Since its origins as a converted parking garage, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has ushered film-lovers of all breeds into its auditoriums, even gaining a following among Hollywood legends; Quentin Tarantino has been known to host five-day movie marathons at Alamo. The theater has earned that reputation by making moviegoing a personal experience, from the menu of handcrafted snacks and locally brewed beer to the completely ad-free presentations before shows. Alamo?s ninja servers pick up written food and drink orders throughout the movie and serve moviegoers directly at their seat. The staff enforces a strict no-talking, no-texting policy by kicking out any offenders, falling just short of yanking them from their seats with a giant's shepherd's crook.
Both first-run blockbusters and classics are projected onto Alamo's silver screens in crisp 35-millimeter or digital format. Meanwhile, surround speakers immerse audiences in the cinematic soundscape, whether they're seated in one of the expansive theaters afforded to blockbuster reels or the more intimate spaces reserved for indie films wound around tiny bobbins. Despite Alamo's vow of silence, fan-centric Quote-Along and Sing-Along nights encourage guests to shout their favorite lines, and actors, directors, and other celebrities often attend special screenings to lead in-depth discussions. These exclusive events have led to acclaim for Alamo from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, which called it ?one of America's most fanatically unique moviegoing experiences,? and Wired, which opined that it "might just be the coolest movie theater in the world."
Close your eyes. Picture a country cottage surrounded by rose gardens. Now walk in and lie down. A team of massage therapists stands at the ready to apply warm towels to your sore muscles. Just as the first whiff of lavender and peppermint reaches your nose, you feel their practiced hands press down on your knotted muscles and overworked joints. Or maybe you feel warm and soft as a layer of gentle exfoliants, botanical body butters, and moist towels wrap your body to soothe and nourish your skin. After what feels like hours, you slowly rise from the table, muscles loose and skin soft. Before you can say thank you, you're handed a free bottle of spring water to wash down a selection of sweet chocolates. The scent of aromatherapy oils fades away as you leave the spa haven, and the smell of fresh roses ushers you outside. The country opens up in front of you. Now open your eyes.
It's not a dream. The quaint country cottage surrounded by rose gardens, the gentle massage therapists, the free chocolates—it's all very real at Blue Monarch Massage, where bodies benefit from the mother and daughter team’s years of collective experience delivering pain-relief and relaxation. The duo’s attention to detail turns simple spa services into full-blown, luxurious experiences with amenities such as free chocolates, hot-towel applications, and aromatherapy oils.
Before earning his diploma in Swedish massage from the Austin School of Massage Therapy, licensed massage therapist Don A. Hampton discovered a passion for helping others heal while working as a medic in the U.S. Air Force and Texas Army National Guard. At Hampton Bodywerks Massage Spa, his highly trained hands do battle with tightly wound tissue, tension, and pain, arming themselves from an arsenal of relaxation-inducing tools that includes hot stones, salt stones, and therapeutic herbs. Ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass are central players in Hampton's Thai herbal ball massage?a 5,000-year-old practice designed to relieve pain and inflammation using a steamed herbal compress and gentle circular movements. Other specialty services include the Balinese-inspired jamu massage, which energizes the body with acupressure, long strokes, and percussion-like drumming, as well as sugar-scrub body treatments that soften skin using a blend of white and brown sugars, grape-seed and canola oils, and other ingredients favored by beautiful scones.
A.R.T. Massage Body Spa takes its name from the three adjectives that describe each one of its services: advanced, relaxing, and therapeutic. The staff promises their clients will enjoy the latest techniques designed to both soothe the mind and relieve specific needs. Massage therapies thwart tension and improve range of motion, and custom spray tans give skin a sun-kissed glow without having to find a sun-size box of chocolates first. Using Éminence Organic products, the staff cleanses skin and fights signs of aging during signature, cleansing, or organic express facials with blends of organic herbs, fruits, and vegetables rich with nutrients.
Set inside a 1920s bungalow, the spa decorates each private room in modern decor with subtle touches, such as finger bells and aromatics, that appeal to all senses. Before or after treatments, patrons can peruse a selection of clothing, candles, handbags, and jewelry inside the spa’s retail area, which also sells the Éminence Organic skincare line.
Miriam Figueroa, a holistic wellness counselor, licensed massage therapist, and aesthetician, spent more than 20 years in the health and beauty industry, staffing five-star hotel spas and then founding her own luxurious center, Spatini Holistic Health. Her spa specializes in M’lis wellness programs, treatment packages that reduce stress and target specific ailments—from cellulite to arthritis—by drawing on the interrelations between mind, body, and soul.
A suite of traditional spa treatments flanks the holistic programs. Facials run the gamut from deep cleanses to nonsurgical face-lifts. Seven available styles of massage encompass the gliding strokes of Swedish and hot-stone massage, which the ancients discovered using stones warmed by confused mother chickens. Body polishes exfoliate away dry skin, an ideal prep for a botanical Bronze Biologic formula that leaves behind sunless, natural-looking tans.
The licensed and trained team at Glow Hair Salon & Spa transforms exteriors with quality products in a classic yet contemporary atmosphere. Inside the salon, stylists create new looks with cuts, highlights, and straightening services featuring the botanically based Pureology line. Spa specialists reinvigorate skin with anti-aging facials for both men and women and employ glo therapeutics formulas during custom peels, which exfoliate away dead skin cells accidentally accumulated during late-night séances. Massage therapists soothe weary muscles within the electric-blue walls of Glow's new location, whose grand opening was celebrated in late 2011. Glittering chandeliers and an antique-style dresser juxtapose harmoniously with modern black leather sofas that harbor a secret love of big-band music.