By Stephanie Ila Silver-Silberstein


The first and only time I’ve been in Paris was back in 1997. I was backpacking, sleeping in hostels and subsisting on not much more than water and bread. French bread, yes, but bread nonetheless. I only understood French luxury and indulgence as an observer. So it’s nice to know that I can experience some of that Parisian decadence right here in Manhattan at the world-renowned spa, L’Institut Sothys Paris (


Established in Paris in 1946, Sothys is a leader in professional skincare. Their products are sold in over 80 countries and their exclusive beauty treatments are offered at their spas throughout the world. The New York City Sothys is conveniently located around the corner from Bergdorf’s and provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan. The modern design of the spa provides a serene environment: Hamptons meets MOMA. Wearing a fluffy white terry-cloth robe, I felt calmed by the soothing color scheme of white, cream and seafoam while ascending the grand spiral staircase.
The spa offers a comprehensive menu of services that range from the obvious (i.e. mani, pedi, facial, massage, make-up application, etc.) to the more obscure. I opted for the latter. The Slimness Worship treatment combines massage, exfoliation, and a heated algae body wrap to reduce the visual aspect of cellulite and to smooth and refine the body contour in order to give a slimming effect.

Though no miracles occurred, and I’m a far cry away from bringing out my string bikini, I did feel as though my skin was slightly firmer, smoother and a bit more pleasing to the eye following the treatment. And thanks in large part to the massage portion of the treatment, I also felt rejuvenated, refreshed as well as deliciously relaxed. This treatment also works wonders to lessen bloating, and in turn, I was left feeling a tad dehydrated. This is probably because the mineral rich marine products, as pungent and tingly as they were, washed away all of the toxins from my skin and left it ready to be hydrated with water. This treatment can be considered a supplement (not a substitute) to healthy diet and exercise and getting the treatment on a fairly regular basis is highly recommended.

Always looking for new and exclusive ways to pamper their clients, Sothys has just introduced the new Orient Essence Ceremony. According to Beauty News’ CS, this treatment, “makes your skin feel like royalty.” She says, “My expert masseuse, Sarah Cameron, warned me that if I were expecting the traditional “massage,” I would be in for a disappointment. More a luxurious and fragrant exfoliation than a deep tissue Swedish treatment, the ceremony starts with your skin applied with a proprietary gommage exfoliant that is completely granule free. The paste quickly dries and is peeled off, and you’re ushered into a nice, steamy shower. Once you are squeaky clean, the masseuse glides hot stones wrapped in cloth and moistened with essential Asian oils all over your body to smoothen and remove dead skin cells. The result is healthy, soft and gently fragrant skin.


Sothys provides an extensive line of exclusive skincare, make-up and nail products, and features the Digi-Esthetique massage method in all of their exclusive Institute Treatments. This holistic approach (and in facials, in particular), makes the New Hydroptimale TH3 Ultimate Hydration Facial and the Oxyliance Anti-Pollution Treatment as effective in their results as they are in relaxing you. The Hydroptimale facial teaches your skin to auto-regulate its water balance and maintain its moisture reservoir while the Oxyliance treatment stimulates cellular breathing and energizes cellular activity.


Whether you want hydrotherapy, a Vichy shower, a body wrap or a full-body exfoliation using Dead Sea salts, Sothys is a therapeutic haven for all things relaxing, detoxifying and Parisian. As you emerge from the spa back to 57th Street, I’m not sure which will glow more – the inner or the outer you.
37 West 57th Street (between 5th and 6th Ave)

Originally published January 2007
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