Best New Day Spa in Maryland: Blu Water Day Spa
Treatment we had: Hydrating Facial Treatment, $100.
What we loved: The spa has been open only since April 2008, so everything seems new and fresh. The changing area is beautiful—water in the sink flows over river stones. There are lovely extras, too: Every guest gets a robe and slippers, many treatments start with a foot bath, and my facial came with a terrific neck-and-shoulder massage. Because there’s no hair services, Blu Water has the soothing feel of a destination spa.
Before the facial, my aesthetician, Teresa, talked to me about what I wanted, looked at my face carefully, and modified the facial to deal with my “mature” but still oily-in-places skin. Afterward, I was encouraged to sit and enjoy herbal tea and fruit in the relaxation room. I walked out glowing, and my pores looked smaller the next day.
What you should know: There are facial “rituals” that have more to do with relaxation and rejuvenation and “treatments” geared to specific skin problems such as acne, hypersensitivity, and extreme dryness. There are also à la carte extras such as gel peels and microdermabrasion, which raise the price. Products and services are recommended, but there’s no pressure to purchase.
Bottom line: A terrific facial in an atmosphere much plusher and more serene than at most day spas. But be clear about the treatment you’re getting before you start so you’re not surprised by add-ons when presented with the bill.
Blu Water Day Spa, White Flint Plaza, 5234 Nicholson La., Kensington; 301-984-6245; bluwaterdayspa.com.
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Best New Day Spa in Virginia: Lorien Hotel & Spa
Treatment we had: Classic Swedish massage, $100 for 50 minutes.
What we liked: A curved glass wall enclosing a stand of “bamboo” greets you at the entrance—the bamboo isn’t real but sets a stylish tone. With its soothing green walls and soft lighting, the Lorien has one of the prettiest spas we’ve seen.
The changing rooms are spotless and spacious, with big lockers, a steam room, showers, fluffy robes and comfortable flip-flops to wear, and a generous toiletry assortment that includes everything from shampoo to makeup remover.
The walls seem to be soundproof—the whole spa is wonderfully quiet. There’s a Zen-like relaxation room where you can sink into a comfy chair and help yourself to strawberry-infused water or terrific tea—we were partial to the coconut-scented white tea—and two kinds of snack mixes, including one with coconut shavings, walnuts, and cranberries. (One big complaint: There were no magazines—nothing at all to read—in the relaxation room.)
Another plus: Free valet parking.
What you should know: As at many hotel spas, prices are a tad steep. Our massage was good but wasn’t relaxing—the therapist dug into each knot with trigger-point therapy, and I was more sore than usual the next day. (I could have asked her to ease up but wanted the full experience for purposes of this review.)
As I left the massage room, the therapist was waiting—but not to ask me how I felt or offer me a glass of water. Instead, she handed me a product brochure with information about the massage oil—available for $34.25. The sell wasn’t hard, but it was odd.
Bottom line: One of the loveliest spas in the area, with first-class service. We visited right after it opened, and it may work out some kinks—such as the lack of magazines and the product push—to make the experience more perfect.
Lorien Hotel & Spa, 1600 King St., Alexandria; 703-894-3434; lorienhotelandspa.com.
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Great Massage: Rejuvenations Massage Therapy
Treatment we had: One-hour therapeutic massage, $96.
What we liked: If you love massage but have found the skills of day-spa massage therapists often lacking, Rejuvenations may suit you better. All they do here is massage—there are eight therapists, all with impressive training. Online bios detail each therapist’s specialties.
When I mentioned to the receptionist, as I booked my appointment, that my neck was particularly stiff, she said: “You want Linda.” Indeed, Linda Libertucci spent a lot of time smoothing out the kinks in my neck and shoulders. Her strokes were those of a pro, and I felt great the next day.
What you should know: This is not a day spa, and it doesn’t bill itself as one. If you want a manicure with your massage, you’ll have to go elsewhere. Still, while there are no niceties like herbal tea, the decor is soothing, not clinical.
Bottom line: A great choice for those who are serious about massage.
Rejuvenations Massage Therapy, 297 Herndon Pkwy., Suite 302, Herndon; 703-437-9059; rejuvenationsmassagetherapy.com.
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Very Good Manicure: Amenity Day Spa
Treatment we had: Classic manicure, $25.
What we loved: From the minute I walked into Amenity—with its enveloping, deep wall colors and trickling waterfall—I felt tension melt away. Every staffer was upbeat and friendly, and my manicure was expertly done—with instruments taken straight out of a sterilizer. The price at first seemed high, but I got more than expected, including a warm-paraffin dip. The manicure, billed as 20 minutes, took close to an hour—I didn’t feel rushed.
What you should know: Mai Lyn Edwards, the pro who did my manicure, was very chatty—but I didn’t mind because she was so enthusiastic about nail and skin care that I got good pointers.
Bottom line: A friendly, relaxing spa that’s also comfortable for men—the magazines in the lounge included the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and I saw several couples during my visit.
Amenity Day Spa, 44365 Premier Plaza, Suite 120, Ashburn; 703-726-8100; amenitydayspa.com.