By Gretchen Kelly

From its candy-store like reception area with its shelves stocked to the gills with tempting products, to its star and outer space-themed interior rooms, there’s something whimsical and childlike about the Haven Spa, a SoHo staple for hedonists since 1998.

I checked in on a humid afternoon for a signature 60-minute Deep Tissue Massage and a 60-minute Remedy Facial. Walking by a mani/pedicure station which looked more like an old-fashioned shoe shine station just after reception, I was ushered down a black painted hallway with small floor-level lighting that makes you feel like you’re in a 60s-era love-in or an dark corridor of the Starship Enterprise. Trance music in the treatment rooms continues the Space Odyssey-like theme.

Once inside the more prosaic treatment room, I was greeted by a very no-nonsense therapist who told me in advance that the massage was not about being relaxed but was about therapeutic knot-releasing action. My 60-minute treatment was indeed at odds with the somewhat somnambulistic music. I was pulled and kneaded by my therapist’s strong hands until every conceivable knot in my body was ironed out of me. Though there were some moments of pinch-hitting pain, on the whole the massage felt vibrant and almost athletically well done.

It was time to move down the corridor of space to the facial room where I was scheduled for a Remedy procedure: a maintain-and-glow treatment with a few extractions, hot steam, exfoliation, a nice massage and that chill out soundtrack.

For 60 minutes my therapist peered at my pores with a brisk professionalism, declaring my skin very “taut and well-taken care of” before she slathered on a variety of treatment crèmes, all with clean, herbal scents rather than the alcohol-like smells that sometimes come with deep-cleansing facials. The extractions were briskly and minimally painfully done and a final glow-enhancing serum slid on my now richly hydrating skin like silk.

On dressing and finding my way back through the dark corridor to reception (where is Darth Vadar when you need him?), I saw that my skin had a flushed glow and I felt limp noodle relaxed with an invigorating feel of better circulation running through my now fully restored lymphatic system.

Although my treatments had the somewhat pedestrian titles of Remedy and Deep Tissue, Haven also does more colorful sounding treatments like the Geek Massage, a focus on head and shoulders spent hunching over computers.

The Haven Spa also has signature “ME” or Mini-Escape Treatments with massages, facials and mani-pedis that only take 30-minutes each so that fast living city dwellers can zoom in and out of Haven’s space-inspired interior faster than warp-speed.

For more information on Haven Spa, visit