NEW YORK — Luxury-priced skin and body care line Laboratoire Remède is expanding into the spa business.

The brand’s parent, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, will open the first Remède Spa at the St. Regis Aspen in Colorado in December, to be followed next year by locations at St. Regis hotels in New York and San Francisco. The Aspen project is the cornerstone of a $37 million overhaul of St. Regis Aspen and St. Regis Residences, which also will be unveiled this December.

Tyler Morse, president of Bliss, which boasts two product lines — the eponymous Bliss collection, and Laboratoire Remède — noted that the San Francisco Remède Spa will be opened in late June, while the New York spa will make its bow at a to-be-determined date next year. The San Francisco door’s opening will coincide with the opening of that city’s new St. Regis Hotel.

The 15,000-square-foot Remède Spa in Aspen is designed to be luxurious on a full scale — right down to the champagne and truffles offered in the spa’s waiting area. The facility will include 15 treatment rooms — set up for facials, massages, body treatments, manicures, pedicures and waxing — as well as a large fitness center and a retail store, which will hawk beauty products, apparel and home products.

Each of the spa treatments will boast at least one Laboratoire Remède product in its use — for instance, a body wrap features Hydra Contour Complex, an existing exfoliator in the Remède line.

The facility also is slated to include a couples’ massage room, a hydrotherapy tub, a whirlpool, a steam room and a nail studio — not to mention a few Aspen-style New Age touches, such as an oxygen bar and cold plunge pool.

And Morse and his team are not sitting still when it comes to adding to Remède’s product line — 15 new skin care stockkeeping units are expected to bow in 2005. Like their sister products, they are expected to enter existing doors, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Macy’s and Sephora, among others. As well, Remède has just launched an information-only Web site, which will begin conducting e-commerce in January.Since acquiring a majority stake in Remède and its sister brand, Bliss, from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in January for an estimated $18 million, Starwood has made it clear that it intends to maximize all possible synergies between its hotel businesses and its spa brands. As reported, the company has nearly finished production on a Bliss Spa at its W Hotel location on 49th Street here, and plans a number of additional Bliss Spas globally. As well, Starwood also has cranked up an amenities program that already has put Bliss products in more than 5,500 of its guest rooms globally. But, as Morse has said, there aren’t plans to make his brands the Starbucks of the spa world — both Bliss and Remède are slated to make a splash globally, but a controlled one. — Julie Naughton



Sephora Heads to China

PARIS — Sephora has set its sights on China.

The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned perfumery chain will enter the market when it opens its first Chinese store in Shanghai in May. A handful of other doors, including one in Beijing, may follow, said Sephora Group chairman Pierre Letzelter, though he declined to reveal further rollout details.

Sephora has teamed with local manufacturer and retailer Shanghai Jahwa United to tackle the Chinese market.

“[The company] has an excellent knowledge of retail, in addition to knowing the ins and outs of local administration which, while not difficult, is extremely complex,” said Letzelter. “We have a business that is profitable in Europe and the U.S. China represents a very good image of the Asian clientele, particularly with regard to skin care. For Sephora this is a very exciting test.”

Letzelter refused to specify financial objectives, but noted that “given the real estate prices per square meter, we’re going to have be very productive, but I have no worries — the market is definitely there.”— Tina Isaac

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