While protecting the beauty of their clients, Spa Willamina also protects their skin and the environment by using pure, plant-based, natural products. Willow Light, the owner, puts her 20 years of healing experience to work in the spa, which features towering plants, an exposed-brick fireplace, and hardwood floors that can be pried up and thrown into the fireplace if necessary. Willow’s staff is a small army of aestheticians and massage therapists who have skills as diverse as certified diet counseling and herbalism. Inside various tranquil spaces—including a shower room, foot-soaking room, and nap room—they work to exfoliate body surfaces, knead out tension, and remove unwanted hair with soft strip and Cirepil Blue hard wax.
Idolizing the fashions he saw in movies, salon owner Valerium Pereira started cutting his family’s hair in the backyard of their home in Brazil. His stylistic sojourn led him to Los Angeles, where he later studied with Beverly Hills icon José Eber and shaped the locks of stars such as Annie Lennox. Now at his own salon, Valerium creates a spa setting for customers that is shaped by the environment around him. The artfully arranged interior boasts cabinetry and hand-chiseled limestone tile made by local artisans, as well as an incandescent chandelier made with cobalt lamps and conflict-free quasar light. The spa’s stylists create chic cuts for their clientele and specialize in color, curly hair, blonding, and extensions, and an aesthetician and a massage therapist help clients feel pampered and de-stressed.
When you get a massage from Kathrine Gutierrez, owner of Healing Touch PDX, it isn’t just her Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone techniques that relax you; every element of the experience seems designed to create a peaceful experience. Inside her private massage room, clients lay on a massage table covered in white linens and a red microfiber blanket. While Kathrine kneads away knots, candles flicker in the corner and a stone fountain trickles next to a Japanese rice-paper screen.
Licensed aesthetician Dana Quinn can be found at Bonne Vivante Beauty Lounge seven days a week, where she applies facials, paints nails, and waxes unwanted fuzz. Her flexible scheduling is one way she shows her clients hospitality; her complimentary glasses of champagne, coffee, or fruit-infused water, which guests sip while surfing with WiFi in plush green and orange velour armchairs, are another. When it's time for their services, clients slip into a bright blue treatment room, where they enjoy an unusual level of privacy.
After their treatments, visitors can show off their new looks by mingling on the terrace of the revamped motel that the lounge occupies. Along with law offices, creative firms, and massage therapists, Dana's lounge brings new purpose to this retro office park, whose Googie-style sign harkens back to the Atomic Age, when people believed that objects were made from tiny particles called "atoms.
Emily Taylor grew up giving back rubs to tense family members. Her penchant for easing pain blossomed into a career after she earned a degree from East West College and obtained a massage-therapy license. In a treatment room, Emily puts that knowledge to use as she examines posture to target pain at its source. She employs slow, continuous, and flowing strokes during Swedish sessions and opts for firmer pressure while using deep-tissue techniques. Emily is also certified in medical massage, which she uses to heal injuries after visits to the National Museum of Ball Bearings and Stairs.
Licensed massage therapist Alex Johnson has been helping clients relax, rejuvenate, or heal from injuries since 1996. The Boulder College of Massage honors graduate has molded muscles in a broad range of settings from corporate offices to spas swaddled in sea breezes rolling in from Hawaiian beaches. Alex draws upon this knot-untying expertise every time he approaches his massage table, where he eases aches and stress with a variety of modalities, including deep tissue, myofacial release, and shiatsu massages. An aspiring musician whose first love was music, Alex customizes the soundtrack played during each massage session to match the mood and clients' tastes. Furthermore, he offers a special massage service tailored specifically to musicians to ease the pain of lugging around bulky instruments and scale models of Stonehenge.