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Governor Island’s QC NY Provides a Refreshing Take on Social Spa-ing

The highly anticipated spa features epic views of the city's skyline.

While I typically favor solo spa-ing over social spa-ing, I found myself rethinking my preference after a visit to Governor Island’s QC NY (New York City), which debuted last September. The long-awaited spa from QC Terme, a Milan-based wellness company, marks the brand’s 10th property and the first location outside of Europe. The 74,000-square-foot thermal spa involved a $50 million investment and five years of planning, building, and restoration of the landmarked buildings, which included three historic Army barrack buildings dating back to the early 1900s.

Designed by New York-based architect Robert Henry, QC NY overlooks Manhattan’s iconic skyline and features more than 20 wellness spa experiences, many of which can be enjoyed with others, such as the two panoramic outdoor heated infinity pools. I was fortunate to enjoy the pools on a balmy day in February when the sun was shining, and the city skyline sparkled in the distance. With underwater hydro seats and loungers, the pools are the perfect place to catch up with friends while enjoying all the benefits of a hydromassage.

“Our spas & resorts are founded on the magic of wellness through water,” says Janine DiGioacchino, CEO of QC US, “Inspired by ancient Roman baths, our spa pools are meticulously designed for an optimal wellness experience and are at the heart of our brand. In addition to our incredible spa pools and views, QC NY offers an array of ways for guests to relax—whether that be through sounds, smells, music, food, and drink—our wellness path has something for everyone.”

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Guests can take part in interactive experiences, such as the sampling of four fragrances in the Alchemist Room and recording their memories.
What We Love
  • Epic city views from the pools
  • Quirky relaxation rooms, each with its own personality, scent, and music
  • Roosevelt Island setting, which feels like a true getaway
  • Café offering light Italian bites and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Variety of passes available at affordable prices and included ferry tickets
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The Upside Down Room is a quirky place to kick back.
Spa Facilities

According to QC Terme’s website, the company’s European clients spend an average of eight hours each visit at its other locations. I couldn’t help but think that was a bit much until I began exploring QC NY’s many experiences. Upon check-in, I was given a locker-key wristband, a bag, a robe, a towel, and flip flops. I then made my way through the lobby featuring globe mobiles suspended from the ceiling. Once I had located the locker rooms upstairs and changed into my swimsuit, robe, and flip flops that left something to be desired in terms of comfort, I headed for the hydrotherapy experiences on the lower level. There, I had my choice of pools, foot baths, Vichy showers, steam baths, hydro jets, and more.

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Many of the saunas feature stunning views of the city.

Another highlight was the themed saunas, which featured various temperatures, scents, and views. From the Spa and the City sauna with its wooden cutouts of the city skyline decorating the walls to the Park Sauna decked out with fall scenes from Central Park and the enveloping sounds of birdsong to the Mountain Stube steeped in the scent of pine and designed to feel like a warm mountain cabin, each of the saunas provides its own unique experience as do the five themed relaxation rooms. The cozy Fireplace Room was ideal for kicking back in one of the comfy rocking chairs while the Jukebox Club was the place to go to enjoy the smooth sounds of jazz. Though the Upside Down Room was certainly Instagram-worthy, I didn’t really feel compelled to spend much time there. Nevertheless, it wasn’t hard though to find plenty of other spaces to indulge in some bliss-worthy hang time. Infrared beds and suspended cocoon chairs are just a few of the inviting offerings. And fragrance lovers won’t want to miss the Alchemist Room, which provides four scents from the spa’s fragrance line, Aria, to sample and share memories the scents inspire.

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The outdoor heated pools are a highlight of the Roosevelt Island spa.

While I didn’t experience a treatment when I was there, massages are available in 25-, 50-, and 75-minute increments. I certainly didn’t feel as if I had missed out with so much else to explore. I enjoyed wandering through the maze of wellness experiences and didn’t mind getting lost on the journey. Of course, the spa’s outdoor heated pools overlooking the skyline are the biggest draw. It’s no wonder it has become such a hotspot for friends and couples alike.     

About The Author
Heather-Mikesell-author-1

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent, abcnews.com, jetsetter.com, outside.com, and wellandgood.com, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.