Neighborhood: Pasadena, an affluent Los Angeles suburb, known for its “old money,” historical charm, and the long-running and cherished Tournament of Roses Parade.
Hook: Despite economic trials and fierce competition, this local staple has retained its 25-year status as the area’s “go-to” spa sanctuary.
In the heart of Pasadena lies a hotspot that has become a staple among L.A.’s affluent—and I’m not talking about the Rose Bowl. Over a span of 25 years, Amadeus Spa, which DAYSPA first profiled way back in 1999, has gradually grown its brand from a small hair salon operation to an 11,000-square-foot, full-service day spa, plus a second, smaller location in the affluent Orange County coastal community of Newport Beach. (The flagship location hopped around a bit before settling into its current location right off the town’s main drag, where it has stood firm for the past 17 years.)
“The spa industry was non-existent when we first started out,” recalls co-owner Tina Mui-Wong. “Consumers have so many options these days, that we’ve had to learn to keep up.”
And the ride hasn’t been easy. Mui-Wong has weathered a storm or two since opening in 1987, such as recent years’ onslaught of fresh local competition, not to mention the crippling economic recession. According to Ingrid Marone, head esthetician for Amadeus Pasadena, the company has had to close two of its Southern California spas in recent years. “It was a sign of the times,” she says.
Despite the closures, Mui-Wong maintains a strong presence at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach in addition to her flagship business, and has recently adopted a “back-to-basics” approach, channeling her staff’s focus toward providing superior service and finding new ways to market their offerings.
“To combat these challenges, you must focus completely on your service and make your time with clients fabulous,” says Mui-Wong. “You need to look at each guest who walks into your spa as a long-term client, and do your best to bring them back to you.”
To keep up with its technologically savvy guests, Amadeus has embraced modern marketing strategies. “We do a lot of online advertising: e-newsletters, Yelp, Google,” explains Marone. “We also offer seasonal and monthly promotions.” The spa has also latched onto the recent craze of daily sites. “We market through Groupon about twice a year,” says Mui-Wong. “These days it’s one of the best ways to introduce yourself to new clients.”
Since setting up shop, Mui-Wong has faced increasingly fierce competition in the form of high-end resort and hotel spas. However, she refuses to waver from the personable business approach that has made Amadeus such a well-known name in the Los Angeles region for the past two decades. For instance, rather than featuring uniform furnishings and layout in each treatment room, the spa’s technicians decorate their working spaces to fit their individual aesthetics and personalities. “After all,” Mui-Wong reasons, “therapists are the closest in contact with guests, and therefore responsible for leaving a lasting impression, whether via exceptional service or the client/practitioner connection.”
Retaining existing clients is also a priority for the Amadeus staff, and in a glamorous city like Los Angeles, it’s no easy task. “Women in L.A. are very conscious of how they look,” notes Mui-Wong. “They turn to fashion magazines to see what celebrities are wearing—and what treatments they’ve had.” She adds that Amadeus’ regular guests include well-known television newscasters, trustees from the University of Southern California and Fortune 500 executives. To continuously offer this discerning and elite client base superior and cutting-edge service that aligns with the latest beauty trends, staff education is key.
“The secret is to make sure you have the best people possible under one roof,” Mui-Wong explains. “We require all technicians to be updated and educated on the latest trends and technologies in their area of expertise, whether be that hair care or styling, skin care, massage or nail care.”
Offering the latest innovations has become of utmost importance to the Amadeus team. Recently, the spa added services utilizing Neutrosis SX-Series Body Sculpting as well as the Facial Rejuvenation Microcurrent System. While investing in such equipment was not cheap, Mui-Wong says the results are well worth the price tag. “Everyone who has tried these machines loves them,” she says. “The microcurrent system gives you an instant facelift without the surgery.”
Although the journey has not always been smooth, Amadeus has certainly managed to remain resilient and relevant within the Los Angeles spa industry. Saved by its top-notch customer service and innovative roster of treatments, this L.A. gem remains a force to be reckoned with. —Angela Melero
Amadeus Spa (pasadena)
Facility: 22 treatment rooms (including one couples’ suite), 22 hair stations, 5 nail stations, 4 pedicure chairs, 2 wet rooms, 2 waiting areas, 2 bathrooms, lunch area
Most popular treatment: European Facial (75 min./$110), Signature Massage (75 min./$145)
Average service ticket: $110
Product lines retailed: Dermalogica, M’lis, Skinceuticals, TIGI