Urban Renewal

For more than 100 years, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa on Fifth Avenue in New York City has been known as a mecca for some of the city’s most indomitable doyennes (though it did move to a posh new location in January 2012). Now, the well-established brand is modernizing yet again with the debut of The Red Door–Union Square, cool new downtown digs that pair the iconic style of the uptown outpost with the hip, youthful vibe of this trendy neighborhood. “The design concept channels Elizabeth Arden’s legacy as a strong, quintessential New York brand with a nod to its history and strong urban connection,” says Inga Pross, vice president of marketing at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. “The blend of the young, energetic neighborhood and the decades-old landmark building creates the perfect backdrop for a modern brand while keeping a strong tie to its history.”

The new spa, a two-story, 10,000-square-foot retreat that is reminiscent of a luxe townhouse, carries on the Arden legacy but with a twist. The classic Red Door cherry red is used as an accent throughout, including red enamel on the front doors, rouge-colored furniture, and robust red blooms. Additionally, a dramatic gold-faceted feature wall references a classic Elizabeth Arden cosmetic compact. But the spa also offers a sleek contemporary style with clean, modern fixtures and furniture. “This new Red Door concept aims to be the modern equivalent of a women’s club, combining uptown chic with downtown cool, all within an aspirational space,” says Pross. “The objective of the new location was to re-introduce the Elizabeth Arden brand by creating a relevant flagship beauty destination for young, professional, urban women.”

The spa features two levels that cater to two very different types of clients—those who are on the go and those who have time to unwind. The street level, dubbed SpeedUPStairs, features a beauty bar, a blow-dry bar, a makeup and lash bar, and a nail salon. There, clients can partake in express services highlighted in the Speed Services Menu, which offers a selection of 30-minutes-or-less treatments with creative names that “pay homage to Elizabeth Arden’s distinctly New York City heritage but with a modern, clever twist,” says Pross. For example, the 25-minute In a New York Minute facial services include the Queens Expressway ($80), an extraction-free quickie facial; the Urban Renewal ($125) microdermabrasion service; and the Bree-Zee Pass ($125) mini oxygen facial. Fifteen-minute prettifiers include the Westside Eyeway ($25) collagen eye service, the Lady Liperty ($25) lip facial, and the SOHO2 ($25) oxygen blast. Other highlights include a variety of New York Waxi Service hair removal options, the Flat-Ironed blow-dry bar, and the Mani-Hattan nail offerings. “For the multi-tasking woman-on-the-go, several of these services can be performed at once, so she can be in and out in a New York minute,” says Pross.

The lower level, called CalmDOWNStairs, features 14 spacious treatment rooms, a cafe, inviting men’s and women’s lounges, and a cozy relaxation zone, as well as a more expansive salon area. Each of the treatment rooms on the lower level is numbered and has red leather and brass studded doors, another version of the iconic Red Door. Treatment rooms feature molded porcelain-tile wainscoting, textured fabric on the walls, and grey paneled lacquer millwork, as well as coffered ceilings with recessed lighting and sconces with traditional lampshades to add soft, glowing light while guests enjoy their services. “Guests can indulge in customized facials and massages, experience a professional cut and color, enjoy a cappuccino at the cafe, or simply relax in the decompression lounge,” says Pross.

Clients also have access to rather extensive retail offerings, as the location is home to Elizabeth Arden’s Global Flagship Boutique and features skincare and color products from the Elizabeth Arden and Red Door Spa Professional lines. Among the popular highlights are two new technologies—Custom Color Foundation, in which a specialized skin-matching foundation is created to match a client’s skintone, and the Custom Skin Reader, a tool that provides detailed facial and skin feature analysis to generate recommendations for products that address each client’s individual skin concerns. Plus, in addition to carrying the complete line of Elizabeth Arden cosmetics, fragrance, and skincare, the spa retails a number of skin-, body-, and haircare lines, as well as a home fragrance and lifestyle category with a selection of candles and neck pillows. There truly is something for everyone, according to Pross. “The Red Door combines uptown chic with downtown cool for an unmatched experience for today’s New Yorker,” she says. “A home away from home, the spa offers an opportunity to plug in or unplug while getting pampered.”

So far, New Yorkers seem to love this cool new Red Door outpost, hailing from throughout the city to check it out. The spa tends to see around 175 guests daily but can handle 450 per day at capacity. “Clientele ranges from local urbanites visiting for a quick blow-dry before a night out to celebrities looking to unwind and be pampered,” says Pross. “And of course, the Red Door welcomes guests who are visiting New York City from all over the world. There is a casual accessibility to this space that is both aspirational and inviting.”

Still, the Red Door team, which is made up of 70 staff members, is working hard to spread the word even more with a grassroots marketing strategy designed to attract 25- to 45-year-olds who value their wellbeing and also use technology as a tool, according to Pross. Among the key initiatives are social media specials, such as a recent March promotion in which guests received $10 off a blow-dry service when they snapped a post-blowout selfie and tagged it #TheRedDoorGal. The spa team also ventures out to the Union Square farmer’s market, which is located across the street, to distribute special offers and create buzz. Local outreach is also growing, with connections to nearby hotels, universities, corporations, and groups that drive awareness and cross-pollination. Plus, banners, subway entrance panels, and phone kiosks throughout Union Square feature ads highlighting the spa.

And once a guest experiences the spa, Pross believes they will soon feel right at home. “The atmosphere is uplifting and modern—the music, the scent, the lighting—at every turn the consumer knows ‘this is my kind of place,’” she says. “The guest experience and quality of service is always our top priority, and we want to ensure that each guest leaves us feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and beautiful.” It’s a feeling that lasts much longer than a New York minute.

Owner: Elizabeth Arden


Spa Director:

Amanda Schmiege


Opened: December 2013



95% female

5% male



10,000 square feet; 16 treatment rooms



aromatherapy, couples’ treatments, eyelash extensions, facials, hair and scalp treatments, hand and foot treatments, makeup application, massage, microdermabrasion, nailcare, prenatal services, reflexology, salon services, waxing



Red Door Signature Facial ($140, 50 minutes) and the Red Door Signature Massage ($140, 50 minutes; $200, 80 minutes)



Ultimate Arden Facial ($265, 80 minutes)



Aromatherapy Associates, CND, Elizabeth Arden, Essie, Gehwol, Keratin Complex, Kérastase, Phytomer, Pureology, Red Door Spa Professional



Belvedere, Book4Time, Diamond Americas, Living Earth Crafts, Monarch Cypress, P-Ryton, Takara Belmont, Yeah Baby



TPG Architecture (New York City)