Zoe Salon & Spa

No ambience, but great massage.

If you expect a full-service day spa, Zoe Salon & Spa in Gaithersburg will disappoint you. If you want a great massage and can forgo niceties like changing and shower facilities or a serene waiting area, then you’ve come to the right place.

I booked a one-hour, deep-tissue massage for $80. A bubbly receptionist pointed me to a chair in the hair salon. If there is a Zoe, she didn’t put her personal stamp on the place. The salon is bright and characterless.

Terri, my massage therapist, took me back to a treatment room, asked questions about my health and where I wanted to be touched, and left while I stripped and got onto the massage table. She told me to lie face down.

My first surprise: It was the most comfortable massage table I’ve ever tried. The head cradle was larger, so I could breathe more easily. The cradle height kept my chest from being pressed flat on the table. Terri put a hot towel on my back and began to massage my legs. Throughout, she asked about the pressure and whether I was warm enough. Otherwise, she kneaded and I drifted off to the New Age spa soundtrack.

Halfway through, I turned over and Terri worked on my neck and shoulders. She put hot towels around my feet and worked each toe. I emerged greasy but feeling terrific.