Small is beautiful.
That’s the thinking behind a handful of pioneering NYC beauty and well-being experts who’ve struck out on their own, creating cosseting ateliers where they see just one client at a time.
You trade copious crystal steam rooms and double-wide relaxation chaises for privacy and devoted attention.
Personalized service is the big thing big spas and salons don’t allow for, say the practitioners. All of their single-shingle spas opened prior to the recession, so it’s not a case of economic downsizing. In fact, some say business is up. (Chalk it up to a desire for a personal approach in tough times.)
And given that you’re doing business with the boss (and not just the next spa therapist available), we wonder if the bespoke boutique spa is something we’ll see more of?
Here are the leaders of the private school:
Julia March Skin Care
No working in 60-minute blocks or giving every client the same scripted facial. March (pictured, above), who first plied her trade at Tracie Martyn, is a master of custom-created holistic treatments that get you results—perhaps a lactic-acid peel from yogurt or a handmade kombucha-aloe calming mask. And she incorporates naturopathy and stress-reducing Vortex healing, a form of energy work, for inner beauty. “It would have been almost impossible to create treatments like this at a spa,” she says. 177 Prince St., 212-253-2242, firstname.lastname@example.org, juliamarchskincare.com
Sania’s Brow Bar
Sania Vucetaj opened her popular loft-like studio in Midtown, four years ago after building a devoted following as Bergdorf’s eyebrow superstar. Vucetaj favors full, natural brows and uses only tweezers and scissors to perfectly shape brows—wax, she says, damages the area’s thin skin. “Having your name on the door is like no other feeling,” she says.“The only downside is you can’t get sick!” 18 W. 56th St., 212-247-1129, saniasbrowbar.com
Monica Watters started her one-woman spa 11 years ago, after a decade at Catherine Atzen, an old-school Upper East Side spa, where she consistently gave the most services and sold the least product. Now she focuses on what she loves—giving long multi-disciplinary sessions that address whatever the client needs, whether it’s reflexology, Reiki, guided meditation, or a deep-cleansing facial. She’s a master healer who mixes modalities with the flair of the best fusion chef. And she’ll never try to sell you a product. 245 E. 60th St., 212-838-3717, no website
Cocoon Hair Studio
Although he previous ran a much bigger salon, Fabian Lliguin, made the decision to scale back to a single chair, preferring to use his time for his clients (and his eco-friendly Amazon Beauty Rahua Hair Care line) instead of administration. “I wanted to provide personal, undivided attention to all of my clients,” he says. “And give them a serene salon environment.” That meant, no rows of stylists, each armed with a deafening blow-dryer. “My clients can relax and be pampered in a peaceful space.” 318 E. 70th St., 212-879-5630, email@example.com, cocoonhair.com
Would you visit a single-shingle spa instead of a bigger one, with possibly more amenities? Tell us why, here!
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