The Spa at Mint
1001 16th St., NW; 202-638-6468. Also at 1724 California St., NW; 202-328-6468.
Although it's somewhat overshadowed by the huge ground-floor gym, the 16th Street location of the Spa at Mint is a hidden gem for eco-conscious spa-goers: The floors in the downtown DC branch are made from repurposed sneakers, reclaimed wood, and natural fibers; at both locations, shower products are organic and treatments emphasize wellness from the inside out.
We tried the 50-minute Deep Tissue Massage ($105) and found the minimalist facilities small but relaxing. Iced water comes with—you guessed it—mint leaves, and both the men's and women's changing rooms have saunas and steam rooms.
Of note: The spa is best appreciated by booking one of its specials. It offers occasional $50 deals via Twitter and Facebook, and 30-minute facials and massages are $49 on Tuesday. On weekends, pay $119 for any 50-minute massage or facial and get access to the gym for both Saturday and Sunday.
Online booking? Yes.
13830 Braddock Rd., Suite A10, Centreville; 703-815-8959.
Warning: Don't go to Spa World if you're not comfortable being naked around strangers. Nudity is mandatory in this massive facility's "wet" areas: single-sex spaces with hydrotherapy pools of every temperature and size, from cold plunge pools to intense pulsating jets. You start your experience here and can even get a skin-renewing—i.e., rough—scrub ($55 and up) from a therapist wearing little more than a bra and panties.
Then you don stiff pajama-like shorts and a T-shirt to venture into the coed sauna areas, where eight "poultice" rooms surround a central relaxation area. You can lie on clay balls, said to increase well-being and focus, or try the Blue Onyx Room, designed to help with insomnia and high blood pressure.
A $35 fee gets you 24-hour access to this stay-all-day spa, where it's not uncommon to see families and couples. It's the closest in this area to an Asian or European bathhouse.
Of note: Don't miss the food, which ranges from Korean barbecue and bubble teas to sushi. Other services include massage.
Online booking? No.
The Tea Spa
2424 University Blvd W., Suite 202, Silver Spring; 301-942-1222.
In a dated strip mall at the busy corner of University Boulevard and Georgia Avenue, Tea Spa makes getting a massage convenient: Unlike many spas, it's usually easy to book an appointment on short notice.
After checking in, you're offered—what else?—a cup of tea. In the dimly lit waiting area, a comfy sofa faces a TV playing an oddly soothing video of tropical fish.
We tried several of the spa's massage therapists, who were all skilled. If you're really stiff, try Myriam Coimin, who uses traction and gentle stretching during a massage to limber up joints as well as work out knots.
Of note: A $49 yearly membership discounts hourlong massages to $49—they normally range from $70 to $90—with no cancellation fee up to three hours before an appointment.
Online booking? Yes.