Getting In a Tropical State of Mind

Personal ServiceRestaurantsLifestyle and LeisureDining and DrinkingMusical TheaterHotels and AccommodationsAdam Clayton

When it begins to feel as if this endless winter never really will end, you need a break. And what better break than a quick trip to the islands? No time, you say? Never mind—you can spend a day on the islands right here in the city, no matter what the weatherman says.

GET SOME COLOR

Spa Sun offers single tanning sessions to banish the winter pales. (26 West 20th Street; 212-337-0020; $16-$22; 12 to 18 minutes each; packages available).

Elena's Classic Spa has sun-free tanning sessions--body exfoliation and self-tanning cream--for $97. (227 East 50th Street; 212-605-7506).

St. Tropez Tanning Lotion is a good bet if you want to tan at home: It won’t streak or turn you orange. (Available at Zitomer, 969 Madison Avenue, and at Bigelow Pharmacy, 414 Sixth Avenue.)

LOOSEN UP

Away Spa, at the W Hotel, offers 30-minute massages and facials that won't break the bank: at $65 each, they're well worth the price. Add a manicure ($20) and pedicure ($40), and walk ou of the place feeling like a new person. (W Hotel, 541 Lexington Avenue; 212-407-2970.)

Maximus on Mercer's signature treatment is the "Water Journey"--an exfoliating body scrub, rrevivifying shower, and steam room with a waterfall. (15 Mercer Street; 212-431-3333; treatment alone: $85; with full-body massage, $140).

Juvenex Spa has a well-deserved reputation for luxury. Pamper your inner sybarite with a spell in the Japanese soaking tub and a Korean-style exfoliating scrub. Couples' massages are available after 9 p.m. (Two-hour packages start at $105; 25 West 32nd Street; 646-733-1330).

Opal Center, in Park Slope, offers Swedish-based massage designed for each client. (70-minute treatments, $75; 158 Fifth Avenue; 718-857-6183).

GET WET

The 92nd Street Y has a pool; pay a guest fee of $30, and you can swim to your heart's content. If that isn't enough, the InSPAration program has a 50-minute massage for $70. (1395 Lexington Avenue; )

Peninsula Spa at the Peninsula Hotel has a pool with a terrific view of Fifth Avenue; spend 2 1/2 hours in the spa, and the pool is yours. (Package includes hourlong facial and massage, plus reflexology treatment, $345. 700 Fifth Avenue; 212-956-2888.)

The YMCAs in the city allow one-day visitors to use their swimming pools with a payment of $10. For information on where to find the Y in your neighborhood, go to www.ymcanyc.org.

The city's indoor pools charge a yearly membership fee ($75), which allows you to use any pool in the five boroughs. Here's a list of where to find them:

QUEENS

Roy Wilkins : 119th Street and Merrick Boulevard; 718-276-4630

BRONX

St. Mary's: St. Mary's Avenue and East 145th Street; 718-402-5157

MANHATTAN

Asser Levy: Asser Levy Place (Avenue A) and East 23rd Street; 212-447-2020

Carmine Street: Seventh Avenue South and Clarkson Street; 212-242-5228

Hansborough: 35 West 134th Street; 212-234-9603

59th Street: 533 West 59th Street; 212-397-3159

BROOKLYN

Brownsville: 1555 Linden Boulevard; 718-485-4633

Metropolitan: Bedford & Metropolitan Avenues; 718-599-5707

St. John's: 1251 Prospect Place, between Troy and Schenectady Avenues; 718-771-2787

TAKE A TROPICAL BREAK

At the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center, where you get a glimpse of the Hudson River, and make believe you’re looking at the Caribbean. You can grab a latte and salad to munch on the benches under the palms.

At the New York Aquarium wile away a couple of hours watching the fish cut through the calm waters. the Boardwalk and W. 8th Street, Coney Island, B'klyn. 718-265-3474.

At the Bronx Zoo wander through the rainforest exhibit and mix with the tropical birds. 718-367-1010

Browse through the cruisewear at most department stores, try on a bathing suit and pick up a pair of sandals to get a jump on the season.

MOJITOS, MARGARITAS ... FOR EVERYONE!

El Teddy's for some south-of-the border fun, try the tapas and margaritas at this Tribeca bar/restaurant. 219 W. Broadway, 212-941-7070.

Jimmy's Pick any of the branches of Jimmy's empire, and you get a whole environment instead of a bar or a restaurant. Plenty of music, dancing, rainbow-colored drinks, and soul-satisfying food. The newest addition to this mini-chain is the one in Midtown: Jimmy's Downtown (400 East 57th Street; 212-486-6400). Jimmy's Uptown is at 2207 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard (212-491-4000); The original outpost is Jimmy's Bronx (281 West Fordham Road; 718-329-2000).

Tiki Room This Polynesian-inspired lounge comes complete with an 18-foot tiki idol that seems to grow right out of the bar. Cocktail choices include sneaky tikis, and there are flat-screen TVs that get you into an island mood right away, with surf videos showing all day (4 West 22nd Street; 646-230-1444).

Sugar Bar The bar has a thatched roof and a good selection of flavored martinis. There's also a DJ on Fridays, and a lounge upstairs. Good eating, too. (254 West 72nd Street; 212-579-0222.)

Day-O Jamaican rum drinks. Palm trees. And fiery curries to chow down on when the rum starts to get to you. (103 Greenwich Avenue; 212-924-3160).

Jade Island Polynesian Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge Pupu platters and fruity drinks served up in a coconut. What else do you need to make you forget winter? There's even a waterfall. (2845 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island; 718-761-8080).

ISLAND EATS

Negril is a colorful Caribbean place to dine on jerk chicken and a variety of well-spiced curries, washed down with its exotic rum drinks. (362 West 23rd Street; 212-807-6411).

A, the minuscule restaurant on the Upper West Side, serves up chef Marc Solomon’s spiced-up specialties, like Caribbean crepes. The downside: there are only four tables, and there’s always a wait. (947 Columbus Avenue; 212-531-1643).

Ideya OK, so it's SoHo. But there's no attitude in this friendly island-themed restaurant with specialties from all over the Caribbean. (349 West Broadway; 212-625-1441).

Asia de Cuba Fusion, Chinese-Latin style, with an emphasis on the Chinese. But even if it's not purist cuisine, it sure is tasty. The communal table downstairs and the balcony upstairs may not generate quite as much buzz as they once did, but they still draw plenty of scenesters. The Philippe Starck design and imaginative cocktails still put it squarely at the heart of cool.

Mo-Bay The thatched-roof tiny eatery is a venue for seriously good Jamaican food in Brooklyn—and don’t forget the rum cake served with real whipped cream. (112 DeKalb Avenue; 718-246-2800).

Café Dore is another good choice in Brooklyn -- a simple, unassuming restaurant with well-prepared island specialties at good prices (270 Smith Street; 718-246-0505).

La Brunette puts a Gallic spin on Caribbean cuisine, served up in a pleasant, airy space. You'll find inventive preparations of chicken, fish, and duck--as well as classic dishes. (300 North Sixth Street; 718-384-5800).

El Sitio is a holdout of old-fashioned Cuban cuisine--homey soups and huge platters of roast pork and chicken sided with rice and black beans. The service is friendly and the place is cheerful. (68-28 Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside; 718-424-2369).

WORK UP A SWEAT

The Copacabana is one of the city’s most famous venues for salsa (560 West 34th Street; 212-239-2672).

The Zinc Bar has Latin night on Thursdays (90 West Houston Street; 212-477-8337).

The 2i’s (248 West 14th Street; 807-1775) has Meltdown Wednesdays, with hip-hop and reggae on the main floor and salsa and merenge downstairs.

The Village Underground has Cuban salsa on Saturday nights. (130 West Third Street; 212-777-7745).

SOB’s offers La Tropica Night on Mondays and other Latin music on other nights. A good place to work up a sweat.(204 Varick Street; 212-243-4940).

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