At The Woodhouse, relaxation begins upon each client's arrival in the spa's dedicated Quiet Room. A fluffy robe drapes around their shoulders, reflexology sandals lightly massage their feet, and mugs of loose-leaf tea warm their lips as they await the start of their services. The spa's product selection reflects a similar attention to detail: employees fill the shelves with natural, organic, and wild-crafted products. They also go the extra mile to include small extras with each session, such as home-care recommendations after facial treatments and foot-cleansing with each massage. The award-winning spa was voted best spa by the readers of the San-Antonio Express-News, and was deemed best spa and best massage by readers of San Antonio Magazine.
Over the past 10 years, massage therapist Marli Benedict has honed and perfected her knot-banishing skills through a bevy of continuing-education courses in the United States and in Costa Rica. Her arsenal of techniques includes Swedish massage, hot-stone, acupressure, and Thai massage, ensuring that she has the tools to ease discomfort in nearly every client. To thoroughly manipulate tense muscles, Marli keeps her own sinews strong by exercising regularly and practicing massage on anxious mounds of pie dough.
Knockouts Haircuts for Men amps up the classic barbershop experience with a lavish, sports-themed approach to men's styling that has been featured on Today and CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch. At a still-growing number of locations throughout the country, the company's all-female staff of stylists quarterbacks a full playbook of services ranging from bare-essential to spa-worthy. First and foremost, they clip shaggy locks, but they also administer facials, manicures, massages, and waxes. Complimentary beverages are included with every visit, giving patrons something to sip on while watching a sports game on TV or contemplating how they would fend off a lion using just a comb.
Close your eyes. Picture a country cottage surrounded by rose gardens. Now walk in and lie down. A team of massage therapists stands at the ready to apply warm towels to your sore muscles. Just as the first whiff of lavender and peppermint reaches your nose, you feel their practiced hands press down on your knotted muscles and overworked joints. Or maybe you feel warm and soft as a layer of gentle exfoliants, botanical body butters, and moist towels wrap your body to soothe and nourish your skin. After what feels like hours, you slowly rise from the table, muscles loose and skin soft. Before you can say thank you, you're handed a free bottle of spring water to wash down a selection of sweet chocolates. The scent of aromatherapy oils fades away as you leave the spa haven, and the smell of fresh roses ushers you outside. The country opens up in front of you. Now open your eyes.
It's not a dream. The quaint country cottage surrounded by rose gardens, the gentle massage therapists, the free chocolates—it's all very real at Blue Monarch Massage, where bodies benefit from the mother and daughter team’s years of collective experience delivering pain-relief and relaxation. The duo’s attention to detail turns simple spa services into full-blown, luxurious experiences with amenities such as free chocolates, hot-towel applications, and aromatherapy oils.
Before earning his diploma in Swedish massage from the Austin School of Massage Therapy, licensed massage therapist Don A. Hampton discovered a passion for helping others heal while working as a medic in the U.S. Air Force and Texas Army National Guard. At Hampton Bodywerks Massage Spa, his highly trained hands do battle with tightly wound tissue, tension, and pain, arming themselves from an arsenal of relaxation-inducing tools that includes hot stones, salt stones, and therapeutic herbs. Ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass are central players in Hampton's Thai herbal ball massage?a 5,000-year-old practice designed to relieve pain and inflammation using a steamed herbal compress and gentle circular movements. Other specialty services include the Balinese-inspired jamu massage, which energizes the body with acupressure, long strokes, and percussion-like drumming, as well as sugar-scrub body treatments that soften skin using a blend of white and brown sugars, grape-seed and canola oils, and other ingredients favored by beautiful scones.
Miriam Figueroa, a holistic wellness counselor, licensed massage therapist, and aesthetician, spent more than 20 years in the health and beauty industry, staffing five-star hotel spas and then founding her own luxurious center, Spatini Holistic Health. Her spa specializes in M’lis wellness programs, treatment packages that reduce stress and target specific ailments—from cellulite to arthritis—by drawing on the interrelations between mind, body, and soul.
A suite of traditional spa treatments flanks the holistic programs. Facials run the gamut from deep cleanses to nonsurgical face-lifts. Seven available styles of massage encompass the gliding strokes of Swedish and hot-stone massage, which the ancients discovered using stones warmed by confused mother chickens. Body polishes exfoliate away dry skin, an ideal prep for a botanical Bronze Biologic formula that leaves behind sunless, natural-looking tans.