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Great Spas 2011: Go With Your Girlfriends

Catch up over wine and manicures

A client receives a Hot Lava massage at Blu Water Day Spa. Photograph courtesy of Blu Water Day Spa

Blu Water Day Spa
5234 Nicholson La., Kensington; 301-984-6245

Blu Water is best known for nail services and eyebrow shaping, but the Asian-inspired spa services are top-notch, too. We recently booked a 45-minute hot lava massage ($100). The therapist, Tim Tsaguriya, worked from scalp to toes. After each area was massaged, hot lava stones were rubbed over the skin—a delicious sensation. The treatment lasted longer than the allotted time, but we weren’t complaining.

Bottom line: Destination-spa quality, close to home.
The Pearl
8171 Maple Lawn Blvd., Suite 100, Fulton; 301-776-6948

The Pearl, in Howard County, has a serene under-the-sea feel, with aqua walls and water streaming down frosted-glass panels. The spa is pristine and quiet.

The Classic Pearl Facial ($95 for 60 minutes) was blessedly soothing. Aesthetician Meggin Webbert did more than cleanse, treat, and moisturize our tester’s face—she massaged her arms from shoulders to fingertips. After that, she offered a heated neck roll and a plush robe and directed our tester to the spacious lounge with chaises, tea, and warm brownies.

Bottom line:
Worth the drive for a great facial and pampering extras.


Sugar House Day Spa & Salon

111 N. Alfred St., Alexandria; 703-549-9940

Located just off King Street in a pretty rowhouse, Old Town’s Sugar House Day Spa has long been a local favorite. With hair and makeup done on the lower level and manicures, body treatments, massages, and facials on the second and third, Sugar House makes it easy to while away the day.

While the spa doesn’t have a sauna or steam room, amenities such as complimentary wine and a separate area with robes, a private changing room, and a locker attendant are nice. The treatment rooms are spacious, and our tester’s most recent massage worked out all of the tough kinks in her neck and shoulders at a good price—$90 for 50 minutes.

Afterward, in the downstairs boutique, our tester bought a lovely candle by Voluspa and a face wash by the organic line Éminence after a free consultation from the spa’s makeup expert, who was happy to answer questions.

Bottom line:
Old Town’s best spa is still a great place to spend a day.


Toka Salon & Day Spa
4907 Brenman Park Dr., Alexandria; 703-370-5133

The newest location of Toka, in Alexandria’s Cameron Station—it has salons in Georgetown and DC’s Penn Quarter as well—is also a surprisingly relaxing spa.

On the ground level of a townhouse, the sun-filled salon offers amenities the other locations can’t, including free street parking. Five treatment rooms include a hamam-inspired wet room with a Vichy shower for body scrubs and wraps. The reception area, separate from the hair salon, is quiet and welcoming, with a large seating area, plenty of magazines, and a wall filled with top-notch product lines such as Phyto and Olavie.

Our favorite part? The quiet manicure/pedicure area, which features dim lighting and comfortable massaging chairs. The spa treatment rooms are spacious and almost homey, with plush beds and silky-soft sheets.

This spa would be perfect for a bridal party: Besides offering everything from hair and makeup to nails and spa services, it’s small enough that it could be partially reserved just for your group.

Bottom line:
Great for bridal parties and spa days with friends.

This article appears in the July 2011 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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