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YeloSpa has best nap money can buy


YeloSpa offers naps for a dollar a minute, plus other massage and relaxation services.

Few things drain a person’s batteries more than walking the teeming streets of New York City during rush hour, which is the idea behind the YeloSpa premier day spa with napping that's set to expand through franchising from its single Midtown location high up inside an office tower.

Paying real money to sleep? Say it with a strong Bronx accent—what, are you nuts? The idea of shelling out a buck a minute to sleep (or in my case, the company’s money) seemed even crazier back home in Minnesota, before I had sweated through a suit jacket and walked several miles on the mean streets of the big city. Where better to recharge and get the best catnap money can buy?

YeloSpa’s front door is nondescript, but inside this center that offers massage, skin care, napping, Reiki and LED light treatments, I found the most calming oasis imaginable. Entering this world of fully saturated color lighting felt like stepping onto the set of a Stanley Kubrick movie. I tried peering around the corner into one of the so-called nap pods, but didn’t see anyone else in the eerily silent place until Jackie, my massage therapist, brought me back into a treatment room. It was game time.

Loving the array of options, I chose ocean waves and the “calm” scent for my pre-nap 60-minute deep-tissue massage. I felt cosseted on the zero-gravity table—the only thing missing from my fantasy list was a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. Tension melted as the waves crashed, and days of airline torture and backpack schlepping dissolved into beautiful blankness. I’ve never wanted to be a high-power, low-downtime New York executive so badly, just to become a YeloSpa regular.

Constantly jet-lagged

The concept was founded by Nicolas Ronco in the pre-recession days of 2007, which he said was a notably “interesting” time to start such a high-end retail concept. During his previous life in the entertainment industry, frequently traveling all over the U.S. and Europe, he became frustrated with the spas and wellness industry as a whole—and found himself almost constantly jet-lagged.

“By the end of this, I didn’t look like a 35-year-old guy, I looked more like a 45-year-old guy, so I really had to find places wherever I was going where I would be able to recharge,” he said. “The incredible thing is that such places didn’t really exist.”

Nicolas Ronco

Nicolas Ronco

That was also nine years before his friend Arianna Huffington released her “The Sleep Revolution” book that became a staple in online forums and talk shows, elevating sleep from something everyone aspires to, but seldom plans, into a global movement pioneered by similarly high-worth, time-strapped executives—which of course has filtered down into the mainstream.

Even though he was ahead of his time, he and his staff found that the Great Recession didn’t kill their business. Instead, they found customers cut back on things like international travel to treat themselves closer to home instead.

“We didn’t know if we would survive that and we were in the eye of the hurricane,” Ronco said. “Strangely our average order value increased from $67 to $92 during that year, 2008 and 2009, without us increasing our pricing.”

Even though sleep is now looked at as an increasingly crucial and valuable experience for us busy Jetsons, YeloSpa may need a few rescue whipped honey foot scrubs and nourishing hand rituals of its own as it seeks to expand through franchising beyond its single location in New York.

Depending on the cost of real estate, Ronco estimates all-in startup costs ranging from $438,000 up to $1.1 million for units ranging from 1,500 square feet up to a maximum of 5,000 square feet. He said top-tier cities like Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco would likely be the best fits for the brand.

YeloSpa’s service menu includes a variety of spa treatments ranging up to 90 minutes, add-ons like dry cupping, detox and hot Himalayan salt stone therapy, as well as facials and enzyme peels. Regardless of whatever a customer chooses, it’s all best capped off by a relaxing nap in an environment laser-focused on calming down even the highest stress worker bees.

The total tab for my hour and 20 minute service came to $179 and, if I’m able to speak for my company owner, it was the best money he’s ever spent.

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