Locations don’t get much more central, or names much more iconic. The mammoth, 10-story Saks flagship takes up an entire block across from Rockefeller Center and next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Rest assured, the mind-boggling selection—and, come Christmastime, the whimsical window displays—make shopping at Saks a religious experience for clothing addicts.
Not quite as buttoned-up as Bergdorf but just as appealing to the moneyed set, Barneys also attracts its fare share of iconoclastic tastemakers who journey above 14th Street to shop here. The unisex shoe department is a recent arrival that has kept Barney on the bleeding edge without losing its loyal old-timers.
Virtually synonymous with an upper class of New York woman accustomed to breathing rarefied air (see: the novel Bergdorf Blondes and a host of cultural references), Bergdorf was founded in 1899 and has called its imposing 5th Avenue store home since 1928. Inside, past the famous windows, ogle the stunning duds of a host of elite designers, from Armani Collezioni to Lanvin to Zac Posen.
This sanctuary’s rigorously minimalist and contemporary décor is the perfect visual complement to the deep cleaning and kneading you’ll experience here. Speaking of rigorous, the profoundly intense Thai Ceremony Massage here will bring you into very close contact with your masseuse, and have you walking out the door to midtown a newly lithe person.
A transporting combination of posh and pastoral, at The Peninsula Spa, gold- and white-striped tiles set the mood alongside a tea lounge sculpted from acacia trees and woodsy sculptures. Repairing facials, hot-stone massages and raw-ginger foot scrubs are all executed with an obsessively personalized. And the pool is available to any client who books at least a two-hour session.
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental does not want its clients to forget that they’re in one of the busiest cities in the world. Instead it emphasizes the beauty of New York with spectacular, open views onto Central Park and the Hudson River. The Spa offers a wide variety of unique services, such as chakra balancing and acupressure. For guests who cannot decide which facials or massages are best for them, the spa affords consultations with a therapist to determine the perfect combination of treatments.