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St. Pete's Sundial to get a Marilyn Monroe spa

ST. PETERSBURG — Marilyn Monroe is coming back to St. Pete.

This time she won't be here for spring training with Joe DiMaggio, but she will arrive in the form of a high end spa that carries her name.

And guess where the blond bombshell is setting up camp? Sundial.

The Marilyn Monroe Spa is the first confirmed new tenant for the long awaited retail plaza formerly known as Baywalk in downtown St. Petersburg.

The Orlando-based company with the rights to the icon's name and likeness already has spas in Maui, Miami, New York, Orlando and Monterey, Calif.

Not only does the spa feature arguably the world's most recognized beauty, but it also has big-time business expertise behind it. The spa chain's chairman is Al Weiss, a 39-year Disney veteran who rose to become the company's president of worldwide operations for parks and resorts. He retired in 2011.

The company's president is Niki Bryan, a veteran in the spa industry with who has worked with Ritz-Carlton and Walt Disney World.

"This is a home run tenant," said Sundial owner Bill Edwards. "It's going to be just awesome." The spa, which Edwards said will be a Marilyn Monroe Glamour Room, will be on Sundial's first floor.

According to the spa's website, a "glamour room" has added services such as makeup and hair styling along with nail care.

A Marilyn Monroe Spa in Orlando features giant photos of the actress in different poses and shelves displaying some of her sayings, such as, "It's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." Facts about the vulnerable superstar who died of a drug overdose at age 36 flash on TVs.

Neither Weiss nor Bryan could be reached for comment.

The company's website shows plenty of allusions to Marilyn and moderately priced services at its Miami store. A manicure is $35. A pedicure is $45. Hair styling ranging form the "voluptuous icon" to the "Norma Jean natural" costs $40. Makeup sells for $11 to $32 an item.

Even men can be pampered. The "wingtip relief" foot and leg scrub with moisturizing treatment costs $30.

But there has actually been more buzz around town about a woman named Ruth, not Marilyn, coming to Sundial. Ruth's Chris Steak House is believed to be one of the high end restaurants to anchor the project.

"Your call about opening a St. Pete store is no surprise. I don't believe they had signed the lease yet but I could be mistaken," said Yadira Navarro, a manager at the Ruth's Chris restaurant at 1700 N West Shore Blvd. in Tampa.

Edwards declined to comment on Ruth's Chris signing on at Sundial.

"I don't want to steal anybody's thunder. When they want to announce then we'll announce," he said. "I think we are probably close to being totally open with everybody in July. I can assure you it's really going to be an amazing shopping center."

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

St. Pete's Sundial to get a Marilyn Monroe spa 03/12/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 11:07pm]
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