Sunday, October 11, 2009



Words, Judith Ecochard
Images courtesy of Susan Ciminelli and J. Ecochard

We believe in karma.

And not surprisingly, so too does the warm, arms always open…and energetic--- Susan Ciminelli.

A pioneer in holistic modalities of skin care, world traveler/absorber of cultures, and trained healer of all things that cherish and pamper the body (and inner well being), Ciminelli suffered what some would call a major setback when her destination day spa atop chi-chi department store Bergdorf Goodman, was burnt to the bones, courtesy of an errant dryer being used by the neighboring hair salon.

We vaguely remember going there years ago.

Well, once the elevator opened onto her new spacious spa/ salon located in a just off Park Avenue, easy to get to locale, we immediately exhaled with relief.

And we thought, this upscale and welcoming environs is unforgettable!

The bright reception area scented with cleansing incense, is filled with interesting objects acquired on far-lung journeys. It’s an oasis of calm…and beckons one to explore the inner sanctum that contain 11 treatments rooms (including a wet treatment room the size of a NYC studio- with an oversized private shower), a separate relaxation area, a spotless women’s lounge lockers and showers, an Infrared Sauna which releases toxins from the body--- and a delightful outdoor deck---all on one side…and a state of the art, full service hair salon on another.

There’s even a studio set up for personal or small group Yoga / Pilates lessons.

But we came for one of the signature facials…an “Aromatherapy” - deep cleansing nourishing- stress busting -one hour of bliss.

Holistically designed custom “rituals” (in a matter of speaking), products (plant-based with no artificial anything) and ‘good for you’ treatments (like reiki, shiatsu, hot stone massages, waxing, and more techy touches like photofacials etc)--- are hallmarks of any Ciminelli service, whether administered by her or anyone of her highly trained estheticians, who on average, have worked for this amazing woman---for twelve years!!!

And even though we are so not the touchy feely type…the MO of “self empowerment”…that “…strives to enable clients to break free of pre-conceived habits, making them realize that conscious nutritional changes and stress management choices can lead to greater vitality, beauty and connectivity.”

Makes sense…kinda like- you are what you eat- to the tenth power.

For our facial, we were ensconced on a heated, cushiony treatment bed/ chair, buried under super soft towels---in a candle lit room decorated with crystals and other spiritually endowed objects. There was soothing New Agey/ classic music in the background…but we never felt our eardrums imposed on. Any electronics causing outside noise (i.e. cellphones) ---are banished to the off position.

Naturally, we zoned out.

We can’t remember how many soothing essential oils, or hydrating algae masks were expertly massaged into our skin…as a gentle steam opened our pores. And the shoulder/neck/scalp rubdown with a Marine Lotion ($95)- was glorious.

After it all, we felt relaxed, of course…but better yet, our skin had that “juicy” hydrated glow instead of the up all night drained funereal pallor we walked in with.

Ciminelli gave us a rundown on the products used in our multi-step facial…when we emerged.

Not surprising, sea sourced ingredients and essential oils figured prominently in our sensitive skin regimen, that included a gets it done, gentle Cleansing Milk ($60) ---bumped up with an Algae Deep Cleanse ($65), dabs of Toning Formula ($105) and a splash of Seawater ($55)…that sunk right in.

We were warned to lay off the Retinoids---as it thins our skin (YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!).

Continuing the spa experience at home, is a popular concept…rightfully so. Susan Ciminelli’s book “The Ciminelli Solution: A 7 Day Plan For Radiant Skin”---that’s an easy read that talks up, not down to oneself…is full of practical, affordable options for eating (yummy recipes), exercise (no special equipment required) and make it yourself, no brainer masks, scrubs etc- that somewhat mimic the effectiveness actual visits to this NYC sanctuary.

For sure…the number one Susan Ciminelli product “…that puts back the unbroken energy” is the firming Bamboo Ginger Scrub ($75) that gently cleans, gets rid of the scaly stuff ---reducing those pores we hate to look at while stimulating collagen to grow---

All Good Things.

We liked how the scrub is packed with the sine qua non of ingredients like Aloe Vera, Ginger (of course), sugar cane, maple, Vitamin E, and essential oils from Oranges, Carrot Seed etc…and


BTW: There’s a ‘by appointment’ left coast branch in Montecito (805 695-8448) and one at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara. Susan Ciminelli herself is VERY in demand by Hollywood types that are part of the family of loyal clientele.

ADDRESS: 120 East 56th Street, 2nd Floor, 212 750-4492
HOURS: M-F 9:00AM – 7:00PM, Sat. 9AM – 6:30 PM, Sun. 12:00 PM-6:00PM

INFO: - Including Product /Service Specials, Events, and Packages SUSAN CIMINELLI