More than a century ago, a group of Hollywood and Broadway glitterati joined forces to create The Lambs, America’s first professional theatrical club that boasted a collection of headline-making members, including Fred Astaire, John Barrymore, Irving Berlin, Charlie Chaplin, and John Wayne. Seeking a place to wine, dine, dance, and gather, these high-profile stars commissioned the flamboyant architect (and notorious ladies man) Stanford White to create an incomparable Manhattan headquarters. The result was The Lambs Club, a six-story, neo-Georgian brick building located near Times Square that included a restaurant and billiards room, a banquet hall, a theater, and even sleeping quarters for its members. Though the curtain eventually closed on this decadent celebrity playground, it received its encore in 2010 when it re-opened as The Chatwal New York. Meticulously restored by designer Thierry Despont, this 83-room hotel pays homage to a bygone era with countless nods to its theatrical origins, from Art Deco design accents to a restaurant called The Lambs Club. Another update to this historic building is The Chatwal Spa by Kashwére, which fits seamlessly into the hotel’s 1930s design while providing an elegant atmosphere for modern-day wellness, according to spa director April Greenwood.
“The spa was designed to stand up to the beautifully restored space while still evoking warmth and calm through contemporary design,” she says. “We created a bright and inviting space with the use of light woods, pale yellows, and greens. The back-lit installations in the pool and lounge areas provide central focal points for the spa, while elements like imported Italian tile, a built-in manicure/pedicure station atop a descending wall-art installation, and customizable overhead lighting create a memorable spa experience.”
Located in the hotel’s subterranean level, the 2,400-square-foot spa features three treatment rooms and three changing suites with steam showers, which is ideal for the hotel’s celebrity clientele and guests who crave privacy. The spa also includes an inviting relaxation area where guests can nosh on healthy spa fare, hot and cold saltwater plunge pools, a saltwater lap pool, a manicure and pedicure room, and a fitness studio. The spa was created in conjunction with Kashwére, a brand known for its cozy robes and spa and home furnishings. This partnership is a first for the company, according to Kashwére president Merri Gleckler. “The spa’s mission is to delight the senses, and we’ve outfitted it with Kashwére linens and robes to do just that,” she says. “The brand reflects the commitment we’ve made to indulge our guests in a truly luxury experience. Touch, which is at the heart of the brand, is an essential to living well and is thus an important feature of the spa concept.”
The menu is as inviting as the spa’s cozy robes. Designed in the spa’s pre-opening stages by Ann Emich-Patton of Savvy Spas, it features an array of treatments designed to help spa-goers relax and rejuvenate, including signature offerings that embrace its location, like the Barefoot on Broadway ($90, 80 minutes) pedicure and the In a New York Minute ($100, 30 minutes) facial. The spa also offers a selection of Intraceuticals oxygen facials. No matter what services guests select, Greenwood says they will experience offerings that are results-oriented and eco-friendly. “Addressing the basic human needs for oxygen, water, touch, and light are at the heart of our programs,” she says. “We offer both high-touch and high-tech experiences.”
So far, this approach has proven to be successful for Greenwood and her team of eight full-time and 25 on-call therapists who can handle approximately 55 treatments per day. In fact, along with the hotel guests, who make up around 25 percent of the clientele, most of her clients are either New Yorkers or guests at other area hotels. “This is the only hotel spa of its caliber in Manhattan’s theater district,” she says. “Having the combination of master skin and massage therapists, plush robes and linens, superior pampering products, and bespoke treatments helps us stand out among other Manhattan spas, appealing to the upscale urban traveler or to those seeking inner calm in the city.”
Still, Greenwood knows the importance of marketing to keep guests coming back and to enticing potential clients. “Many of our hotel guests take advantage of monthly promotions,” she says, adding that every guest is also treated to a turndown amenity called Love Your Skin Tonight, which includes four skincare packages from SwissClinical. “Additionally, we have exclusive partnerships with groups, such as Leading Hotels Worldwide, through which we offer a built-in spa credit with booking. To entice locals, we utilize social media marketing to advertise last-minute specials and monthly promotions, so it pays to become our friend on Facebook and stay tuned in.”
Moving forward, Greenwood and her team plan to further promote the spa’s In Pursuit of the Spa Body program, which includes sessions with personal trainers, in-suite yoga programs, and hydro workouts. “We will continue to foster an authentic spa experience for our guests,” she says. It’s an approach that is most certainly setting the stage for wellness.