When I got my start in the wellness world almost 20 years ago, there were a few people who immediately stood out as industry bellwethers who had a true impact on the formation, growth, and legitimization of our industry. Barbara Close, founder of Naturopathica, was one of them.
She opened the East Hampton Spa & Healing Center on Long Island in 1995 as a holistic apothecary offering treatments ranging from massages to naturopathic consultations. As an accomplished herbalist, she also created bespoke products using wildcrafted and expertly sourced herbs and essential oils. Those products quickly garnered a cult following and started flying off the shelves. The rest, as they say, is history. From there, Close began to create even more innovative skin-healing products and protocols, and Naturopathica moved quickly into growth mode. Today, there are two Manhattan Spa & Healing Centers, and the clean, effective products can be found in more than 350 spa destinations around the world.
This summer, Close and her team refocused on the company’s origins with a stunning renovation of the flagship East Hampton spa, complete with new treatments, new products, and a lovely new look.
A friend and I recently spent a morning there and discovered that, as always, Naturopathica continues to innovate by remaining true to its holistic roots and use of natural ingredients while also integrating cutting-edge technology to provide discerning guests with tangible, effective treatments.
What We Love
- Elegant and airy new look
- Charming retail area with rotating pop-up offerings
- Effective skincare services combining high-touch and high-tech with natural ingredients
- True to its sustainable ethos, the spa has gone completely paperless in its day-to-day business operations
What Not to Miss
- Defy Facial with upgrades including dermaplaning, microdermabrasion LED, and more
- VIP membership program for locals and year-round residents
- Delicious and healing teas that are thoughtfully concocted to heal and soothe and put you in a serene state of mind pre-treatment.
I visited the spa with a friend who lives in the area who had been there a few times for massages. I quickly informed her that, at least in my experience, the facials are the stars on the menu. My time there quickly proved this assertion correct. I had a spectacular Defy Facial (starting at $250, 60 minutes) with Sunethra Dissanayake, a longtime brand advocate and expert who has been working with the line since her time as an esthetician at The Plaza (New York City).
My professional facial (much needed after having spent the last year-and-a-half doing my own skincare services at home) was meticulously performed and wildly effective. As part of the brand’s focus on high-tech, high-touch service, it included several incredible upgrades, including dermaplaning, HydraFacial microdermabrasion, and LED light, as well as massage, and, of course, healing natural products. Due to my skin’s sensitivity, she incorporated the soothing Marshmallow line of products, which quickly calmed redness. My skin was glowing in a way that it hasn’t in a long time—I popped, makeup-free, into the grocery store post-facial and received several compliments.
My friend was equally impressed and plans to sign up for the membership program, which was designed specifically for local clients and year-round guests. It offers exclusive appointment availability, VIP access to new products and treatment launches, and monthly member rewards.
For those who are familiar with Naturopathica products, the deep blue bottles identify it immediately. When the company decided it was time for a rebrand, it kept the deep blue bottle shade but stepped up the sophistication with an update of packaging and style, as well as the launch of new products. I love the new look, and it fits well into the spa’s aesthetic.
As part of the update, the products were also categorized within four different areas based on physical and mental health benefits to help clients address both the cause of imbalance as well as the symptoms. As such, the extensive range is now categorized as Clear, Chill, Nourish, and Defy.
After seeing how effectively they worked in my facial, my favorites are the Marshmallow & Microalgae Sensitivity Soothing Cream and the Marshmallow & Ceramide Sensitivity Soothing Serum. The two main ingredients—marshmallow and microalgae—are particularly effective at soothing redness and irritation.
According to Devon Lodge, executive director of marketing and sales for spas, the redesign was intended to give the space both a visual and sensorial update. “We’ve combined the luxury experience of Madison Avenue with the comfort, closeness, and relaxed environment that is the true nature of East Hampton,” he says.
The clean, airy look of the new spa is charming and ideally fits into the sophisticated yet laid-back vibe of the Hamptons. The space features sustainable design with Pierre Jeanneret chairs, the brand’s signature herbal library, and Noguchi lighting. The center also features a sunlit modular retail boutique.
Though real estate is certainly at a premium in the Hamptons, I found the use of space to be thoughtful and with plenty of places to relax. The rear area of the spa offered cozy chairs and couches for guests to relax before and after treatments. The front retail area of the spa was also ideally outfitted to encourage guests to explore.
I particularly enjoyed a quick stop at the charming beverage station for Schisandra & Chamomile Adaptogenic Stress Relief tea before perusing the charming retail offerings. Guests can further boost the effectiveness of the teas with a dash of one of the brand’s signature tinctures. Others flock to the delicious water infused with lemon, lime, grapefruit, and mint for which the spa is known.
The world’s most savvy spa operators create a retail experience that both entices guests and encourages them to return. The retail area at Naturopathica was clearly created using brand best practices for merchandising. The rebranded products are beautifully displayed, making it easy for guests to find their favorites and sample new offerings.
What I particularly loved, however, is the pop-up shopping area that was designed specifically to highlight exclusive designer brands, as well as local luxury designers and purveyors. New partners are highlighted on a seasonal schedule, which keeps clients coming back to check out the latest offerings.
When I was there, retail included Potager Soap Co. organic soaps, Yield citronella candles and incense, Fancy Peasant olive oil, Provence Apothecary incense, Maison Marie Louie candles, an assortment of handbags and gifts from Mark Cross, and more.
There are also two signature Naturopathica offerings that are only available at this location—the Calendula Soothing Aromatherapy Candle and Calendula Soothing Facial Oil, which is hand-crafted and made locally by Close, herself. Lodge says that in addition to the signature products, another popular offering is the Holy Basil and Retinol Ageless Night Oil, which seems to particularly appeal to the clientele.
Something to note—the retail area is not inexpensive. As with pretty much everything in the Hamptons, most of the offerings come with a hefty price tag. The same can be said of the treatments, but in my mind, both are worth every penny.
After all, as Lodge says, everything about the spa is customizable to serve the specific needs of its discriminating clients, something that makes it stand out in the Hamptons and around the world. “Unlike traditional spas or facial bars, Naturopathica’s approach to wellness combines bespoke therapies, advanced technology, and personalized ingestible remedies to heal from the inside out, for deeper beauty that touches every cell of the body,” he says. “Our clients’ journey is deeply personal, and we ensure their treatments and various modalities are customized to their individual needs.”