Adorned with custom chandeliers, plush furniture and smooth red onyx countertops, Avanti Day Resort, located in Manalapan, New Jersey, features a concierge desk, a cafe and a team devoted to providing clients with five-star treatment the second they walk in the door. This oasis reopened in February of this year after recovering from a severe combustion fire that took place in March 2007. After spending approximately 11 months as a displaced beauty locale, Avanti greeted its loyal client base by offering its well-known exclusive services in a redesigned ultra-glamorous environment.
Originally from Russia, Avanti founder and president, Luda Conti, moved to the United States with the dream of working in the beauty industry. With the support of her family, she opened Avanti and has built it from the ground up. “She’s very grand in her thought process and where she wants to be,” says spa director, Andrea Magalhaes. “She is the driving force behind everyone at Avanti.”
Conti was in Bologna, Italy, attending Cosmoprof when the fire struck. She immediately flew home to work with her team and get her smoke-damaged resort back in business. “We went out and bought everything we needed and just worked around the clock,” says Magalhaes. “It was crazy, we put it together in two days—we just kept drinking coffee.”
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Fortunately, the plaza in which Avanti is located had a medical office available that became the temporary home for staff members until they could return to their original location. Accustomed to a posh setting, this new location required adjustment from both team members and clients. Nonetheless, Avanti survived the move, in great part due to the loyalty and love of its employees. “We have a great staff. Everyone has been here so long we’ve almost become like a family—we’re a very closely knit group,” notes Magalhaes.
According to Magalhaes, the fire was actually “a blessing in a silver lining,” as the company was able to expand and add more rooms. Conti hired the international architecture firm, Robert D. Henry, to help Avanti’s ambiance match its name, which means “advanced” in Italian.
Drawing inspiration from the lavish W Hotels, Conti spared no expense in the revamping of Avanti, and Magalhaes, a 10-year company veteran, made many of the design decisions. With a background in marketing and advertising, Magalhaes strives to tap into her creative side as much as possible. As spa director, she maintains a harmonious environment among both clients and team members. “Avanti is all about the experience. We try to make everyone feel special, even though it’s gorgeous and glamorous, we don’t make it uncomfortable and always welcome everyone.”
When standing at the reception desk to schedule an appointment, clients can admire the exquisite glass wall containing cherry blossoms. The salon offers hair and makeup services, as well as nail therapies. Spa-goers can choose from a variety of massages and waxing, in addition to body, face, medical spa and ayurvedic services.
The spa offers treatments including Up in Smoke, a massage in which warm aromatherapy oil burns from a hemp candle and is poured on the body, or the Royal Thai Massage, a blend of heat and aromatherapy with natural herbal remedies.
Avanti also provides the Z1 massage table, a bed featuring a bottom made out of water that gives off wavelike sensations as the water rolls beneath the body.
One thing is certain—this ravishing retreat lives up to its name. Remaining sanguine throughout the reconstruction process, Avanti has certainly advanced in more ways than one.