Top Design: Le Posh Salon Spa Lounge in Los Angeles

Le Posh's cozy lounge

How does a full-service spa and salon distinguish itself on a gritty stretch of Sunset Boulevard that’s also home to a tattoo parlor, smoke shop and 7-Eleven? For Le Posh Salon Spa Lounge, the solution was to become the speakeasy of spas. Because hidden behind Le Posh’s mysteriously draped windows and nondescript concrete-and-wood exterior is a surprisingly luxurious and buzzy space that transports guests, making them feel as glamorous—and as cared for—as the young Hollywood celebrities who have raved about the spa since its grand opening in February 2011.

“When first-time clients walk in, they often say, ‘I never would think this spa was on Sunset Boulevard,’” says co-owner Anton Akopian. “It’s a great compliment, because we sat with our architects for many months, going over every detail, discussing every room from the customer’s point of view and asking, ‘How will they feel when they walk in?’”

All that planning has paid off with a facility that feels cozy yet wide open, exciting yet zen—and by far one of the best overall designs that the editors reviewed when selecting DAYSPA's Top Design award winner.

Previously office space that had to be completely gutted, Le Posh spreads across 5,500 square feet comprising a spa, salon, nail lounge, boutique, bar/café and a VIP suite. Akopian and co-owner Arman Zatikyan partnered with award-winning design and architectural firm Tag Front to create what Akopian has oft-dubbed “an oasis from the chaos”; Takara Belmont provided the chairs and shiatsu shampoo units in the hair lounge; and Living Earth Crafts furnished the comfy massage tables.

The facility's overall look and feel blend seamlessly with the posh and unexpected non-design touches, such as DJs, free wi-fi and valet parking. A light fixture of bubble-glass that hangs from the ceiling like dozens of translucent sea anemones is meant to evoke the lightness of the space and the bubbles in the glass of complimentary champagne guests receive upon arrival.

For Akopian, the mental transition guests make when going from the hair lounge to the spa was also an important design consideration. As such, birch trees guide the way! “That’s our birch walk,” he says of the wall of thin, leggy trees that stand at attention along the length of one hallway. “When you go through the red door at the end of the walk, you enter a completely separate area. The salon is busy and fast-paced, while the spa is calm and relaxing. We have a live DJ in the salon every Friday and Saturday but you can’t even hear it in the spa because of the way we designed the walls.”

And Le Posh certainly knows its clientele: The separate VIP room—with a flat-screen TV, lockers, and all that’s needed to provide massage, facial, hair and nail services—is perfect for celebrities or couples.
But good design is nothing if not functional. To that end, Le Posh created efficiencies for staff, such as sinks and plenty of storage in the treatment rooms; vacuums hidden on the side of hair stations to make cleanup easy and dustpan-free; and a separate shampoo area with shiatsu chairs and ceiling TVs
to keep guests entertained and pampered even during washes.

“Everything about the design was handpicked by me and my business partner,” Akopian says. “We wanted to make sure that when guests walk in, they'll be completely comfortable and satisfied.” Design mission accomplished. —Lisa Sweetingham