News & Politics

More Spas We Love

Good places to treat yourself to a facial, massage, manicure, and more.

Great Girlfriends’ Getaway

How can you go wrong with a chocolate massage? At the Spa at the Hotel Hershey, in Pennsylvania, you can indulge in a rubdown done with cocoa-scented oil, a whipped-cocoa bath, or a chocolate body wrap or facial. Afterward, relax with a hot cocoa in front of the Quiet Room fireplace or slip over to the hotel bar for a chocolate martini.

The Spa at the Hotel Hershey, Hershey, Pa.; 800-hershey for lodging, 717-520-5888 for spa reservations; 

Best Chocolate Treatment Close to Home

Imagine warm chocolate spread over your face while you lie on a heated bed, tucked under covers, with soft music playing. The aroma alone should be sinful—but this chocolate is good for you.

The new Perez Salon and Spa near the Collection at Chevy Chase offers a chocolate facial that uses the warmth of the cocoa mixture to help the skin absorb a vitamin-C serum that goes on before. This follows cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, and other creams and potions designed to fight signs of aging. It is easy to relax under such ministrations. It helps that everything is sparkling new and the staff is enthusiastic. As you leave the spa, you’ll find a dish filled with dark chocolate and healthier snacks. The 75-minute facial costs $125.

Perez Salon and Spa, 5 Wisconsin Cir., Chevy Chase; 301-656-7006; 

Best Modern—and Pristine—Spa

If you like your day spa to be as design-driven as the rest of your life, try SomaFit, a spa/health club where pop shades of cobalt, orange, and white make for a high-energy backdrop, treatment rooms have spiffy Asian-style wooden slats on the ceilings, and even the super-clean showers—think ultramodern fixtures and tinted green glass—are chic. Music by choice, a well-padded massage table, and low-key therapists comfortable switching from deep tissue to Swedish all conspire toward a spa experience a cut above the rest.

SomaFit, 2121 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-965-2121; 

Holistic Haven

The Fountains Day Spa is an intimate, homey retreat for those who don’t mind a dose of holistic advice with their facial; owner Suzanne Olsen might urge a client to switch from antiperspirant to aluminum-free deodorant or “read” a client’s personality through her feet. (Our reviewer was told her large big toe showed she used her brain, though a troubling curve hinted she was “overbearing.”) Still, clients are well cared for, and our reviewer’s facial was good.

The Fountains Day Spa, 422 S. Washington St., Alexandria; 703-549-1990; 

New Favorite for Pampering Facials

Salon Jean & Day Spa is small, but the service is huge at this gem tucked into a Cabin John strip mall. During the 60-minute, $95 aromatherapy facial, esthetician Sima Troncone not only cleansed, exfoliated, extracted, and creamed every facial inch, but while a mask worked, she did a neck, shoulder, arm, hand, leg, and foot massage.

Salon Jean & Day Spa, 7945 MacArthur Blvd., Cabin John; 301-320-5326; 

Most Unusual Happy Hour

The new Still Point spa in Takoma Park has done so well since its July 4 opening that owner and acupuncturist Tori Paide expanded last month to six treatment rooms plus the Sole Door, a space for leg and foot massage with touches of reflexology, where she plans to add pedicures that use natural polishes.

Popular with locals, the massages are praised as thorough and attentive with a focus more on healing than on momentary enjoyment. Therapists inquire about health and advise on problem spots. Organic herbal tea rounds out the experience.

Among the 14 practitioners are a holistic-nutrition counselor, a life coach, an herbalist, and an acupuncturist who does facial rejuvenation “as an alternative to Botox,” Paide says. She also offers classes in tai chi, yoga, and couples massage. One unusual service: group acupuncture “happy hours” in which clients have five needles placed along each ear “to detox, calm, and drain unnecessary energy.” There are two sessions a week: $30 if you walk in, $20 if you register online.

The Still Point, 7009 Carroll Ave., lower level, Takoma Park; 240-638-1391; 

Postshopping Pick-Me-Up

Tired from a day at the department stores? Head to the spa at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Galleria (the hotel’s doors are next to the Burberry store). The lockers in the elegant dressing rooms are big enough to hold a shopping bag or two, and the cushy slippers and thick terry robes are as cozy as it gets. And there’s no reason you have to rush back into the mall: After a Champagne facial or hot-towel massage, you can linger in the steam room and sauna for as long as you like.

Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, Day Spa (under renovation February 17 to 29), 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean; 703-506-4300; 

Great Hidden Hideaways

Synergy Day Spa, a tiny retreat on the top floor of an Adams Morgan rowhouse, is calm and welcoming. We’ve liked every service we’ve tried, especially facials.

If you want a hidden oasis that’s slightly more luxe, slip into the I Spa at the Willard. Even though it’s right in downtown DC, you’ll feel far from the hustle and bustle.

Synergy Day Spa, 1806 Vernon St., NW, Suite C; 202-667-1855;

The I Spa, Willard InterContinental, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-942-2700; 

Favorites for Men

At the men-only Grooming Lounge, the atmosphere is clubby and the treatments have a masculine edge—the Rock & Roll back wax comes with a shot of Jack Daniel’s, there’s a special massage for golfers, and a hand-and-foot package is called the Commander in Chief.

And although women love Robert Andrew too, men will like the separate nail area at this very large spa.

The Grooming Lounge, 1745 L St., NW, 202-466-8900; Tysons Galleria, 703-288-0355;

Robert Andrew, the Salon & Spa, 1328 Main Chapel Way, Gambrills, Md.; 301-261-3844; 

Great Couples Therapy

Why paint the town when you can paint each other? The Pearl offers a do-it-yourself or do-unto-others treatment for couples or groups. First, you grab paintbrushes and daub on deep-sea clays designed to hydrate or firm skin. Then it’s on to the private, blue-walled, herbal-infused steam room—where you enjoy a light show while the mud melts away. The grotto converts into a rain shower to cleanse away any last bits of clay. It’s $80 a person for 50 minutes. Swimsuits recommended but not required.

The Pearl offers a host of other unique treatments, including a cold-stone facial (chilled stones on the face are said to reduce sinus pressure, while warm stones between the toes soothe); an Icelandic Fusion massage (a 90-minute medley of various massage techniques); and the Bali Blu (a type of rhythmic massage from Bali).

The Pearl Modern Spa and Boutique, 8171 Maple Lawn Blvd., Suite 100, Fulton, Md.; 301-776-6948; 

Favorite Green Spas

Nusta Spa is a sleek, modern spa that will make you feel less guilty about indulging—it’s built with recycled and renewable materials and uses ecofriendly practices and products. And we applaud the clean and well-stocked locker room.

The Natural Body spas in Ashburn and DC’s West End are also ecoconscious, from their low-flow faucets to checkout counters made of recycled newspaper.

Nusta Spa, 1129 20th St., NW; 202-530-5700;

Natural Body Spa and Shoppe, 43670 Greenway Corporate Dr., Ashburn, 703-726-9935; 1104 24th St., Northwest DC, 202-775-2070; 

Good All-Day Outing

Sugar House is a cozy spot for a girlfriends’ or mother/daughter outing: You can have a postspa lunch at nearby restaurants like the Majestic Cafe (with its $12 weekday bar lunch and updated comfort food); Restaurant Eve (any two lunch courses at the bar are $13.95, and the bar area has great cocktails and snacks); or Hank’s Oyster Bar (don’t miss the lobster rolls). Not in the mood for a full meal? Nip into Kingsbury Chocolates on King Street for house-made truffles.

Sugar House Day Spa & Salon, 111 N. Alfred St., Alexandria; 703-549-9940; 

Favorite Massage Deals

At the modern and serene Spa at Mint—with its mint-green walls, wooden benches, straw mats, and twig art—a 50-minute massage usually costs $95. Through early March, get a massage, lunch—an organic juice or smoothie and a sandwich—and all-weekend access to the fitness center connected to the spa for $99. The Weekender special is good any Saturday or Sunday.

At Serenity Day Spa, a 50-minute massage is $85. That’s not bargain-basement, but neither is the treatment—our tester enjoyed every minute, including the comfortable sofa and cookies in the Serenity Room at Tenleytown. The massages are perfect for muscles exerted by exercise; the spas are connected to Sport & Health, and spagoers can use the gym for free.

The Spa at Mint, 1724 California St., NW; 202-328-6468;

Serenity Day Spa, 209 Madison St., Alexandria, 703-549-9212; 4000 Wisconsin Ave., Tenleytown, 202-362-2560; 13037 Worldgate Dr., Herndon, 703-709-6596; 

Old Favorites

A spa is usually doing something right when it’s been around for years—and still has loyal customers. In all of our tests over the years, these spas have good track records:

Amenity Day Spa, 44365 Premier Plaza, Suite 120, Ashburn; 703-726-8100;

Eclips, 44110 Ashburn Village Plaza, Ashburn, 703-858-7555; 6643 Old Dominion Dr., McLean, 703-821-0022;

Elaj Aveda Day Spa, 801 Pleasant Dr., Suite 110, Rockville; 301-977-1514;

Shapes Salon & Day Spa, 2435 Centreville Rd., Herndon, 703-713-0222; 5622-K Ox Rd., Fairfax Station, 703-250-0000;

Spa Minérale, Lansdowne Resort, 44050 Woodridge Pkwy., Lansdowne, Va.; 703-729-8400;

Tranquility Day Spa & Salon, 10360 Portsmouth Rd., Manassas, 703-257-7200; 15125 Washington St., Suite 304, Haymarket, 571-248-4150;


This article is part of the 2008 Great Day Spas Package. To read more articles like it, click here

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

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.