Shapes Salon & Day Spa

Like having an okay meal at a romantic restaurant—overall, a memorable experience.

I liked Shapes the minute I walked in and saw the spa waiting area. Next to the deep chairs sat a plate of butter cookies, a bowl of apples and bananas, a pitcher of ice water, a selection of herbal tea, and beauty magazines. Soft purple walls were covered in faux-painted tropical plants. A wall-mounted waterfall trickled gently. I was sorry I had signed up for only one service and had no excuse to linger.

Shapes, like most good spas, had me fill out a one-page health questionnaire. Then it was off for my $75 chocolate massage, one of the spa’s more unusual offerings. The massage felt fine, but I must say was disappointing: It was not one of the better ones I’ve had, and the massage therapist sniffled throughout the treatment. The hot towels on my back were a nice touch.

As an editor, I’ve received a few recent complaints from readers about the service at Shapes, so I wanted to see the place for myself. One reader hated a rough facial that produced skin rashes and pimples; for another, a poor makeup job left a bad taste; and one woman found the hot-stone massage overpriced.

When my massage ended, I wandered back to the sitting area, disoriented and in my robe. There, I found two chocolates waiting for me—they’re part of the chocolate massage. I steeped a cup of chamomile tea and enjoyed the weekday afternoon serenity.

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.