A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach 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.
Brandi Nuttall, the owner of Dolce Salon & Spa, must believe that you can never have too much of a good thing. Expanding upon her first and second Dolce locations, which measure in at 12,000 and 13,000 square feet, respectively, she opened the third hub in 2007, and now there is a fourth. The 30,000-square-foot behemoth built in 2007 houses 62 styling stations, 21 spa rooms, 14 pedicure thrones, a makeup counter, a brow bar, and manicure stations. All four locations boast the same services—though at different scales—as well as men’s hair and spa treatments and bridal styling. Unlike hotels that charge extra for doorknobs and oxygen, the salons have a generous streak. They provide hairstyling services to those who donate to Locks of Love, spa services to local foster children, and hair clippings to areas affected by oil spills.
Massage Haven's name is a bit deceiving. Though both locations make good on the haven part, neither limits its services to just massages. Inside the Peoria and Scottsdale retreats, expert staff oversee facials, waxes, and various other beauty-boosting treatments, including hand and foot scrubs. Still, due to their therapeutic and relaxing benefits, massages manage to rise to the top of the services list. The team—which includes more than 20 licensed therapists— is skilled in seven different types of massage, including Swedish, prenatal, and trigger point. And each session can be as short or as long as the patient needs; those looking for a quick pick-me-up can book a 30-minute express massage, while those looking for longer kneading or an inconspicuous place to nap can escape for a full two hours.
At Tan Factory, patrons slip from standup Saturn tanning beds or lie-down units, their skin warm and bronzed. The UVA-based high-pressure beds leave bodies with golden hues, and red-light-therapy beds hum as they generously spread a glow to stimulate collagen-producing fibroblasts during 15-minute sessions. As the light penetrates epidermal layers, it activates the body’s natural processes to reduce the appearance of fine lines, blemishes, and scars, restoring youthful sleekness and an ability to make convincing shadow puppets of dolphins. Those seeking to augment skin with sunless color step into a Mystic Tan or VersaSpa Spray booth and emerge 60 seconds later with fully toasted coats that last up to eight days.
Inside Devine's Salon Spa, clients aren't greeted with the thick chemical odor of formaldehyde, ammonia, or some laboratory's version of lavender. What they do smell are natural, aromatic botanicals wafting from a line of Aveda products. The team of stylists and aestheticians utilize these products throughout their full menu of men's and women's haircuts, facials, and body treatments, including complementary Aveda sensory rituals designed to put stressed minds and bodies at ease. And since Aveda products are manufactured with environmentally friendly wind power, it's not unusual for guests to emerge from Devine's looking and feeling beautified, and greeted with a hug from a tree.
Julian Luna and Jim Le opened J Salon in 2006, and have since built up a team of experienced stylists with specialties ranging from Japanese thermal straightening to full-on makeovers. With products from Bumble and bumble and Moroccanoil in tow, they revamp looks with highlights, cuts, and full colors or touchups. Their expertise led the staff to enter a “hair wars” competition, a runway show designed to display the creativity of Phoenix area hair stylists. Along with hair care, J Salon helps clients get rid of the hair they don’t want with lip and eyebrow waxing services.