Healing waters, Aperol spritz, illy coffee…Italy's dolce vita arrives in New York City by way of Governors Island and we can’t wait to slow down and tell you about it. 

Set on the edge of Governors Island overlooking the downtown Financial District skyline, QC NY is a rarity in NYC: imbuing European bathhouse charms in a city that’s in sore need of relaxation. 

Not far from the stylings of other NYC day spa destinations including AIRE Ancient Baths in TriBeCa and SoJo Spa Club in New Jersey, QC NY stands out for its playful take on relaxation. Add in the spa’s panoramic city views and relatively easy access and you’re in for a great day of relaxing, just far enough from the clamor of the city. 

16 things you have to do in New York City

The ferry arriving to Governors Island, New York City
The ferry arriving at Governors Island, New York City © Zachary Laks

Your getaway starts with a ferry ride

Governors Island is only accessible by ferry. The fast ferries run seasonally on the half-hour from South Street Seaport and from two ports in Brooklyn and require an advance reservation online prior to boarding. The ferry is $4 with free rides on Saturdays and Sundays before noon. 

Once you’re on the ferry, you’ll instantly feel a disconnect from the energy of the city – is there anything more relaxing than being on a boat? From the ferry, QC NY spa is about a five-minute walk. 

Summit One Vanderbilt: Why I loved this new -- and definitely different -- NYC observatory

The pool courtyard at QC NY Spa, Governors Island, NYC
The spacious pool courtyard at QC NY Spa © Zachary Laks

A new spa complex with rustic charm

Repurposing a former military complex into a large-scale relaxation destination, QC NY opened this past March as the company’s first stateside endeavor. QC Terme Spas and Resorts has been around since the early 80s in Italy and has since expanded to 9 destination resorts throughout Europe.

The spa complex has a rustic, industrial appeal with charming turn-of-the-twentieth-century portraits and playful fixtures throughout. The building is a bit of a maze and takes a while to orient yourself. The helpful front desk agents are there to guide you and make sure you don’t miss any of the features of the property. 

Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.
The useful tote bag you get on arrival at QC NY
The useful tote bag you get on arrival © Zachary Laks

The front desk staff is also the bearer of gifts: a starter tote bag comes with a plush robe, towel, flip flops (check out the soles for cute QC-branded stamps) and a swimsuit bag; and when you check out you’ll receive a complimentary kit filled with sample sizes of the skincare products used throughout the spa. 

Where to find 20 of Europe's most stunning hot springs

The main courtyard and pool at QC NY
The main courtyard and pool at QC NY © Zachary Laks

The most scenic dip around: the spa’s beautiful pools

The spa’s main attraction is the incredible outdoor pools. While the pools were not in operation at the time we visited (they should be cleared by the city to open soon), we still were able to get a sense of how special these pools will be. The variety of spa jets and waterfall features will pair well with views of New York’s downtown skyline. 

QC NY is a year-round destination, open daily, with all-weather access to pools, no matter how cold it gets. To prepare for New York’s challenging winters, heated outdoor pathways will melt the snow and keep feet warm while heated bathrobe stations will help ease the freeze. 

There are plenty of daybeds for lounging and tanning along with comfortable lawn chairs, perfect for taking in the sights of New York harbor. 

The High Line: highlights and local tips on NYC's elevated park 

Inside a sauna at QC NY
An inside look at one of the saunas of QC NY © Zachary Laks

The best wellness features of the spa: the many ways to get comfortable

Part relaxation, part endurance, QC NY’s steam rooms and saunas have a playful wellness factor that encourages your own journey of discovery throughout the facility. The spa features 20 wellness experiences to help relax the body and mind. 

After spending four hours experiencing all 20 ways to relax, here are some favorites. 

The Scottish Room: The Scottish Room is adorned in a stylish tartan tile that feels inspired. Scotland is one of the first countries to use steam rooms for wellness so it seems fitting that this balmy room is filled with balsamic aromas that help to expel toxins.

The wild and fun Upside Down at QC NY
This photo is not turned around - this is the wild Upside Down at QC NY © Zachary Laks

The Upside Down relaxation room: Turning things upside down - literally - this room imbues wistful fun into your day of relaxation. Embrace the quirky and let it inspire your creativity as you imagine the world from a different angle. 

The Vichy Showers: Don’t pass up the chance to try this unique bathing experience that’ll find you showering horizontally. Lay down on the marble slab, press the button and a steady stream of warm water will rush over you, lulling you into a deep state of relaxation. 

The foot baths at QC NY Spa
The foot baths at QC NY Spa © Zachary Laks

The foot baths: The DIY foot soak at the foot baths was fun and relaxing. Alternate between the cold and hot water to help oxygenate tissues and relieve tension. 

The City Sauna: The City Sauna is a rare sauna with a view. Wood-paneling of New York City’s skyline leads to an excellent vantage of the city itself. It’s also rare to find a sauna that gets so much natural light. 

Is Top of the Rock worth a visit?

A massage room at QC NY
One of the couple's massage rooms, QC NY © Zachary Laks

The massage treatments were the most relaxing thing we tried

We were lucky enough to sample one of their signature massage treatments and we’re very glad we did. After a few hours of self-guided relaxation, the massage services were the perfect segue into complete bliss. Consider booking a massage later into your stay so you have the chance to unwind a bit and soak up the scene. After the fun of exploring each of the spa’s areas, the massage was worth the chance to truly disconnect with an expert. 

Visiting the New York Botanical Gardens

The many touches of innovation and comfort

Some favorite touches throughout the spa include shelves for eyeglasses outside of each sauna and steam room, hoses in the steam rooms that aid with a burst of cold water relief and thoughtful signs outside of each wellness room that guide you through the benefits of each room. Each guest also gets their own chip card bracelet which helped with payments at the cafe and spa store.

8 eco-friendly destinations where sustainability is priority

Lunch at the cafe, QC NY
Taking a break for lunch at the QC NY cafe © Zachary Laks

Working up an appetite 

Who doesn’t get hungry after they’ve been soaking and swimming? The cafe onsite offers light, healthy fare along the lines of salads and sandwiches ($24 each) and less-healthy, more-celebratory cocktails like margaritas and mimosas ($18 each). 

A few more details about your visit

The area: Governors Island is worth the day trip regardless if you’re visiting QC NY. If you’re only doing a 4-hour pass to the spa, plan to add a few hours to your stay. You’ll feel at ease walking the grounds of the island and exploring its many beautiful natural spaces. 

Coney Island: A New York City escape 

Don’t forget to pack: Bathing suits are required in all wellness areas, sunscreen and a book to read as digital devices are discouraged throughout the facility. The spa encourages a “digital detox” for your visit.

The price: Rates start at $88 for a 4-hour all-access pass.

What’s to come: The full build-out of the facility has only just begun with future plans to include indoor plunge pools, even more wellness spaces and a full-service restaurant. 

A sauna with a view on the QC NY pool and courtyard
A sauna with a view of the QC NY pool and courtyard © Zachary Laks

The bottom line: Don't pass up the chance to relax for the day at QC NY

QC NY is an excellent value for a luxurious afternoon escape from the hustle of New York. The facility impresses with its playful approach to relaxation and wellness, and we look forward to seeing what’s next as the resort continues to expand its offerings. 

You might also like:
10 wellness retreats to recharge post-pandemic
16 stunning eco-hotels for the environmentally conscious traveler
The world's eco-luxury resorts that are worth the hype

Explore related stories

2CK92HR Participants takes part in the Brooklyn Pride Twilight Parade in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S., June 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

LGBTQIA+

The ultimate LGBTIQ+ travel guide to New York City

Apr 7, 2024 • 11 min read