Something Borrowed, Something New

Ciel's Reception Desk

Ciel opened in February 2009, and while launching a spa in the midst of a devastating economic recession might seem counterintuitive, the luxury hotel outfit was determined to add this temple of pampering to its offerings. “With the spa, we wanted to create a destination—a place that would transcend traditional boundaries of what a spa should be,” says SLS marketing manager Emily Bernstein. “For us, Ciel was a natural and organic evolution from our brand—a gathering place for friends, an exclusive private club and a lounge experience that’s full of surprises.”

Yet, like the majority of spas, Ciel has felt the effects of the international financial crisis. The spa team isn’t talking numbers, but readily admits that immediately following the facility’s grand opening, it was forced to take an unflinching look at the state of the industry. Realizing a dire need to bring in more new clients and inspire long-term relationships, the team took a look at its spa’s distinctive assets and decided to go after the bridal party business in a big way, offering its space as a party venue and providing interesting perks for clients.

One such perk: At Ciel, if a bride-to-be and her bridesmaids book all six of the spa’s treatment rooms, including the couples’ suite, they then make the entire spa their private party venue (paying only for the cost of treatments). The spa offers the full array of services: facials, massages and body treatments (ranging from $35 for a manicure to $1,000 for a super-deluxe suite of treatments). While most bridal party members who have booked the spa have opted for individual treatments, party members are increasingly requesting manis/pedis en masse. “That way they’re able to socialize, making the spa outing more of a group activity,” Bernstein says.