Stories for: Spas & Salons

Hotels, Los Angeles, Spas & Salons, TravelA Lovely Way to Exhale

Zen Lounge

There’s nothing I love more than a good massage…seriously, it’s a struggle every day not to just schedule another one. When I win the lottery, I’m totally going to have a masseuse on standby and get one every single day. So, naturally, I love finding a great new place in my city where I know I can escape to anytime I need to de-stress.

Exhale Spa has locations all across the country, including three here in Los Angeles (Hollywood, Santa Monica and Venice) and offers Core Fusion and Yoga classes, as well as spa services. When I got the chance to visit for a service, I had about thirty seconds of wondering if I should do something to burn calories, then I came to my senses and picked the massage. (I’m no fool!)

I visited the Santa Monica location, which is inside the Fairmont Miramar Hotel on Wilshire Blvd near the ocean. If you’ve never been to the hotel before, you’re in for s treat: It’s gorgeous and luxurious and everything you would expect from a hotel in that area, so it instantly sets the tone when you enter. Once you check in, you change in the lounge, which has seating areas for relaxing and a chill vibe. If I hadn’t had an appointment I needed to get to afterwards, I would’ve definitely parked myself in one of the comfy chairs in my oversized robe and read magazines for an hour or two. (The above image is from the Zen Lounge in the Hollywood location, but it gives you a good idea of what the Santa Monica one looks like as well).

I booked myself for the sixty minute Exhale Flow massage, which is their signature full body massage. It involves what they call “choreographed waves of kneading” that are meant to open your muscles up, free energy blockages and relieve tension. It’s a technique that incorporates more lymphatic drainage than a traditional deep tissue, so it helps detoxify your body more and boosts your immune as well. All of that sounds very technical, but what really matters is how it feels and that answer is… amazing. I had been so tense over a work project that was having some unexpected problems and for that hour, I forgot all about anything but the fabulous massage I was getting. It was so, so relaxing with the aromatherapy oils that were used and I loved that my technician followed my lead–when I started a conversation with her, she was lovely to talk to, but when I was quiet, she was also silent so I could fully enjoy the massage. My only complaint?  That I didn’t book the ninety minute treatment because the one hour one was over far, far too soon.

It was such a nice treat in such a lovely setting, and if you live in Los Angeles, I highly recommend this location, especially because it’s so close to the Third Street Promenade, which means you can shop afterwards (the perfect follow up to a massage!)

To learn more about the Exhale spas across the country or book a treatment for yourself, visit www.exhalespa.com.

Hotels, Spas & Salons, TravelUmstead Spa Organic Facial

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Revisiting my hometown is like spending time with an old friend- it brings back memories and creates new ones, all the while marveling at the latest changes. I grew up in North Carolina, which is now one of my favorite places to visit in part due to the burst of new restaurants, bars, museums and of course, southern charm. The pace is slow and friendly, and the air is clean- relaxation is paramount to my visits. This past trip included an experience I would gladly travel for again: an organic facial at the breathtaking Umstead Hotel and Spa. The spa itself has just undergone a comprehensive three month renovation, and I was amazed by the transformation. The 16,000 square feet of sprawling space spans two floors and takes its cue from nature, encouraging contemplation and relaxation. Natural elements of river rock, granite, bamboo, and glass have been incorporated into the updated design, which is fitting given the close proximity of the resort to the William B. Umstead State Park. During my spa experience, I fell in love with the textiles, locally sourced pottery and artwork which create the unique ambiance of the spa. The spa’s whirlpool is perfect for settling the mind and soul before or after a treatment. If the weather is warm, the quiet outdoor pool area is ideal for lounging and taking in the serene tree canopy and Carolina blue sky, which spa guests are privy to! READ MORE

Hotels, New York, Spas & Salons, TravelShibui Spa at the Greenwich Hotel

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For New York City dwellers, few things are as important to our well-being as simply getting away. Of course there are the obvious options — jaunts to the Hudson Valley or the Hamptons, but starting off a weekend of relaxation by sitting in traffic always seemed less than ideal. Instead, I prefer to search for sanctuaries in the city — whether a hidden restaurant or a quiet bar to enjoy a cocktail overlooking snowy streets — where I can retreat to at any time. My latest discovery is the Shibui Spa, a tranquil Japanese-inspired spa located in the luxurious Greenwich Hotel.

Walking into the hotel, I immediately feel a sense of calm and privacy. There are no travelers rushing about or too many staffers greeting you at every turn. Instead the concierge smiles and directs me to the spa — a short elevator ride one floor down — where when I arrive, the receptionist already knows me by name. The spa artfully blends luxury and tranquility, with a heavy emphasis on Japanese design and treatments. The focal point of the spa is a lantern lit pool (one of the largest I’ve seen in the city), which is surrounded by a 250-year old Japanese farmhouse, artfully constructed using antique Japanese craftsmanship. Here guests can lounge and enjoy tea or dried fruit before or after their treatments. READ MORE

Beauty, New York, Skincare, Spas & SalonsCecilia Wong Facial: Hello, Moisture!

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In New York, there’s always a wait for anything good! After my long-anticipated facial with Cecilia Wong, I can now see why she is considered a guru for facials in a city full of the best spas and salons. It was difficult to choose from Cecilia’s carefully crafted menu of treatments, but I finally settled on the Hello, Moisture facial treatment since autumn is upon us and moisture will be harder to come by! I admired Cecilia’s own flawless and glowing skin as she welcomed me to her downtown spa location, a spacious and airy oasis over the hustle and bustle of the city. As we sat down, Cecilia reviewed my concerns, and actually custom tailored the facial to my needs. I have a tendency to get patches of red, irritated skin as the seasons change, which were addressed with the soothing facial. READ MORE

Beauty, Hair, New York, Spas & SalonsSalon Ziba Brazilian Blowout

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I decided a few weeks ago that I had to end it all… frizzy hair, that is! This summer in particular, I’ve been wearing headbands and scarves incessantly (love the Hermes Twilly colors!), just trying to keep a bird’s nest situation from taking place atop my head. With thicker hair and a sudden plethora of baby hairs, I began earnestly exploring hair treatments. After an abundance of research and polling women for the secrets to their beautiful hair, the one came most highly recommended was the Brazilian Blowout. The keratin-based treatment eliminates frizz and straightens hair for up to three months, and can even work on hair that’s been chemically treated. The unique thing about the Brazilian Blowout is that besides smoothing and de-frizzing, it actually improves the health of your hair by creating a protective protein layer around the hair shaft. The result is smooth, healthy, and shiny hair–my dream come true! READ MORE

Beauty, Spas & Salons5 Things To Know About Getting Lash Extensions

lashA few weeks ago, I finally gave in to curiosity (and the desire for fuss-free, long, lush lashes) and booked myself an appointment for lash extensions. As it turns out, it was quite the learning experience. For those of you who are contemplating extensions, read on for the things to know!

1. Book at a reputable place: I got my extensions done at Browhaus and could not have been happier with their level of cleanliness and professionalism. Yes, I’m tempted to scrimp sometimes when it comes to certain things, but anything that involves gluing individual  hairs onto your eyes should not be that thing. Make sure you book at a place that has skilled professionals and uses the highest quality products. Which leads me to point two…

2. Get ready for an hour-long service of having individual lashes glued onto your existing lashes. I’m not sure what I expected going into the service, but I sure didn’t anticipate that I’d be laying there for an hour having such detailed work done to my lashes. Each false lash is adhered to an existing lash using a special, semi-permanent glue. During the entire procedure, your eyes will be closed to prevent any irritation…however the detailed work on your lash line can sometimes cause ticklishness.  The entire procedure is pain free but does require patience and the ability to resist rubbing your eyes, which for some people like myself, can be quite challenging in itself.  READ MORE

Bath & Body, New York, Spas & SalonsSummer Must: Purifying Back Treatment at Cornelia Spa

womanbackWith bikinis, sundresses, and backless tops on the horizon, a summer back scrub is pretty much mandatory. Now, I love those in-shower exfoliators and all, except for one little problem: I can’t actually *reach* my back. Finally, this year, with a backless wedding dress on the horizon, I decided to seek professional help, in the form of a lovely morning spent at the new Cornelia Spa at The Surrey Hotel. I checked my embarrassment at the door, and checked in for their divine Purifying Back Treatment.

I’m the kind of spa-goer who likes to see instant results and will almost always opt for a results driven treatment over a relaxing massage. That must be why I was positively obsessed with the Purifying Back Treatment at Cornelia Spa–the results were obvious and plentiful! The service starts with a thorough cleaning using the spa’s own line of luxurious botanical bath and body products. Following the wash, my aesthetician thoroughly inspected my skin and delivered the news I knew I would hear: my back was looking a little congested. Not to worry, she assured me, as the remainder of the treatment would be focused on unclogging pores, sloughing off dead skin, and removing all the impurities off my back.  READ MORE

Nails, Skincare, Spas & Salons, Washington DCCapital Spotlight: Haven Beauty Lounge

 

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“People underestimate DC!” exclaims spa founder and master esthetician Shae Jackson, when asked about introducing a fresh new concept in beauty treatments to the nation’s capital. We are sitting next to the zen waterfall in the outdoors of the newly-opened Haven Beauty Lounge. She is the expert that everyone is trying to book, and for good reason! Having traveled around the world researching beauty treatments, Jackson has formulated her own integrated approach to skin care and wellness, combining her vision with years of experience at the Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Bliss, and Blue Mercury. Now, Jackson has branched out on her own and opened Haven, a members-only beauty lounge, where she has meticulously selected the best and most effective products for her signature custom facials, nail services and waxes. Membership starts at only $30 a month and instead of going through the hassle of setting up a pedicure every few weeks or monthly facial, you can have an ongoing appointment scheduled with credit card on file, so you can literally forget your wallet! READ MORE

Beauty, Skincare, Spas & SalonsDiamond Facial, A Girl’s Best Friend

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I’ve always considered myself lucky that I was born in the month of April — not only are flowers blooming (just not this year yet), but my birthstone is, of course, the diamond. Naturally, it’s always been my excuse to pass over other stones, because well, I was just born that way. When I first heard about the new 50-minute Diamond Facial at The Spa at Equinox, I couldn’t wait to try it since it combines two of my loves — getting pampered and diamonds! The “diamond” part of the facial is a collagen mask formulated to give the same effects as a diamond microdermabrasion, and it is actually platinum-infused to illuminate and revive the skin. READ MORE

New York, Spas & SalonsCurrant Affairs

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If the state of current affairs has got you a little down…well I don’t blame you. As an avid news reader and a bit of a worrywart, I find myself constantly stressed out these days about everything ranging from my 401k to how safe I am on the subway. Obviously all that stress can’t be healthy, so here’s a bit of good news: Eve Salon’s limited edition Currant Affairs pedicure will help you unwind and relax, and the delicious spiked tea that comes with the service will definitely take any remaining edge off.

We’re pretty big fans of Eve Salon here at TDO — in fact, I’ve been known to trek downtown and crosstown to check in for my manis and pedis throughout the years. They’ve got a friendly, cheerful ambiance that balances neighborhood warmth, top notch service, and (most important of all) spic and span cleanliness. Plus their rotating special seasonal services are always a draw. The Currant Affairs pedicure features 45 minutes of softening and pampering for your feet with a selection of rich, berry colored polishes to match (though, of course, you can choose any shade you like). Sink back into the plush pillows as Whish’s limited edition Black Currant Sugar Scrub sloughs off any wintery patches and Black Currant Body Butter helps soften and smooth every edge of your feet. Indulge with a cup of Stash’s Blackcurrant tea, which can be kicked up a notch with a splash of Creme de Cassis (highly recommended). I also love taking the time to give my overactive mind a break too, with Eve’s ever-growing stash of current reading material — of the celebrity and gossip kind, of course.

Eve Salon is located at 55 W. 8th St. in NYC.  For more info, visit evesalonnyc.com or call 212-807-8054.

The Daily Obsession draws from the expertise of a coast-to-coast editorial team offering dedicated readers reports of the most luxurious products and trends. We provide sophisticated and relevant angles on the latest fashion trends, must-have beauty products, insider interviews, travel destinations and of course, our current obsessions.

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