News & Politics

Great Spas 2011: Neighborhood Spas

You don't have to travel far for excellent service

TuSuva Body & Skincare offers wallet-friendly massages. Photograph courtesy of TuSuva Body & Skincare

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

Massage therapist Rafael Rehac asked lots of pertinent questions about pain, stress points, and pressure-level preferences before explaining the aromatherapy oils used in the Deep Tissue Massage ($120 for 75 minutes). Once the massage began, he inquired if our tester has had problems with carpal tunnel syndrome in the past (she has), then spent several minutes giving an assertive yet helpful rub to her neck, shoulders, arms, and upper legs to ease that discomfort. The overall massage was terrific: relaxing and well paced.

Staffers at this nicely decorated spa were friendly and informed—the young woman at the front desk gave detailed explanations about the makeup and skin-care lines sold there—and the sitting area was comfortable. The atmosphere is peaceful and serene.

The spa can be hard to find, and even when you’re in the parking lot, you’ll still wonder if a top-tier day spa can possibly reside in a lonely, stark office park in Ashburn. It can.

Bottom line:
Service is the key here, and well-trained staffers will ensure a good appointment each time you visit.


Bella Donna Spa

7025-H Manchester Blvd., Alexandria; 703-313-7945

We’ve been loyal to Bella Donna for years. So have its therapists: Most have been on staff for more than a decade.

Visitors are greeted by co-owners and sisters Mary Powell and Lisa Brown; customers can then relax with a magazine in the sunny waiting area. The treatment rooms are basic but quiet, clean, and spacious.

We’re fans of Chris Swingler, whose deep-tissue massage ($85 for 60 minutes) completely works out the kinks. The spa’s LaStone therapy ($125 for 75 minutes), which uses hot and cold stones, is also relaxing.

Bottom line: No frills, but great service makes us return again and again.


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

Walk into this Aveda spa and you’re welcomed by the wonderful aroma of fragrant oils. Elaj Aveda looks tiny from the street, but there are plenty of treatment rooms and shower facilities.

For our basic pedicure ($40), we sat in a comfortably padded chair. We breathed in the tangerine and vanilla cream used to massage tired feet. A heated neck wrap added to the relaxed feeling.

We’d happily come back for one of the body treatments, which includes exfoliation, massage, and lots of aromatic oils.

Bottom line: An unpretentious neighborhood place with a terrific menu of services.


Roxsan Day Spa

11301 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda; 301-881-7505

Don’t let the location—on the third floor of White Flint Mall by the movie theaters—fool you. Roxsan is more than your average mall spa.

Tucked behind the manicure area and behind a glass door, the spa offers a comfortable waiting area with magazines, tea, and coffee. We had booked a custom facial ($85) with Mahin Alinaghi, a 28-year industry veteran. She didn’t disappoint us—the facial was relaxing while still being deep-cleansing. A glycolic peel and nearly painless extractions left our face dewy for days.

The only negative? When we were offered the peel, we weren’t told it would be an extra $25.

Bottom line:
Well worth the visit if you’re already heading to the mall.


Spa on the Hill
1013 E St., SE; 202-525-7684

You might feel as if you’re walking into someone’s home at this Capitol Hill spa inside a renovated rowhouse. The small waiting area doesn’t do much to soothe—a customer was gabbing on a cell phone there during a recent visit—but the homey treatment rooms make it easy to relax.

Although our room faced busy Pennsylvania Avenue, we couldn’t hear any street noise. Our therapist spent lots of time untangling knots and incorporating deep-tissue techniques during a relaxation massage. At $100, the one-hour treatment left us feeling light and loose.

Bottom line: In an area without much to offer in terms of spas, this one earns extra points for convenience.


TuSuva Body & Skincare

2701 Ontario Rd., NW; 202-299-9005

On the second story of a nondescript building in Adams Morgan, this spa, though far from fancy, is a respite from the city outside. The space is small—the reception area doubles as the lounge, and there’s no locker room or changing area.

Despite the busy street below, the treatment room was quiet. An iPod played soothing music while a noise machine created the sound of waves crashing on the beach.

The 60-minute signature massage—a good deal at $80—began with deep breathing and a soothing head rub. Massage therapist Jeanetta Joseph’s touch was firm enough to drive out kinks but not so strong that it was painful. The massage ended with a full back rub, in which she used hot rocks and her forearm to apply extra pressure to stubborn knots.

Bottom line: An affordable, bare-bones spa that’s a good choice if you live or work nearby.

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

Subscribe to Washingtonian
Follow Washingtonian on Twitter