Andre Chreky, the Salon Spa

There’s no spa lounge for relaxing with juice, nibbles, and a magazine. But if you’re seeking big indulgence in a small timeframe, it’s tough to do better than here.

For working women in downtown DC, this day spa’s efficiency is a plus. Even at lunchtime in the pre-Christmas rush, I spent less than a minute on the salon’s sofa before being whisked upstairs in what must be DC’s tiniest elevator.

In the treatment room, New Age music from a hidden CD player soothed, as did massage therapist Teneisha. We’d decided on a mixture of hot-stone and Swedish massage. After studying a medical form I’d filled out, she adjusted the warm blankets, suggested two or three deep breaths, and got to work: shoulders, back, legs, and feet. (Hot stones + oiled feet = bliss.) When I turned face-up, she massaged legs again, then arms and hands. With a couple of quick strokes across brow and ears and a whiff of refreshing peppermint, our hour was up. On the way out, she offered me a half pint of bottled water.

Teneisha’s soft voice told me just enough about what she was doing but otherwise let me unwind and drift. Some clients might find her heavy exhalations annoying, but I took them as a cue to breathe fully myself and keep that oxygen flowing.

The $100 massage, slated for 55 minutes, lasted 60—and I was in and out in 66 minutes, including paying. The foyer in this retrofitted townhouse gets cramped with just four people in line, but who cares? I felt calmed and lighter the rest of the day and slept deeply all night.