There’s a new power player in the luxury spa scene in New York City. Last summer, Spa de La Mer quietly debuted two floors below ground in the sparkling Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York in midtown Manhattan. And this subterranean oasis is quickly proving itself to be a hidden treasure to locals and visitors alike. “The spa industry in New York is quite competitive,” says spa director Aylin Baturay. “Between the day spas and medical spas, you can get anything and everything you want here. It’s important to set yourself to a high standard and to set yourself apart from the rest.”
Spa de La Mer has certainly succeeded when it comes to upholding lofty standards, providing a lavish, inspiring experience in a beguiling setting. A stunning black-and-white-tiled 55-foot pool welcomes guests as they step off the elevator and walk down the Italian marble hallway toward reception. Lined with plush cabana alcoves, the pool area is kept at a balmy 85 degrees and does double-duty as a relaxation room for spa-goers and a haute hangout for hotel guests. Across the hall, the Fitness Center features state-of-the-art strength and cardio equipment, as well as a studio for private yoga and Pilates instruction.
Including the pool and fitness center, the boutique spa is only 1,900 square feet but no opportunity for luxe amenities is overlooked, proving that good things come in small packages. “Hotel designers Gilles & Boissier envisioned the spa to be reminiscent of a luxurious European seaside retreat,” says Baturay. “Rich bespoke materials in warm Champagne and bronze tones are inspired by the signature ingredient found in all La Mer products—the Miracle Broth.” The Miracle Broth is a combination of fermented sea kelp and other natural ingredients, which are infused with light and sound energies.
In each of the four treatment rooms, hand-painted abstract kelp murals by New York artists Lynda White and Jeff Wood remind clients of the luxury skincare brand’s connection to the sea. “Our treatment rooms are very soothing with the beautiful kelp murals and vitrines with Miracle Broth decanters,” says Baturay. “And of course, you can’t have a spa at the Baccarat Hotel & Residences without Baccarat sconces in each treatment room.” The custom crystal sconces illuminate the cozy rooms with a cascade of soft, sparkling light and geometric shadows. Crystal details can also be found in the men’s and women’s locker rooms, each of which features a changing area, a steam room, a vanity, and showers. Connecting the treatment rooms, the bright hallways and high ceilings erase any traces of the underground locale.
The treatments are sure to illuminate spa-goers, as well. Relying solely on La Mer products, the bespoke services appeal to their sensibilities. “Our typical guests are people traveling on business, squeezing in a little relaxation time into their busy schedules,” says Baturay. A popular option among clients is The La Mer Baccarat Facial ($350, 90 minutes). Exclusive to Spa de La Mer, this multisensory treatment was created to bring the story of the Baccarat crystal to life. It incorporates a cleansing diamond-powder exfoliation and a facial massage with red and blue Baccarat crystals, but the highlight is the exclusive mask relying on a highly concentrated dose of La Mer Miracle Broth, only available at this spa. Throughout each treatment therapists follow a four-step sequence—moisturize, sculpt, renew, and soothe—to encourage healthy skin. Baturay says she and her staff are in the process of revising the menu to reflect feedback from clients and incorporate more exclusive services, though the current selection of facials, massages, and body treatments aren’t expected to change drastically.
Also not fluctuating is the team’s dedication to excellence. To meet the needs of its luxury clientele, a well-trained staff of two full-time and eight part-time employees can comfortably accommodate 24 guests daily. “I truly feel blessed to work here with the team,” says Baturay. “We all understand how lucky we are to be here, and that really shows in the work that we do. It starts the moment clients walk in until the moment they walk out. Guests are getting these fantastic experiences.” In addition to providing impeccable service, the team also has access to an impressive and highly sought-after retail product, with the full La Mer line for face and body available for sale at reception. “Being a spa branded by a skincare line, our retail plays a huge role here,” says Baturay. “All of our facials are done utilizing only La Mer products. On average, our spa guests will take at least one La Mer product home with them. And we actually have hotel guests who will come in just to stock up on their La Mer regimen.”
Promoting the healing hideaway is also a focus in anticipation of the official grand opening later this year. Baturay has plans for a dedicated website, a social media strategy, and more to get the word out. But with a luxe location, an adored product line, and a stellar spa team, it won’t be hard to prove that Spa de La Mer is certainly a diamond—or, more accurately, crystal—in the rough.
Owner: Sunshine Group
Spa Director: Aylin Baturay
Opened: July 2015
1,900 square feet; 4 treatment rooms
Booker, Comphy Co, Earthlite, H&A Clarke, Technogym, Woodway, Wattbike
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) (New York City)
Gilles & Boissier (Paris)
WTS International (Rockville, MD)