Midtown Manhattan is not where most people would think of retreating to when escaping the hustle of hectic city living. Truth be told, in-the-know spa-goers interested in a little peace and quiet amid the vibrancy of the City that Never Sleeps know what lies beneath a bustling block of Park Avenue—the serenity of Oasis Day Spa. With a second location across town, Oasis has become a neighborhood respite offering up classic spa fare that has developed a loyal following. After 11 successful years in the city, owners and husband-and-wife team Bruce and Marti Schoenberg have taken their winning formula for a successful...well, oasis...out to a more tranquil location.
Last November, the Schoenbergs opened Oasis Day Spa, Westchester just 16 miles away from their two city spas, in Dobbs Ferry, one of New York City's toniest and most tranquil suburbs, and they tried to not change a thing. "The mission is always the same at Oasis," says Bruce. "We aim to offer superior customer service, provide affordable luxury, and feature the latest in advanced spa services." Even with a proven recipe for success, opening a business amid the most dismal economic state in decades has been no easy task. Luckily, with the spa's first anniversary last month, the Schoenbergs can breathe a little easier. "It has been a slower ramp up than our previous openings," says Bruce. "After six months, we finally started seeing the type of growth we were hoping for."
Whether indoors ( below left) or alfresco (pictured above), spa-goers have plenty of places to unwind.
Luring clients over from the New York City locations has helped the spa remain afloat. "More and more, we are seeing guests visit Westchester who are also Oasis customers from Manhattan," says Bruce. "The chance to take a mini spa getaway is very appealing to loyal customers." With 6,500 square feet and 15 treatment rooms, the spa has plenty of space to pamper its guests. Although it features a beautiful balance of natural light, earth tones, and splashes of deep orange hues, the airy interior is not the main draw of the property. Among the three Oasis locations, Westchester is the only one to boast a Rooftop Zen Garden. "The space has just blown everyone away," says Bruce. "Jaws drop when guests tour it for the first time. There is nothing like it in the area."
In addition to housing a treatment tent, which is popular for couples' massages, the outdoor space features a sundeck where guests can enjoy the fresh air and views of the surrounding hills before and after treatments. According to Bruce, it's also a great spot to enjoy the red-tailed hawks that circle the skies during the day and "provide an amazing nature show." Besides its idyllic charm, the rooftop is the setting of Oasis's popular Saturday morning Sunrise Yoga sessions, which is offered when the weather permits, as well as an event space for parties of up to 100.
While the three spas feature different ambiences, they invite guests to experience the same signature treatments. "Because of the proximity of all our locations to one another, we want to always be able to provide consistency in service offerings," says Schoenberg. "Westchester offers all the same advanced skincare, massage, wet room, and nailcare services as our other locations. This also allows us to provide more consistent training to our staff, who then become more flexible as to where we may need to send them to work."
The well-trained staff of 34, 18 of whom are full time, is equipped to handle up to 160 clients per day. According to Bruce, everyone at the spa abides by a "strict no hard-sell policy" and avoids pushing services or products on guests. "We try to find out what guests not only need but also want to achieve," he says. "We want to earn our guests' trust and in subsequent visits they will then listen to suggestions we make."
A common suggestion from Oasis staffers is that spa-goers stay awhile. "One of the primary marketing aspects we promote is that our guests, for their own well-being, need to escape for a few hours," says Bruce. "We encourage them to bring a book and take a nap in the Rooftop Zen Garden." The spa also offers day-long packages, which gives clients a chance to try out many different treatments at discounted prices. The most popular is the Total Body Wellness Deluxe Package ($485, 5 hours 30 minutes), which includes a 90-minute Swedish Massage, a Lavender Dead Sea Salt Scrub, a Seaweed Wrap, a 60-minute Customized Facial with a Revitalizing Eye Treatment, and a Spa Manicure and Pedicure.
For clients who can only get away for a few hours at a time, the Muscle Meltdown Massage ($120, 60 minutes; $155, 90 minutes) is a popular pick. A great way to escape dropping temperatures, the massage incorporates moist heat through the use of hot packs that are strategically placed on the body to melt away any knots. Also, the Stone Therapy Pedicure ($70, 60 minutes) is another favorite toasty treat. Following hot-rock reflexology, toes are primped, pampered, and polished to perfection.
Sunrise Yoga is a popular way to enjoy the Rooftop Zen Garden.
While customers tend to stick to the classics, Bruce does pay attention to trends. "We are always looking for proven services and products that will enhance the lives of our guests," he says. "We are constantly educating ourselves on what is out there, as well as what is in the pipeline." A recent addition to the menu is Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), the Spa Method, which targets individuals who are recovering from sports-related injuries or looking to increase flexibility to prevent future injury by using isolated movements to reach the deepest tissues of the body.
Earth tones throughout the spa (as seen in the locker room) create a cozy environment for guests.
As the menu continues to grow, so do plans to grow the Oasis portfolio. With hopes to expand into Long Island, NY, and Connecticut, Bruce and Marti have figured out how to create flourishing businesses, and their secret to success seems simple enough: good communication and cooperation with staff, customers, and vendors. "I cannot emphasize the importance of showing respect to everyone you deal with," says Bruce. "You never know with whom you're speaking."
OASIS DAY SPA, WESTCHESTER
(Dobbs Ferry, NY)
SPA OWNER: Bruce and Marti Schoenberg
OPENED: November 2008
6,500 square feet; 15 treatment rooms
-hand and foot treatments
Muscle Meltdown Massage ($120, 60 minutes; $155, 90 minutes)
MOST EXPENSIVE OFFERING
Total Body Wellness Deluxe Package ($485, 5 hours 30 minutes), which includes a Swedish Massage, a Customized Facial, a Revitalizing Eye Treatment, a Lavender Dead Sea Salt Scrub, a Seaweed Wrap, and a Spa Manicure and Pedicure.