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.
Southern Exposure Tanning Center gilds skins with 18 tanning units, including a red-light-therapy bed. Beds offer four levels of UV tanning, and an automated Mystic Tan spray booth mists hides in a matter of minutes. To assist with these options, the shop’s Smart Tan–certified staff stands by ready to discuss the differences between UV and sunless tanning, as well as the benefits of accelerators, HCG, vitamin B drops, and skincare products.