Blue Heron Wellness
10723-B Columbia Pike, Silver Spring; 301-754-3730
The relaxation room at this spa and yoga studio says it all: Instead of copies of Vogue or Us Weekly, it’s strewn with handwritten journals filled with meditative quotes.
The clean but bare-bones place probably won’t appeal to those looking for luxury, but if you’re okay with not having a plush robe or elegantly appointed treatment room, you can get an excellent massage. Sherry Weber, our massage therapist, was warm and friendly, listening intently to our talk about aches and pains. It paid off: Her mix of myofascial and Swedish massage left us feeling floaty.
First-timers get 10 percent off their 60- or 90-minute massage.
Bottom line: Budget-friendly, good-quality treatments with a granola feel.
The Still Point
1 Columbia Ave., Takoma Park; 301-920-0801
The Still Point is a great choice for spa-goers who not only are seeking such traditional treatments as facials and massages but who may also like a touch of holistic healing such as acupuncture and energy work.
We love the facials ($90 and up), which involve ingredients including local honey, glacial mud, herbs, and Combat-Ready Balm. Owner Tori Paide has drawn raves for her fertility-treatment acupuncture.
Post-treatment, guests can relax on the spa’s sunny porch with a cup of tea. A boutique offers a carefully curated assortment of jewelry in addition to organic spa products.
Bottom line: Our pick for the area’s top holistic 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.
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.
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.
This article appears in the July 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.