A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Were it not for the sweet scent of pomade and the constant buzzing of clippers, it would be easy to mistake Park Ave. Barbers for a cozy after-work hangout. After receiving a warm welcome, men with mussed hairdos hop into leather thrones and entrust their styles to the shop’s expert barbers. Flat-screen televisions keep eyes distracted from the scissors behind them as the barbers work assiduously to dress up scalps in timeless fashions. A hot lather softens whiskers before a traditional straight-razor shave coaxes out facial tattoos cowering in the darkness of a five o’clock shadow.