Nusta Spa

One of the best new spas to open in Washington in 2004, Nusta, which was built with recycled and renewable materials, is also notable for its eco-friendly features.

That’s not the only way it’s friendly. The moment you arrive, the staff greets you warmly. If you happen to bump into the owner, Elizabeth Snowdon, as I did, you’ll find her to be very enthusiastic, as she thanks you for coming in.

Even if you didn’t know about the “green” design, you’d notice that Nusta looks different from most Washington spas. Forget Enya and candles. Instead of being frilly or Zenlike, it’s modern and airy—a blizzard of white. But those white treatment rooms can be bathed in color, if you prefer. Are you in a blue mood? Orange? Yellow? The technician will turn a dial on the LED lighting until the color suits you.

Designed by Washington-based architecture firm Envision Design, the spa features carpet and tile with recycled content, wood harvested from an old barn and from renewable forests, and energy-efficient lighting, heating, and air-conditioning systems. The classic modern furniture is by Knoll and Herman Miller, companies dedicated to environmental consciousness. Even the ingredients in Nusta’s signature line of products, and the paper and ink it uses, were chosen with eco-friendliness in mind.

Staffers at The Washingtonian have had several treatments at Nusta Spa, including a massage and two facials. We loved each session.

My facial was by Tonia, who came to Nusta with 15 years of experience. I felt in very good hands as Tonia cleansed, moisturized, and masked my face and performed extractions with sure but gentle fingers. Another staffer loved her facial by Carmen.

In the South American language Quechua, Nusta means “royalty,” which provides a clue as to how the spa plans to treat clients. In keeping with that philosophy, it’s open Saturday, Sunday, and until 8 pm on weekdays, and its pretty locker rooms are stocked with amenities like moisturizer, hair balm, and razors as well as hotel-quality robes.

My one quibble: The prices can be high in comparison to other local spas. The 50-minute facial is $95. At that price, you usually get a longer facial with more of a shoulder massage, maybe heated hand mitts. A 50-minute massage is $95.

Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.