Mandatory nudity and towel rationing: 7 ways Spa Castle Premier 57 failed to deliver the royal treatment

Spa Castle
Spa Castle

Spa Castle Premier 57 is back. Following a troubled opening and an abrupt closure at the beginning of the year (it lacked the proper permits), the “luxury” spa unceremoniously announced last week that it’s back in business.

While the spa’s name seems to promise that guests will be treated like royalty, Luxury Listings NYC decided to soak in the sprawling three-floor space at 115 East 57th Street to see if it lived up to its lavish reputation. And, unfortunately, we found that when it comes to a providing a true luxury experience, the spa ran hot and cold.

ftdsc_0311aIt’s Not the Size of the Pool, It’s the Motion … : While the 39,000-square-foot wellness center is expansive, surprisingly the pool area is not. There were only a handful of “bade pools” (a series of hydrotherapy stations designed to stimulate the body using jets) so that even at half-capacity there could be massive crowding and waits.

Slippery When Wet: The Aqua Bar provides alcoholic and virgin beverages that could be enjoyed poolside, however it seems like glass usage in a slippery environment – particularly left on the pool’s edge upon patrons’ departure – is an accident waiting to happen.

The Sounds of Non-Silence: Most of the music in the facility is soothing, however the music in the Hydrotherapy Spa Pool area was quite aggressive, and competing with the roar of the jets, it was the equivalent of being trapped in an MRI machine.

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Mandatory Nudity: In the women’s and men’s shower areas there are a line of bathtubs and saunas that can only be used totally naked. Upon disrobing an attendant will fill your tub so you can soak with an audience. If being an exhibitionist doesn’t float your figurative boat, note that even the showers are sans curtain or door.

Your Mom Dresses You Funny: You are provided with a uniform that can only be described as “80s Cabana Boy” or “Florida retiree”. Thick, stiff, knee-length, drawstring shorts coupled with a collarless polo may give you flashbacks to Sear’s school shopping. Ugliness aside, because you must keep it on over your bathing suit, even in saunas, it’s hot and uncomfortable.

Towel Rationing: Upon entering you are supplied one towel and it is to become your everything – to be used to dry off from pools and saunas and to lay on in beds and lounges. Most people ended up sitting and laying directly on the furniture and floors, which may prove quite germy in the future. Expecting a clean towel post-shower, I was informed, “You should have brought one from home,” and was offered only washcloths. Although additional towels can be purchased, crucial supplies like combs and deodorant are not offered, so be prepared or you will leave looking and smelling like a mess.

Kale Famine: It’s not de rigueur green juice without kale or spinach! Café Bistro offers a variety of juices, but none featuring actual greens. Even their “green” juice is just cucumber and lemon. The horror!