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In New York City, The Red Door on Union Square redefines a Manhattan moment

The Red Door Spa on Union Square, NY


For over 100 years the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa has called Fifth Avenue home. Now their new flagship on Union Square sets the standard for New York day spas.

Creating a new concept for this iconic brand, beauty biz veteran Sharilyn Abbajay from Washington, D.C., focused on today’s multi-taking professional woman. This was a unique opportunity, Sahrilyn told me, to update the vision of Elizabeth Arden, founder of The Red Door and its cosmetic company,

Naturally, I welcomed an invitation to experience The Red Door on Union Square.

Ultra-feminine, sleek and subdued, this stylish retreat is more than the sum of its parts. Express treatments for hair and nails are on the street level; serious bodywork and facials downstairs. And a hideaway for men.

It felt like being at a resort spa. The Red Door provides a walk-in shower, dressing area, and grooming amenities. Changing into a fluffy robe, I had time for refreshment prior to treatments. The co-ed lounge looks like the living room of an upscale Manhattan condo (and can be reserved for private parties). Not a chandelier in sight.

On a warm massage table, the hustle and bustle of Manhattan melted away. There are 14 treatment rooms (two for couples to enjoy side-by-side treatments) plus three private "cabines" for express services. No distractions.

The signature Red Door massage incorporates body cleansing and work on tension spots, from feet to shoulder. That was followed by a men’s facial which included a masque to remove impurities. Refreshed, I had to ask the facialist to trim stray hair.

The advantage of a shower and shave before my treatments made the trip to Union Square a complete spa day. For the ladies, a complimentary makeup refresher is offered in the retail area on the ground floor. So
instead of displays, you can play with new products and discuss results with professional colorists.

With 30 locations nationwide, The Red Door’s current corporate headquarters in Connecticut envisions
new locations based on the New York experience. While the Arden products (and others) are used at all Red Door spas, the facilities vary. At the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, and the Chatwal in New York, The Red Door has limited space. Only the Washington location enjoys a terrace for warm-weather relaxation and meal service, plus sauna and steam rooms. Other locations in the Capital area include Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Reston, Vienna, and Tysons Corner.

Coming up: $50 treatments are on tap April 21-27 during the nationwide Spa Week promotion.
Go online to book a 50-minute sampler:

Open seven days a week, the Union Square Red Door in New York is at 200 Park Avenue South (17th Street), steps from a major Subway station. Reservations: 212/388-0222.

Introducing spa icons at the National Press Club on June 24, Sharilyn Abbajay will participate in the 4th annual symposium of the Washington Spa Alliance. Register online:

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