New and Sleek

Treatment we had: The Reykjavik, a 50-minute deep-tissue massage for $120.

What we loved: Hela’s original Georgetown branch has a spare, soothing look; the new Chevy Chase outpost is even sleeker, with blond-wood floors and lots of white surfaces.

When I arrived, I was escorted to a small spa lounge with three low-slung, white leather chairs and offered a cup of tea. Mary Szegda soon came to fetch me for my massage—when I had booked Szegda, the receptionist had blurted out: “She’s wonderful.” Although Szegda works only one day a week in Chevy Chase, she also takes appointments in Georgetown.

Szegda was expert in her strokes, happening upon all of my kinks and frequently checking to make sure the pressure was okay. It was a good therapeutic massage.

What you should know: Hela bills itself as a medical spa, with physicians on staff. It offers a range of services from regular facials to Botox. Perhaps for that reason, every treatment I’ve gotten at Hela—including the massage in Chevy Chase and two facials in Georgetown—was more clinical than soothing. They also seem a bit pricey.

Bottom line: If you like spas with a modern, sleek vibe, you may like the new Chevy Chase Hela. This is a good choice if you like competent staff and don’t mind paying for that expertise—we hear Terrie Thomas is a good aesthetician in Chevy Chase. It’s also best if you like to get in and out of a spa instead of lingering after an appointment.

Hela Spa, 5481 Wisconsin Ave., Second Floor, Chevy Chase; 301-951-4445;

>> See all 2009 Great Day Spas

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.