A cult favorite in asia, amorepacific skincare blends a rich history of tradition with a modern-day sensibility. The same can be said of AmorePacific Beauty Gallery and Spa (New York City), the global skincare company's first foray into the U.S. spa market. Located in the heart of Soho, one of the city's trendiest neighborhoods, the spa is a study in contrasts. Nature and technology merge to create a unique space that is as warm and inviting as it is modern and practical.
The spa's reception area features a unique design characterized by the five elements of nature. An arch of 1,400 walnut branches is just one of the highlights.
Designed by Yabu Pushelberg, a Toronto-based architectural firm known for creating spaces that reflect harmony and balance, the spa's look is based on the five elements of nature considered in Chinese culture to represent life's essential energies: water, metal, earth, fire, and wood.
The Asian Botanical Mixing Bar features a host of exotic ingredients, which are used to custom-blend the spa’s touted treatment masques. Displays representing the five elements can be found overhead and tie into AmorePacific’s overall theme.
Not only do the five elements play a role in the design, but they also figure prominently in the spa's treatment menu. According to spa director Georgia Sturges, therapists at AmorePacific are taught five facial massage techniques that correspond to the varying elements. Water is the most calming and is recommended to soothe sensitive skin. Metal emphasizes compression and is effective in balancing the production of sebum and treating problem skin. Earth incorporates aspects of all five techniques and is ideal for all skin types. Fire is the most energizing of them all. Designed to release blocked energy, it's ideal for sluggish skin. Tree, which represents living wood energy, is uplifting without being too stimulating. It's recommended for dry or devitalized skin.
Colorful counseling units are available for estheticians to meet with clients before their treatments.
Before any treatment begins, therapists first determine the client's elemental disposition. This is accomplished during a consultation and thorough skin analysis. All treatments are then customized to the individual. From the music played and the essential oils used to the tea served afterwards, no detail is left to chance. An Asian Botanical Mixing Bar with unique and rare ingredients, such as bamboo sap and wild yam, is also available for estheticians to custom-blend masques at the time of treatment.
The doorway leading into the circular treatment room, inspired by the product line's packaging
Although one might think busy time-pressed New Yorkers would be interested in shorter treatments, just the opposite is true. In fact, the spa recently extended the length of its facials to 120 minutes. "Once clients try the longer version, they don't go back," says Sturges.
Smoked pine characterizes the room's decor
With only two treatment rooms, the spa is able to provide detailed and attentive care. When fully booked, AmorePacific can handle up to 15 people a day, although that number varies based on the length of the treatments scheduled. "My biggest challenge is space issues," says Sturges. "We have two rooms, but I wish we had twenty." To accommodate more clients, Sturges recently expanded the spa's hours of operation. It is now open an hour later on Thursdays and Saturdays, and Sturges has plans to extend business hours on Tuesdays as well.
A cozy alcove features a wooden vanity.
With virtually no staff turnover since opening, AmorePacific employs four estheticians and one massage therapist/reflexologist. According to Sturges, each had to do a hands-on demonstration before being hired and then undergo intensive in-house training. In hiring, Sturges looks at a number of factors. "[Those I hire] must have an innate sense of touch, warmth, and an ability to connect with people," says Sturges. "It's also important they be consistent."
The spa's "living art" wall features images of moving water
Using only the AmorePacific skincare line, the spa's retail to service sales percentage is high. According to Sturges, spa treatments generate 35 percent of Amorepacific's U.S. sales while retail generates 65 percent. "Retail is very near and dear to us, because we manufacture our own products," says Sturges. The spa also boasts a high client retention rate. "Our ratio of repeat to new is seventy-five percent to twenty-five percent," says Sturges. It's no surprise when you consider the personal and attentive care each client receives. Says Sturges, "It's pure escapism coupled with amazing skincare."
One of the spa many decorative displays.
AmorePacific Beauty Gallery and Spa