What started as an old-world apothecary in New York’s Lower East Side 160 years ago, then spent over a century pampering skin and hair, stealing hearts and becoming one of the world’s most beloved and iconic personal care brands, has now entered into its next breathtaking chapter. Kiehl’s Since 1851 introduces: Spa 1851, a full-service Kiehl’s spa experience, which has just opened its doors on the Upper East Side.
SPA 1851 is the brainchild of Chris Salgardo, President, Kiehl’s USA, who gave me the tour of the newest spa hotspot last Friday morning as I asked him lots of questions. Chris has been President for 5 years, in the company for 11, and a fan of Kiehl’s for 21 years. Creating this spa was a labor of love and a bow to tradition that took over 8 years of planning and building all in. Every detail is loaded with significance or history, from the chandeliers inspired by those that have hung in the original Flagship Store for generations, the stunning adventure photographs as wallpaper in the treatment rooms, and the commissioned artwork that embodies the Kiehl’s brand.
First, the tour, something like the way Chris gave it. Spa 1851 features an interior design that advances Kiehl’s longtime commitment to the environment with the use of natural, sustainable materials and energy-efficient light fixtures. Wood accents, antique fixtures, vintage reclaimed tin ceilings, custom art, eco-friendly robes and linens and iPads for guest use in the lounge all demonstrate the unique perspective of this cozy yet worldly spa.
Let’s first take a look at the treatment rooms. Each one is themed – Apothecary, Adventure, and the Rainforest.
The Apothecary Room: Artist Curtis Jinkins created a wallscape referencing Kiehl’s apothecary traditions.
The Adventure Room: Kiehl’s in-house design team highlighted the company’s spirit of adventure with archival Kiehl’s images from an expedition to Mt. Everest and the Badwater Ultramarathon in the Mojave Desert.
The Rainforest Room: David LaChapelle’s Rainforest Photo Mural is a modern interpretation of Kiehl’s historyof sourcing the finest natural ingredients from around the world.
As Chris explained, it was also very important that the spa decor remained masculine and strong, as the Men’s Grooming Lounge is an essential part of the spa. It’s very much an experience, overlooking Lexington Avenue in a sound-tight space with rock music. The Am I Collective designed the art on the brick wall – it’s a piece incorporating Kiehl’s icons such as company icon Mr. Bones the teaching skeleton, and motorcycle and airplane imagery, hand-painted by Colossal Media. The Barber Chairs are by custom motorcycle builder Paul Cox, who customized them with a skeleton motif inspired by a design by Curtis Jinkins. The public hallway you see below on the right is a modern timeline and a celebration of 160 years of service, created by Kiehl’s in-house design team.
So, how about those treatments? As Kiehl’s is historically an apothecary, one of the foundations of all their treatments is mixing in herbs, salts and aromatic ingredients into each. All treatments use entirely Kiehl’s products, of course. Facial treatments were created using high concentrations of uniquely efficacious natural ingredients in combination with cutting-edge technologies for smoother, radiant, younger-looking skin. Massages and body treatments utilize old-world techniques that invigorate circulation while nourishing and softening skin.
I asked Chris what sets Spa 1851 apart from all the other spas, besides, you know, being part of Kiehl’s. One of the points he was very adamant about was not nickeling and diming – treatments include a robust number of add-ons without extra cost. Also, every scheduled treatment begins with the Kiehl’s Signature Greeting, a neck, arm, hand and foot massage, which uses lavender and massage techniques to prep the skin and stimulate circulation.
Want an appointment? Good luck – as of Friday, they were booked until September!