By keeping their doors open, these off-hour spas are shutting out the competition.
At Nite Spa in Venice, California, a trio of new moms gather at 9 p.m. to get pedicures, sip some wine, and compare notes on the challenges of sleep deprivation, overpriced diapers and colicky babies. Later that night, across town at Voda Spa in West Hollywood, a business deal is being made over cocktails in the spa’s The V Room lounge. As the sun rises in New York City, a businesswoman rushes into Hair & Spa Party 24 Hours for a blowout before heading into the office. And by 10 p.m. that night, across the border at NeVaeh Day Spa in Thorold, Ontario, Canada, a weary client winds down after a long day with a therapeutic foot massage.
These are the night spas, the ones who welcome customers between sunset and sunrise. Understanding that hours of operation aren’t a “one-size-fits-all” measurement, night spa owners address the needs of many people’s real-world schedules. Whether they’re providing bedtime treatments to help clients hit the hay more easily, giving busy parents much needed “me time” or tending to night owls who need a beauty fix, these spas have realized the power of the after-hours business model. —By Carrie Borzillo
Hours: Noon-midnight, Tues.-Sun, by appointment only.
Inspiration: Owner Julia Lolita Martin’s revelation came while working at Los Angeles’ Beauty Bar, which offered nail polish changes with cocktails for late-night revelers. “Customers would walk in thinking they could get a full manicure or even a massage, and I thought, ‘Hmmm, there’s a hole in the market for this,’“ recalls Martin. “I decided to open an after-hours spa with a full list of services.”
Clients: “The biggest surprise was that we didn’t get the party crowd,” says Martin. “We got a lot of moms coming in after their babies went to sleep, and a lot of working people too busy to get their beauty services during the day.” The Los Angeles-adjacent-based spa owner also sees her fair share of actresses and models with last-minute beauty needs. “We’ve done some emergency Brazilian waxes and pedicures for actresses who’d just been called for a photo shoot or audition the next day,” she says.
Treatments: Nite Spa’s most common late-night treatment is a massage, and its signature ‘Round The World (50 min./$110; 90 min./$155) is a favorite. This customized service blends Swedish, Thai, lomi-lomi, shiatsu and ayurveda techniques. “Clients like it before bedtime to help them sleep,” Martin explains.
Challenges: “We’ve had to turn away some people who’d been drinking and wanted to get massages, because that isn’t safe,” says Martin. “But it doesn’t happen often. We’re also careful to lock the doors and we have a security company on call 24/7.”
Marketing: Nite Spa’s name tells consumers what they need to know about the spa’s unusual hours. Martin also makes the most of social media, word-of-mouth and Yelp specials. “We do a lot of Facebook and Twitter, asking clients to friend us, like us or follow us, and it also helps that our spa is on a street with a lot of foot traffic,” she says. The spa reaches out to business neighbors as well, encouraging employees at nearby restaurants to come by after work for a discounted pedicure or massage.
What makes it work: After opening in April 2005, Martin quickly learned that she couldn’t sustain this business model with her doors literally remaining open from noon to midnight every day, and a full staff standing by on-site the entire time. Her solution: “We offer appointments 12 hours a day, but by appointment only.” Therapists come in as needed, though there is always an esthetician present. Nite Spa takes its last appointment at 11 p.m. to ensure closed doors by midnight.
Hours: 10 a.m.-midnight, Mon.-Fri./9 a.m.-midnight, Sat.-Sun. (treatments 10 a.m.-10 p.m., daily)
Inspiration: “Our decision to stay open late was conceived so we could cater to the working professional, and provide a space for clients to go later in the evening,” says spa director Dale Howard. “We’re more of a ‘day resort’ and definitely more social than your traditional spa. Our atmosphere is one of a late-night, high-end destination, whether for spa treatments, hot-tubbing or just dinner and drinks at our full bar/restaurant.”
Clients: Since its August 2007 opening, Voda has become a favorite spot for celebrities and business professionals, who conduct meetings in the spa’s lounge, restaurant and sauna area. It’s also couples-friendly. “Our co-ed facilities allow couples minimal separation during their entire spa visit, from their dual scrubs in our poolside treatment room to their massages in double bed suites,” Howard says.
Treatments: Voda’s customers usually come in for a combination of food, bar, sauna, Jacuzzi and a service with a friend. The most popular nighttime treatments, however, are the Swedish Massage (50 min./$95; 80 min./$150; 110 min./$200) and The Voda Glow facial (50 min./$125). “Either service has clients quite relaxed by check-out time,” reports Howard.
Challenges: “The main issue is no one wants to leave, especially if they’ve had a service and are very relaxed,” Howard admits. “When they see there are only a few people left in the spa they want to stay as long as possible. However, we’ve gotten really good at getting most clients to their respective locker rooms by 11:30 p.m.” (The last treatment appointment is at 10 p.m.)
Marketing: “We focus on three areas: online (social media and web); direct email blasts; and up-sales/promotions on the phone or on-site,” says Howard. The stellar press the spa regularly receives also gives them a boost.
What makes it work: “The No. 1 thing is giving people the ability to schedule a service as late as 10 p.m. There are very few spas that do that,” Howard points out. “Also, it’s nice knowing you can stop by, have a drink, get a service, grab a bite to eat and still have time to relax by the pool. It’s the perfect getaway.”
Hours: Variable, but extended on Tues. & Wed., 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Inspiration: “We were noticing that many of our clients weren’t able to rebook regularly due to their hectic work schedules,” says owner Marsha Coppola. “By remaining open until 11 p.m. two nights a week, we made it so much easier to rebook them.”
Clients: “We meet the needs of many different kinds of people,” says Coppola. “We see busy professionals who need to let loose and receive much-needed treatment time they’d put off. We see doctors on call who can take advantage of our late hours since they need to remain within a certain mileage range of the hospital, and we are in that range. And busy working moms love the nights—it’s guilt-free because it’s after dinner and cleanup. And their kids are usually asleep, so husbands aren’t left at home wondering what to do with them. It’s a win-win.”
Treatments: The services most requested for late-night appointments are hair removal, massages and facials. A favorite is the NeVaeh Relaxation Combo (60 min./$99.99), which combines Swedish massage with Thai foot massage. “This is one of the most popular services in the evening because clients are on their feet all day,” says Coppola, who opened her spa in September, 2007. The Dermalogica Core Face Treatment (60 min./$65) is another after-hours bestseller. “Clients can relax and unwind, then leave with no makeup on without worrying about running into someone they know,” Coppola explains, adding, “They can just go home, put on their jammies and not even have to wash their face or unwind before bed.”
Challenges: “I’ve had to limit evening appointments for male clients, due their mistaking us for ‘masseuses’ in the area who advertise that they are open late—but they’re open for a different kind of business,” explains Coppola. “We want to prevent that mistake from happening and keep our staff safe.”
Marketing: “We actually do not advertise or market the fact that we are open evenings,” admits Coppola. “I realize that may sound strange, but clients book months in advance to ensure their evening appointments, so we’re booked 4-6 weeks in advance! For us, it is all either word-of-mouth or clients who happen to notice our extended hours when they are booking online,” she adds.
What makes it work: Being brave and trying it. Staying open just two nights a week helps this spa stand out from the crowd. “I feel like NeVaeh Day Spa is unique in our region of Niagara because no other spa wants to try this,” Coppola notes.
Hours: Open 24 hours, 7 Days a Week
Inspiration: Owner/stylist Jenny Sproch had so much success with her Hair & Spa Party 24 Hours in her home country of Korea that she decided to take it stateside. “My salon in Korea was very popular so when I came to New York, was looking for something new to do and saw no one else was doing this, we tried it out and it’s been great for us,” she says. Sproch has three locations in Korea and two in the Big Apple on posh Madison and Park Avenues, opened June, 2008 and September, 2011, respectively.
Clients: The spa’s clientele runs the gamut from the businesswoman who needs to look good before work to the international traveler on an altered body clock to the late-night party girl who needs a fun ‘do or her digits dolled up before a night out on the town.
Treatments: Blowouts, manicures, pedicures and massages are this spa’s bread and butter. “Women love to come in early for a blow dry or manicure before work,” says Sproch. “New York also has many visitors from other countries in different time zones, and when they can’t sleep, massage helps.”
Challenges: Spa staff keep their eyes peeled for inebriated stragglers who try to visit in the wee hours after the bars close. “I lock my front doors when it’s very late or very early to be safe,” Sproch says.
Marketing: As with Nite Spa, the spa’s name does wonders for its marketing and promotion. When spa-goers search online for late-night spa offerings in the city, Hair & Spa Party 24 Hours is the first to come up.
Attention from media vehicles like The Today Show and New York magazine also helps spread the word. “I don’t spend on promotion because my salon is the only one of its kind in New York. It gets a lot of press because of that,” Sproch says.
What makes it work: To help fill up those odd hours of the night, Hair & Spa Party 24 Hours offers 5% discounts for appointments for 10 p.m. or later.
Carrie Borzillo is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles.
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