through slower, more deliberate motions to find where I was tense. I was apparently holding most of my stress (of which I have plenty) in the left, lower part of my back. She honed in on that area until everything felt like it had melted away. Next thing I knew I was being woken up because the session had ended.
I might have lounged there all night had the steam room been open. But alas, it was not. And as it turns out spas do have closing hours. So I went home instead. I slept like an absolute baby. No stress.
Photographed by the author.