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.
In 2009, Kelly Larson and Jenn Holm turned what was once just an empty space in a strip mall into a serene yoga haven, replete with cushy cork flooring, soft lighting, and a modern sound system. Along with a team of certified yoga teachers, the duo strives to share yoga's physical and mental benefits with practitioners of all fitness levels, packing their schedule with classes suitable for beginners, advanced students, or children. They lead a variety of styles, including gentle Yin yoga, more advanced hot yoga, barre, and XY fitness.
Yoga 4 You is also the only studio in Minnesota licensed to teach Yoga Body Boot Camp?a total body regimen that fuses yoga and adrenaline-raising moves inspired by the popular shows The Biggest Loser and Survivor.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1,689 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
The licensed massage therapists at Massage Advantage dote on visitors with a slew of custom massage techniques, including Swedish, prenatal, and deep tissue. Armed with warm blankets and a credo to respect patients' privacy, therapists begin each 30- or 60-minute session with a discussion on clients' specific aches and ailments. Therapists can also haul their equipment to office buildings for workplace chair massages that help reinvigorate fatigued employees or stressed-out water coolers during 5–15 minute stints. Each succession of kneads is designed to alleviate stress, muscles soreness, and various medical conditions, such as high blood pressure.
A vibrant lineup of nail-polish bottles sparkles against a backdrop of warm, red walls at Solar Nails, where talented nail techs are equipped with a rainbow of OPI colors. A row of massage chairs sets the scene at the pedicure station, where nail artists treat feet to a sudsy bath before trimming cuticles and painting toenails. Instead of baskets filled with burning leaves, teardrop-shaped light fixtures illuminate the manicure tables as techs enhance nails with no-chip polish, UV gel fills, or acrylic sets. The salon also welcomes kids to accompany their parents and get toes and fingers pampered at a discounted rate.
At McHugh's Public House, eight taps pour down the sides of mugs, which bartenders twist back to leave a light crown of froth as plates of pub fare emerge from the kitchen. Potato chips plunge into cheese dip with chunks of corned beef and cabbage alongside plates of Minnesota-caught walleye. Guests set their glasses on the gleaming bar, leaving cool rings of condensation beneath flat-screen televisions and vintage Guinness signs. Outside, sun filters down past the green umbrellas, which line the patio like swaying palms that won’t throw coconuts to impress their friends.