No one knows stress like Washington—and sometimes, all you really need at the end of a long week or a day full of meetings is a relaxing, secluded hour or two at the spa. Crave the Zen but cringe at the $200-plus price tag? We feel you. Luckily, thanks to Spa Week, you can get the pampering you deserve at a fraction of the cost. The annual event brings together area spas, salons, and wellness centers for seven days of discounted offerings, from hot stone massages to skin-clearing facials to blowouts. The best part? Many of the services are capped at $50. Below is a list of ten luxurious ways you can treat yourself next week—but don’t wait, as appointments fill up at warp speed. You can thank us later.
Yes! Best news of the morning! A press release just landed in our inbox announcing a spring collaboration between Italian luxury brand Marni and über-popular mainstream retailer H&M. Known for its quirky, modern art-house prints, Marni is a favorite among cerebral celebs such as Thandie Newton, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Details are scant at this point, but the collection will feature clothing (for men and women) as well as accessories, and will be available in 250 store worldwide and online starting March 8, 2012.
Following in the success of H&M's Versace line, the Swedish retailer goes down the collaborative path yet again. Women can expect the quintessential Marni silhouettes, which include full pleated skirts, dresses, cropped pants, and jacquard knits. There will also be jewelry, shoes, bags, and scarves. Colors will be bright, and prints will definitely catch attention.
Men can expect a subtle use of prints, relaxed fits, and contrast detailing in shirts.
What do you think—are you excited to score another serious designer’s duds on the cheap, or are you done fighting it out over clothing? Let us know in the poll below.
The Spa Room
Spend the afternoon relaxing at the Mother’s Day Spa Social with do-it-yourself mini spa treatments and light refreshments from 3:30 to 5:30. $10 per person; register at the spa’s Web site. Also, buy Mom a gift certificate for $100 or more and receive another $30 gift certificate for free.
Circe of Alexandria
This Alexandria day spa is offering a combination of any two services for $150. If you make a fine-jewelry purchase of $400 or more from the spa’s boutique, you’ll receive a complimentary pair of stud earrings. Book appointments at the Web site.
Fountains Day Spa
The spa is offering several Mother’s Day packages, such as the $315 Mamma Mia, which includes an aromatherapy massage, reflexology treatment, and Super Hydradermie facial, topped off with lunch from Balducci’s. There’s also a package for moms-to-be, with a massage and facial plus foot- and hand-exfoliation treatment and lunch for $238. Book treatments at the spa’s Web site.
A massage and a 50-minute facial are usually $110 each, but purchase them together as a Mother’s Day gift for $175. Book the appointment when purchasing; it can be scheduled for anytime.
1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean; 703-506-4300.
Treatment we had: 50-minute stone therapy massage, $150.
What we loved: It’s all about first-class service here. When I asked one of the hotel’s uniformed doormen where the spa was, he rode the elevator with me and walked me to the entrance. Outside the sauna there was a bowl of hand towels, chilled in ice and scented with cucumber slices, for customers to place over their eyes.
My massage therapist, Marc Prickett, used both his hands and hot stones to melt away tension. Before the full-body massage was done, Marc asked, “Were there any spots I missed?” He spent extra time working on the stubborn knots that line my shoulder blades, then greeted me outside the door with a glass of chilled ice water.
Bottom line: Luxurious amenities—a gym, a sauna, a steam room, a heated pool, marble showers, and plush bathrobes—make this spa worth the price. Come a few hours early and make a day of it.
GOOD FOR ATHLETES: EQUINOX
8065 Leesburg Pike, Vienna; 703-790-6193
Treatment we had: 50-minute Swedish massage, $110.
What we loved: Equinox is a gym first and a spa second. The top-of-the-line facility includes a lap pool, Pilates and yoga studios, a steam room, and an army of cardio machines, all of which spa-goers are encouraged to use. Don’t expect the frills of a Ritz—I wasn’t offered robes or slippers, and I was asked to change in the treatment room—but the massages are executed with equal skill.
My therapist, Yulia Zolotayko, asked about my workout regimen and sorest muscles before beginning. After I told her I was training for a half marathon, she spent extra time on my feet, quads, and calves. She sent me home with brochures on simple stretches to do at my desk to help alleviate back pain and improve posture.
Bottom line: This is a good spa for athletes looking to work out kinks and improve performance. Check the class schedule before you book, and build in time beforehand for a thighs-and-glutes-busting Skinny Jeans Workout or one of the 70 other group classes offered.
MEN'S RETREAT: GROOMING LOUNGE
1732-U International Dr., McLean; 703-288-0355
Treatment we had: 90-minute Super Stoner massage, $150.
What we loved: The men-only Grooming Lounge is a guy’s-guy place, and it’s neither informal nor stuffy. While waiting for your treatment, you can relax in leather seats and enjoy a coffee or ice water. I got a hot-stone massage, which is less intense than a Swedish or sports massage but is also more relaxing. I drifted away as my therapist, Lauren Lyons, gave my back a thorough rubdown and then massaged individual muscles while palming heated, flat rocks. She also offered helpful tips for avoiding muscle tension and back pain.
Bottom line: Clubby touches such as flat-screen TVs and leather couches make men feel at home here. A hot-stone massage is a good—but pricier—pick for someone who doesn’t want the intensity of a sports massage.
EXPERT FACIAL: THE SPA AT SAKS FIFTH AVENUE
2501 International Dr., McLean; 703-269-1388
Treatment we had: 60-minute custom facial, $93.
What we loved: While a cadre of hairstylists in the front-room salon make this operation feel a bit frantic, the hushed spa in back—part of the national chain Halcyon Days Salons & Spas, with more than 40 locations—is instantly relaxing. After assessing my skin, aesthetician Yvette Zarookian tailored her recommendations—including a deep-cleaning lactic peel ($54)—to my trouble spots. Throughout the facial, she told me what was coming next and how it would feel: The lactic peel would be slightly itchy; the lancet for extractions would feel like a pinprick. Afterward, she prescribed a daily cleansing ritual and suggested SkinCeuticals products from among the brands sold there. Within a week, my blemishes cleared up.
Bottom line: Given the spa’s emphasis on all-natural products, the prices here are relatively inexpensive and make up for the minor shortcomings: small changing quarters and a hectic feeling up front.
Emily Leaman, Mary Clare Glover, Shane Harris, and Kate Nerenberg contributed to this article, which first appeared in the January 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.
>> See more of the best of Vienna & McLean here
Where: Anabella Spa.
What to get: Microdermabrasion facial, a one-hour treatment complete with exfoliation, extractions, and a good dose of moisture. Bonus: The aesthetician does a quick—yet effective—neck-and-shoulder rub while the mask sets.
Price: The menu says $125, but new clients get a 10-percent discount.
Why we liked it: Our skin was soft and free of redness immediately afterward. Days later, still not a blemish in sight.
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Spa Week runs through October 18, and there are lots of venues and treatments to choose from, so newbie and regular spagoers are probably wondering where they’ll get the best bang for their buck. So we developed a handy guide for the novice (Spa Week 101), a refresher for the occasional spagoer (Spa Week 201), and a suggestions list (Spa Week 301) for the regular. Any way you look at it, you’re sure to find some much-needed relaxation.
SPA WEEK 101
What’s Spa Week?
Twice a year, Spa Week hits cities across the country. For one week—and sometimes longer—spas discount three treatments to $50 each.
How do I participate?
It’s free—you just have to register on SpaWeek.com. You’ll get some e-mail reminders, and it’s fairly simple to opt out at any time.
What spas participate?
The list changes every year, but more than 50 spas in DC, Maryland, and Virginia join each season.
Your tan lines are fading, work is piling up like the bags under your eyes, and the looming holiday season is sure to knock your bikini-ready body back to square one.
No need to fret—Spa Week is coming. Get plucked, peeled, and pampered at more than 60 local spas starting October 12 for just $50. Full-service treatments at the businesses included on Spa Week’s DC database usually cost $100 to $200 or more, but the week’s discounts make much-deserved indulgence even sweeter.
The cult-favorite spa Bliss brings its brand of irreverent fun to Washington with the opening of the W Washington D.C. hotel, located in the former Hotel Washington in DC’s downtown.
Located just below ground level, the 3,000-square-foot haven is the 16th Bliss spa and its 14th property in a W-branded hotel.
We were the first to get a behind-the-scenes peek at the space, including information on the spa’s trademark brownie bar—catered by the local chain Bread & Chocolate, winner of the “You Be the Fudge” taste test that took place on the streets of DC over the past few weeks.
Bliss is a modern oasis, decorated in the brand’s signature white and blue. To add a Washington touch, the wall separating the treatment areas from the retail space was designed with tones of cream, blue, and pink to represent cherry blossoms and a blue sky.
The spa features four treatment rooms, two manicure and pedicure stations, and men’s and women’s changing rooms plus a small retail shop stocking Bliss products and other selected lines.
If you haven’t felt at least a little stressed over the past few months, you’re one of the lucky ones. And what could be better than a relaxing facial or massage when you need a time out? Fortunately, Spa Week 2009 begins today. It’s the one week of the year when salons and spas in multiple cities offer select treatments for just $50.
The promotion runs from Monday, April 13, to Sunday, April 19, and the treatments (some of which regularly cost as much as $300) range from Swedish massages and signature facials to microdermabrasion and laser hair removal. Register for free at spaweek.com to see a list of participating businesses in Washington.
What’s the catch? There isn’t one—but schedule an appointment quickly. You can also check the Spa Week blog (spaweekblog.com) to see which salons and spas have recently signed up and may have more openings.
Check out our spa database and our Great Day Spas package for more details, ratings, and location information for local spas as well as our list of great spas in the Washington area.
Think the downward-spiraling economy means that you need to put your pampering on pause? Think again, because in February and March, we here at Washingtonian.com have rounded up more than 20 deals at the area’s top spas and cosmetics spots. Check out the Deals section here, plus enjoy the exclusive online outlets featured below to tide you over until the March ones come out!