L'Institut Sothys New York



Sothys Paris, the family-owned French skincare company that got its start in Paris in 1946, has said bonjour to America with the opening of L'Institut Sothys New York. The spa, located on 57th Street in Manhattan amid a bevy of luxury storefronts along Fifth Avenue, opened in April and is the company's first signature spa in the U.S.

The 5,000-square-foot three-level space features 10 treatment rooms and is the only comprehensive retail center in the U.S. to carry the entire range of Sothys products, including the face, body, and suncare lines. Sothys brand makeup consultations and specialty treatments imported from the Sothys Beauty Institute in Paris are also offered. Incorporating contemporary style with a French influence, the spa is decorated in cool blues and gleaming whites. "The overall interior of the spa mirrors that of the Paris day spa," explains spa director Trena Ross. "We feature the same treatments, protocols, and design elements."

 LInstitut Sothys New York is located in the heart of Manhattans Fifth Avenue shopping district.
LInstitut Sothys New York is located in the heart of Manhattans Fifth Avenue shopping district.

One of the highlights of the spa is the hydrotherapy room, an expansive area featuring a hydrotherapy tub positioned beneath a vaulted skylight. Spa-goers are bathed in natural light as they undergo hydrotherapy treatments, which can be followed by an in-room massage or body treatment. Ross has a mobile massage table set up in the room to maximize convenience and minimize the need for guests to relocate for multiple treatments. The tub also features a brightly colored interior light, so evening guests receiving treatments are bathed in the soft, changing light of the tub and the glow of candlelight. Ross says this room's moody ambience makes it a favorite relaxation area for clients.

Above Left: A grand staircase leads up to treatment rooms on the top floor of the three-level space. Center: The retail area features the entire Sothys line. Right: The ladies lounge incorporates contemporary style with French influences. Below Left: The spas treatment rooms mirror those of the Paris location.
Above Left: A grand staircase leads up to treatment rooms on the top floor of the three-level space. Center: The retail area features the entire Sothys line. Right: The ladies lounge incorporates contemporary style with French influences. Below Left: The spas treatment rooms mirror those of the Paris location.

A host of treatments, including massage, facials, waxing, thalassotherapy, manicures, pedicures, photo-rejuvenation, and microdermabrasion, are available. Ross says the clientele is mostly a mix of local business people and tourists who are enjoying the Fifth Avenue shopping scene. She also sees a mostly female clientele (men currently make up only about five percent of the spa's visitors), and she finds that many clients are already familiar with the Sothys brand. One woman who works near the spa dropped by recently simply because she was a fan of the skincare products and had been unable to find them in the city. "She knew the brand and was so happy to find us," says Ross.

It is this universal appeal that keeps the staff busy almost round the clock, according to Ross. She says the rooms are in use most of the time, with 20 to 30 clients per day visiting one of the five estheticians, two massage therapists, two nail technicians, and two makeup artists. And a recent write-up of a Sothys eyebrow specialist on the Daily Candy website keeps that esthetician particularly busy—she sometimes sees up to 20 clients per day herself.

L'Institut Sothys New York offers its clients more than 20 signature treatments, all of which incorporate Sothys products and many of which incorporate treatments imported from the Sothys Beauty Institute in Paris. Among the popular Institute treatments are the Lift Defense 2 Dermo Reconstructing Treatment ($175, 75 minutes), a five-phase facial treatment that corrects structural causes of aging and relaxes expression lines; the Aroma-Sothys Nourishing Body Treatment ($135, 75 minutes), a massage treatment incorporating shea butter scented with exotic oils; and the Illuminating Salt Glow ($70, 45 minutes), an invigorating scrub performed with a blend of orange and grapefruit essential oils added to refined marine salts from the coast of Brittany.

LInstitut Sothys New York
LInstitut Sothys New York

All of the treatments at L'Institut Sothys New York are designed to give clients a quintessential French spa experience, something that Ross says is unique in the Big Apple. "The difference between Sothys and other day spas is that we make it a priority to provide the human touch to everything we do," she explains. "We rely less on machines and more on actually touching our clients from the outside in. Our goal is to create a safe and nurturing environment where each person can feel comfortable in his or her own skin."

Another charming addition to the spa is a café modeled after a French bistro that spa director Trena Ross affectionately calls Bistro Sothys. "Every little girl grows up having tea parties with her friends," she says. "Now, grown women can have their own tea parties [before and after] getting their spa treatments."

Indeed, it is the little touches—the European style treatments, the focus on personal interaction, and the charming bistro—that make L'Institut Sothys New York a unique addition to the city's booming spa scene and bring a distinctive Parisian joie de vivre to New York.

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