A Vintage Vibe


In this day and age, it’s not easy to find companies that have withstood the test of time. Kiehl’s Since 1851, a popular skin- and haircare company, got its start as an old-world apothecary in New York City’s East Village more than a century ago. While it continues to thrive, it is now poised to leave an indelible mark on the spa industry with the recent opening of Spa 1851. Loyal and longtime fans of the brand can finally enjoy treatments that rely on some of their favorite products. According to Kiehl’s president Chris Salgardo, customers have been asking for years about the possibility of a Kiehl’s spa.

Located on the Upper East Side, the spa takes its name from the year the original Kiehl Pharmacy, Brunswick Apotheke, made its debut. “We wanted to make sure that the design of the space left no doubt that Spa 1851 was indeed a Kiehl’s spa and that it reflected the company’s heritage and 160-year history in New York,” says Salgardo. “We used our apothecary origins and the elements and visual cues from our original East Village Flagship store as inspiration to create a warm, intimate, welcoming space that brings Kiehl’s East Village vibe uptown.” It’s certainly an edgier look than most would associate with the venerable brand. However, it’s not so surprising when you consider the fact that the products have long been coveted by stylemakers such as Andy Warhol, who favored the company’s Blue Astringent. In 2010, the company partnered with artist Jeff Koons for a limited-edition collection. While true to tradition, the spa also reflects the company’s ability to stay relevant through the years.

“The overall design is an eclectic mix of vintage and modern elements with touches of exposed brick, subway tile, and neon, and we worked with antique dealers and reclaimed material specialists to find antique fixtures, our reclaimed vintage tin ceiling, and reclaimed wood flooring,” says Salgardo. “Each of the three treatment rooms has a chandelier reminiscent of those that have hung in the Kiehl’s flagship for generations, and each room has its own unique design, using bold imagery to reflect different aspects of Kiehl’s, such as apothecary, nature, and discovery.” Men will be especially comfortable with a Grooming Lounge just for them. There, they will find barber chairs upholstered in custom motorcycle leather. “This is a nod, of course, to the motorcycles that have long been part of Kiehl’s history,” says Salgardo.  In celebration of adventure sport, Kiehl’s displays a collection of more than 100 vintage motorcycles in stores throughout the world. In 2004, the company debuted the Facial Fuel collection to address the needs of its male clientele.

Also part of Kiehl’s history is providing exceptional service. That’s just one of the reasons it was deemed important to offer a signature greeting. The other reason was to help differentiate the spa from others. As a result, all guests are treated to a combination of aromatherapeutic deep breathing and a massage of the chest, shoulders, neck, and head before their treatment. “We wanted to offer our guests something extra with their treatments, a token of our appreciation for their patronage and something to enhance their experience,” says Salgardo. “New Yorkers often lead such rushed, hectic lives, and when they walk through the doors of Spa 1851, we want to help them leave any stress behind.”

And that they will thanks to a menu inspired by fan favorites. Treatments incorporate Kiehl’s iconic collections, such as Ultra Facial, Cryste Marine, Crème de Corps, and Facial Fuel, as well as core ingredients, such as beta carotene and squalane. Because Kiehl’s is first and foremost a skincare company, its signature facials are at the core of the Spa 1851 experience. Guests can choose among The Ultra Facial ($145, 60 minutes), the Deep Pore Cleansing Facial ($160, 75 minutes), the Anti-Wrinkle Rejuvenating Facial ($190, 75 minutes), the Ultra Riche Revitalizing Firming Facial ($190, 75 minutes), the Men’s Refueling Facial ($145, 60 minutes), and the Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion Facial ($225, 60 minutes). Men can also opt for a number of old-school grooming treatments. For those craving a therapeutic rub, Kiehl’s Superbly Restorative Massage ($70, 30 minutes; $130, 60 minutes; $150, 75 minutes; $210, 1 hour 45 minutes) relieves stressed muscles and hydrates parched skin.

“From the very beginning, Kiehl’s has been committed to providing the most exceptional service to our customers, and Spa 1851 continues that tradition,” says Salgardo. With one part-time and six full-time employees on staff, Spa 1851 is able to accommodate approximately 70 clients in one day. Not surprisingly, the spa’s clientele is a melting pot like the city itself. “New York is our hometown, so we wanted to bring Kiehl’s very first services to our friends here first,” says Salgardo. “This is where it all began, almost 161 years ago. Currently, there are no plans to open additional locations, but never say never.”


Owner: Kiehl’s Since 1851

Spa Manager: Geraldine Abergas

Opened: July 2011



72% female

28% male



950 square feet;

3 treatment rooms



aromatherapy, eyelash extensions, facials, hair and scalp treatments, hand and foot treatments, massage, microdermabrasion, salon services, waxing



The Ultra Facial ($145, 60 minutes)



Ultimate Kiehl’s Body Restoration ($330, 2 hours 30 minutes)



Kiehl’s Since 1851



Silhouet-Tone, SpaBooker