Downtown Banya looks and feels like an old-world bathhouse, but it's blessed with some distinctly new-world amenities, including a bistro that serves dumplings and beer and spa services such as massages and facials. The main draw is a sauna composed of two rooms—Russian and dry. A third-generation Russian stove maker crafted the Russian sauna, which has a low-humidity environment that allows temperatures to soar higher than they could in other types of saunas. The wet sauna, meanwhile, dangles the prospect of aromatherapy—clients may buy herbs in the lobby and waft them throughout the room so that no one will question why their hair smells like chicken fingers. After they’re done loafing around the sauna rooms, clients can dip into cold pools that help the skin maintain elasticity. Or instead, they can sink into a warm jacuzzi equipped with a flat-screen plasma TV overhead.
The exuberant exfoliators at Royale European Skin Care wipe out no-good skin cells with thorough multistep treatments that leave epidermises enlivened. The go-to spa facial polishes peeper chrome with a basic cleansing, a pH balancing, and a moisturizing mask finish ($84), and the intense glow advanced facial targets dry, sensitive, or oily skin types with an aromatherapy-based remedy ($94). The warm algae wrap treats trunks by blanketing bodies in vitamin-rich seaweed smoothies for 25 minutes to detoxify and hydrate hides ($99). Guests sip tea in the sitting room between services, relaxing before rooting out unwanted follicle flowers with full face ($40) or Brazilian bikini ($55) waxing services. Stop being mistaken for squiggly-mouthed emoticons with the hydrating lip treatment, which rinses out wrinkles and reshapes kisser contours ($15).
While clients relax under hot stones or aromatherapy oils, licensed massage therapist Brittney Younger is hard at work tracking down muscle knots and tension. She devotes full concentration to each of her 16 types of massages because she realizes that no two bodies are identical and that tension can occur in unassuming places. As a result, she provides custom trigger-point, lymph-drainage, and myofascial-release therapies during 60- or 90-minute sessions.
Spa In The City’s beauty professionals do just about everything there is to do in the spa and salon arena. In addition to traditional services (among them, haircuts, waxes, and massages), the specialists ramp up the volume and length of lashes with extensions. Applied one by one, the faux threads nestle alongside natural lashes to create a dynamic yet airy effect. Cosmeticians further enhance facial features with custom-blended mineral foundation, powder, or blush. After devising the perfect blend of colors to match your skin, the specialists keep the recipe on file so that it can be reformulated when you run out or your body double gets sunburned. Spa In The City's personnel also staff an adjoining boutique full of beauty products, gifts, and jewelry.
The seasoned staff at Bliss Nail Spa reconfigures nails into perfectly polished digits during a pampering mani-pedi inside an elegant spa space with bamboo accents and a prismatic wall of tiles. Nail technicians begin appendage makeovers with a nail shaping and cuticle trimming, creating shapely, refined tips free of hangnails and burrowing finger badgers. The exfoliating granules of a sea-salt scrub then slough away skin’s rough outer layer, with massaging kneads coaxing fresh, glowing layers out of their skin shell. Hands dunk into a skin-smoothing paraffin wax, and a hot-towel wrap ensconces pavement-pounders to help to unwind built-up tension. Sessions conclude with a layer of OPI polish bedecking nails in the client’s shade of choice, creating digits more colorful than those on a Technicolor calculator.
After graduating from massage therapy school and learning Swedish and pregnancy massage, Sarah Merickel continued her education and studied more advanced forms such as neuromuscular massage, orthopedic cupping, and myofascial release. On top of that, she took concentrated classes that focused on individual areas of the body: the low back and hip, neck, and upper back regions, to name a few. Now, she parlays all of her studies into customized massages at Olympic Avenue Massage. Sarah uses oils and lotions during her treatments, homing in on problem areas so that every client’s massage is tailored to relieve their own set of pains and discomforts.
Though their resumés are packed with impressive credentials from academies such as Aveda and Vidal Sassoon, it's the stylists' commitment to passing that knowledge on to their clients that sets Bella Dolche Salon and Spa apart. During each service, stylists carefully explain how to replicate results at home using Aveda products and offer tips personalized to each client's hair type and lifestyle. While hair artists demonstrate how to deal with hair that won't stay curled, the salon's estheticians tackle complex skincare dilemmas with help from an Aveda Elemental Nature questionnaire. By assigning clients to one of four skin types, estheticians can personalize treatments to balance dry, aging skin, sensitive complexions, or oily skin prone to breakouts.