40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

Not a Pool: Spa Castle

on May 16, 2012

John blasted by jets in one of the rooftop pools.

When is a pool not a pool? When it’s got NO SWIMMING signs all over the place. This is perfectly acceptable at the relaxation palace socked away near the decidedly unlovely College Point Industrial Park that is Spa Castle. It’s a great place to visit if you need to show some TLC to aching muscles or celebrate a special occasion with friends.

John and I spent the better part of the day here recently on a cool, sunny weekday that will remain unspecified in case either of us was actually supposed to be at work. First stop was the roof deck, which is loaded with pools, each warmer than the next. We easily passed a couple of hours up here in pool bliss, moving through the circuit of jets that pummeled various sore muscles and taking breaks to soak in the Japanese pine bath.

Eventually we succumbed to hunger and went to the main floor for some lunch followed by a tour through Sauna Valley. “Iceland,” a cold sauna with actual ice in it, called for return visits between roasts in the hot saunas. A new discovery here was the napping floor. It looks like marble, which you wouldn’t expect to be conducive to napping, but add heated units in the floor and small head cushions and before you know it you’re comfortably sound asleep. If only these were more common in the outside world, we would all be happier and more productive.

Finally, we split up for the gender-segregated nude baths. After basking in warmth all day, I couldn’t go deeper than my calves in the 60-degree plunge pool, much less the even colder one.

The facility is run with an industrial precision that might be unpleasant were it not devoted to relaxation. Everyone wears the uniform provided upon check-in, and access to lockers and food is via an RFID bracelet, so you don’t have to carry anything around. Towels were provided in abundance when I visited previously, but now they are scant and small, so it’s a good idea to bring your own. There were definite signs of wear and tear on roof deck, with waterfalls and the mushroom-shaped fountain out of service and occasional stray plastic drink cups submerged in the water, and we were surprised to see so many children around on a school day, but we didn’t let these inconveniences stop us from enjoying a day at the spa.

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