NEW YORK — There will soon be a lot more Bliss to go around.
When the spa’s former majority owner, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, sold its 70 percent stake in Bliss in January to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. for an estimated $18 million, it set a chain of events in motion that will lead to more Bliss locations around the world. That’s because the beauty brand’s new owners plan to install Bliss Spas in a number of its upcoming W Hotels worldwide — and plan to retrofit several existing locations to include Bliss. Starwood also is beginning a product rollout to its existing W Hotels, a move that will eventually install Bliss products as amenities in some 5,500 of its guest rooms globally. Bliss also will be a part of next week’s Olympus Fashion Week here.
Founded by Marcia Kilgore in 1996, Bliss started as a SoHo spa with word-of-mouth recommendations that led to months-long waiting lists. Kilgore, who recently gave birth to her first child, remains on board as chief creative consultant, with responsibilities including creating new treatment trends, developing products and writing catalogue copy. Kilgore continues to be involved on a daily basis and is now working closely with Tyler Morse, the brand’s new president, who has an aggressive growth strategy in mind for Bliss.
Morse, a former investment banker with a Harvard MBA who was at one time an assistant to Starwood founder and chairman Barry Sternlicht, was named president of Bliss in April. And he’s the first to admit that Bliss has come a long way in its eight years of existence. Before founding Bliss, Kilgore had owned and operated a facial-and-nail salon called Let’s Face It. Soon afterward, she decided to branch out into body treatments and opened Bliss’ first location in SoHo.
More Bliss spots followed, including a 57th Street location opened during the LVMH years — in the 57th Street LVMH office building that holds the U.S. corporate offices of Givenchy, Guerlain and Christian Dior — and a London location opened in November 2001. Five QuickBliss spa service stations, which offer abbreviated versions of Bliss’ facials, waxes and nail services, are operated in department stores at present: Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship here; Bloomingdale’s SoHo; Macy’s West South Coast Plaza in California, and Harrods and Harvey Nichols in the U.K.
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