I grew tense sitting in Circe’s waiting area, which is a couple of cushioned benches near the entrance. I filled out my health questionnaire with the loud hum of blow dryers in my ears. One woman, who was upset her appointment was canceled, started yelling at the manager. I poured myself a glass of cucumber-flavored water, which was warm.
Christine, my massage therapist, saved me. She led me into the spa, behind a door near the front desk, where fruit was placed out on a wicker table in a short, narrow hallway—so narrow, at times we had to walk single file. Off the hall were two treatment rooms, a bathroom with a shower, and, for those who spend an afternoon, a locker room and a princessy alcove for lunching.
When I got to the treatment room, which was clean and cozy, I was ready to forgive all of this. Christine lit four candles, which illuminated the tan-tiled walls, and offered hangers and a jewelry box. Before the massage, she soaked my feet in hot water and caressed them. The hot-stone massage ($150) was heavenly. She rubbed sage-scented oil deep into my muscles, going over them a second time with smooth stones.
Calming music wasn’t enough to drown out sounds in the hall. I jumped when someone dropped a set of keys and later when someone knocked on the door. After the knock, Christine began to rush the last few minutes of the massage. I was irritated until I glanced at my watch. My one-hour treatment had gone over by 20 minutes.