When Carissa Ballard was a little girl, she revamped her dolls' hairdos and slathered her brothers' faces with her own special concoctions. Her youthful experiments gave way to an interest in alternative health and herbology and eventually led her to become a registered massage therapist with specialties in lymphatic drainage, reiki, and craniosacral therapy. When she isn’t honing her massage talents in educational courses and apprenticeships, Carissa volunteers her skills as a clinical aesthetician to organizations such as Look Good...Feel Better, a nonprofit dedicated to boosting the self-esteem of cancer and burn survivors.
With such a diverse skill set, Carissa needed a place where she could consolidate all of her talents under one roof. Thus, she opened European Day Spa of Fredericksburg in 1998. As its name implies, the spa invokes the most luxurious corners of Europe, from the opulent interiors of Paris to the plush kneading tables of a Roman pizzeria. Its slate of skin-therapy and body treatments includes spa packages with add-ons such as carriage rides and rooftop wine preludes.
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.
Within the green and blue walls of Day Lily Hair and Nail Salon, guests sip complimentary beverages and peruse magazines as they await the start of spa services. Massaging pedicure thrones gently relax backs as technicians beautify toes with traditional or Shellac polish. Free WiFi access lets hairstylists' clients download images of their favorite celebrity ?dos or Fraggle Rock characters to inspire haircuts and color services. The crew also waxes away unwanted hair and customizes facials with Dr Irena Eris products.
Austin Body Contouring has one goal: streamline their patients’ silhouettes. To that end, the staff employs a two-pronged approach of laser treatments and dietary supplements. They wield the beams of Zerona and LipoLaser 2000 systems, designed to flatten fat cells and burn calories, respectively. Curva supplements bolster weight-loss efforts with a blend of extracts—including ginkgo biloba and green tea—that help the circulatory and lymphatic systems dispose of excess fat and sort the body's recyclables into their proper bins.
Licensed aesthetic educator and med-spa vet Carrie Napiorkowski begins every skin treatment with a detailed skin analysis, a steam-assisted deep cleanse, an exfoliation, and an intensive hydration. Pharmaceutical-grade skincare products stand at attention in Carrie's arsenal, Moor Spa's all-natural, petroleum-free salves among them. The spa's roster of services ventures beyond visages to make backs tingle with enzyme treatments, soften signs of wrinkles or discoloration on hands, feet, and old leather purses with chemical peels, and even tone tushes with the Firming Fanny facial.
An oversize sign effervesces from the roof of Pink West's low-slung cottage, where a lush pastoral view rife with stunningly moisturized songbirds unfolds from wicker porch furniture. Inside, a crystal chandelier loops from the ceiling and softly lights the wooden floors and antique armoire of a genteel treatment room.