Bliss (spa)

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Blissworld, LLC.
Limited liability corporation
Genre Spa and Retail Product Company
Founded New York City, U.S. (1996)
Founder Marcia Kilgore
Headquarters New York City, United States
Number of locations
Area served
North America, United Kingdom
Products Bath, Body and Skincare
Services Facial, Massage, Body treatment, Manicure, Pedicure and Waxing
Parent Steiner Leisure Ltd.

Bliss is a multi-channel spa and retail product company headquartered in Downtown New York. The company retails its own line of bath, body and skincare products through its Bliss catalog, website, Bliss spa stores and at international luxury retailers including Bloomingdale's, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Selfridges and Sephora.[1]


Bliss spa was founded in 1996 by Marcia Kilgore, a Saskatchewan, Canada native who moved to Manhattan in 1987 to attend Columbia University. During college, she became a personal trainer to make money. Soon after she decided to take a course in skincare, largely because she had personally suffered from acne since her preteen years. She began giving facials to her friends out of her East Village apartment.[2][3] She opened her first single-room office in New York’s Soho district in 1991, followed by the opening of a three-room mini-spa called Let’s Face It! in June 1993.[4][5] To accommodate increasing demand, Kilgore opened the first Bliss Spa in SoHo in July 1996.[6]

In March 1999, the luxury products group, LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), acquired a majority stake in Bliss spa for a reported $30 million.[7][8] It was LVMH’s first North American acquisition,[3] and a break with their previous strategy of pursuing European prestige brands.[9] In December 1999, LVMH opened a second location, Bliss 57 on East 57th Street.[3]

Two years later, in November, 2001, Bliss opened its first international spa, Bliss London. The next year the company launched its first QuickBliss spa service station at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge in London, offering an abbreviated menu of fast facials, waxing and nail services.

In January 2004, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide acquired Bliss spa from LVMH for a reported $25 million in cash.[10] As part of the acquisition, Starwood launched Bliss Spas in several of its W Hotels in an effort to move its W hotel brand into the resort business. The first to be opened, that same year, was Bliss 49 in the W New York in New York City. During the next two years spas were opened in the company's hotels in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas.[11]

In April 2006, JetBlue Airways partnered with Bliss spa, in an effort to fill seats in competitive transcontinental markets.[12] Bliss amenity kits were distributed to passengers on overnight flights between Western states and the East Coast for a one-year period.

Bliss continued to expand within the hotel chain, opening in Atlanta, Scottsdale and Hong Kong in 2008, a second Atlanta location, Doha, Hoboken, and Ft. Lauderdale in 2009, and St. Petersburg in 2011.

In January 2010, Steiner Leisure Limited completed its $100 million acquisition of Bliss from Starwood.[13]


Bliss spa is often credited for starting the mid 1990s spa boom.[14] Its products and services are market with humorous names and slogans,[4] and by a playful "Blissgirl" character illustration which appears on products, catalogs and the company website. She is almost always dressed in a signature white towel and Bliss’ Softening Socks and Glamour Gloves.


Advertised as "the young, modern antithesis to stuffy, intimidating spas",[3] the spas include rhythm & blues music, a brownie buffet, and "movie-while-you-manicure" nail stations. The spa has attracted celebrity clientele including Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna.[3]


Bliss sells a line of beauty and health products, many of which are meant to allow customers to recreate the spa experience at home.[4][15]



  1. ^ "Starwood Follows Its Bliss With Spa Chain". HighBeam Research Inc. September 3, 2004. Retrieved May 23, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Make a statement. Your own". Karastan. Archived from the original on March 13, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Marcia Kilgore's Spa". Macleans Magazine. via Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Pumphrey, Angela (2005). CoolBrands. 
  5. ^ Understanding the Global Spa Industry. Routledge; 20 August 2010. ISBN 978-1-136-35124-2. p. 74–.
  6. ^ Melinda Davis. The New Culture of Desire: 5 Radical New Strategies That Will Change Your Business and Your Life. Simon and Schuster; 21 October 2002. ISBN 978-0-7432-4790-0. p. 140–.
  7. ^ "LVMH Acquires Majority Stake in BlissWorld. | Banking & Finance > Financial Markets & Investing from". Archived from the original on April 21, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  8. ^ Orient-express Magazine. Vol. 21. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Limited; 2004. p. 66.
  9. ^ Maneker, Marion (December 13, 1999). "Marital Bliss". Archived from the original on November 6, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Starwood buys Bliss spa to build W resorts". USA Today. January 21, 2004. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Bliss Opens Its First West Coast Spa At The W San Francisco; Bliss Continues to Grow with Spas Set to Debut at W Hotels in Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas | Business Wire | Find Articles at". July 19, 2005. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  12. ^ "JetBlue adds spa amenities on redeyes - Aviation -". MSNBC. April 4, 2006. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Steiner Leisure Buys Bliss". January 4, 2010. Archived from the original on November 5, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Industry News - Starwood Acquires Bliss from LVMH; Bliss Spas to Debut in W Hotels as Part of Acquisition of Spa, Catalog and Beauty Products Company". Hospitality Net. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  15. ^ Susan Lee (View Profile). "DIY Spa Guide". Archived from the original on October 6, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Outstanding in a Particular Category 2007 at SpaFinder". Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  17. ^ Conde Nast’s Annual Hot List Hotels, Spas & More Archived November 15, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Hospitality Trends. "Conde Nast Traveler Unveils its Annual Hotels, Restaurants, Spas, and Clubs Hot List :: Hospitality Trends". Archived from the original on July 12, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Details - Best Beauty Buys 2007 - Product Finder - Products". In Style. Archived from the original on February 22, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2010.