NYC’s Chillhouse likes to refer to itself as a modern path to total relaxation. When founder, Cyndi Ramirez realized there was a market for a hip full-service café-and-spa situation she jumped at the opportunity to bring a breath of fresh air (and fresh manicure— who are we kidding?) to the Lower East Side. Already a partner in the hospitality group, Den Hospitality, where they own three bars and a restaurant, and founder of the popular online lifestyle publication, Taste The Style, it was a move that excited her… and one she knew she could do well.
Chillhouse opened its doors this past March and has since found itself on a number of “best of” lists for both its coffee and spa services. It has become not just a one-stop salon to get your beauty and matcha fix, but also a hangout to— you guessed it— just chill. In addition to their coffee, massages and most unique of nail designs, they regularly host events, like the recent Spring x Morgan Lane PJ party which brought the A-list, including Bella Hadid clad in a striped set.
Still in the beginning stages, Cyndi has plans to develop a Chillhouse product line and offer a membership model for clients. Current nail offerings range from $15 to $75, and massage services run between $45 and $115.
Read our interview with this #girlboss to get the behind-the-scenes backstory behind all of that chill…
Tell me about when you first got the idea for Chillhouse.
Cyndi: My husband and I were looking for a place to get massages one day when it dawned on us that our only options were super cheap, Chinatown establishments… or luxury spas. From there, we just chatted about what was missing in the spa world— especially in NYC. We realized there was no approachable destination for relaxing services. Spas are usually a huge financial and time commitment. What busy New Yorker has time to commit to two hours without their phone? We wanted to create a space where people weren’t intimidated by our offerings and could treat it as a place where they can come as they please and chill at their own will (hence the hashtag: #ChillAtYourWill).
When did you realize there was a real market for this type of salon/café?
The fellas already have these types of spaces with Blind Barber and Three Seat Espresso. It just made sense that there should be a more women-centric spot that offered services for all. And if there’s a market for nails, massages and cafés separately, how is there not a market for them together?
How did you come up with the name, Chillhouse?
We wanted something easy to remember; something that gave off a non-stuffy vibe. We use the word “chill” in our every day vocabulary, so it just made sense to pair that with the word “house,” which implies a safe space for all.
Had you always been into nails and creative designs?
I’ve always been a fan of nail art from afar, but personally I’d always chicken out and do regular manis. It was important for me to take that type of mentality and apply it into our designs. We have something in our signature looks for everyone— newcomers to nail art junkies!
What are some of the most popular nail styles and massages?
“The Matisse” has been the most popular nail style by far. It’s inspired by the artist and the contour line trend happening right now. “The Works” is our version of a Swedish massage, so naturally people are gravitating to that the most.
How did you choose the location?
We definitely knew we wanted to be downtown, and our instincts told us that the Lower East Side is the next Soho. The rent, layout of the space and street all checked off. I’m super happy with where we ended up!
It turned out beautiful! Tell me what you were shooting for with the design process?
Thank you! Our designer, Jeff White from EAU, wanted the space to feel at home in its vibrant and dynamic LES location, but as a day spa, also wanted it to feel like a retreat or departure from the hustle and bustle. He worked off of my inspiration and gave it his own touch. It’s clean, minimal, and puts you at ease as soon as you enter.
How are customers enjoying the café aspect of it?
They’re LOVING IT. We have some beautiful and delicious signature lattes that have definitely developed a bit of a following of their own. What’s also nice about the café is that you can wait for your friend or loved one while they’re getting a service and grab a drink— we also serve beer and wine!
And lastly, how would you describe the vibe of the place?