Planet Beach is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the services. These friendly automatons facilitate everything from hydro massages and oxygen therapy to spray tanning and luminous facials, as well as Planet Beach's signature take on tantastic UV therapy. Each machine is designed for a specific service, which makes it the ultimate expert and keeps it from developing the ability to cry. Advanced spa services, such as hydro-derma fusion, sauna time, hydro massage ($40 per session), and luminous facials ($40 per session) provide opportunities for sweating, moisturizing, and photoskinthesis.
In September 2001, Eric Fishman was far from the sunny skies of his Tampa home but nearing his light-bulb moment. Eric was checking in on one of his investments, a tanning salon in Los Angeles, when 9/11 put a halt on all flights and caused him to spend some extra time in the storefront. As days passed, he watched celebrity after celebrity stroll into the brilliant blue box that was Mystic Tan's trademark and emerge looking as though they'd spent a day on the beach or a millisecond on Mars.
Within months, Eric and his partner established one of the few Mystic Tan boutiques in Florida. The advanced airbrush technology stirred up demand and delivered 9,000 tans in the first year, with clients driving in from other towns to test the UV-free mists. Soleil Tanning Boutique now spills over into two locations, each trimmed in modern beach décor and stacked with one Mystic Tan booth and six powerful UV beds so that clients can achieve their ideal bronze.
Tan Central stocks numerous high-quality tanning beds and staffs a team of professionally trained technicians with the know-how to operate them. With the help of moisturizing lotions, the facility’s standup and lie-down booths coat clients’ bodies in rich, even tans; custom airbrush and booth spray tanning are also available. The Norvell Master–certified spray-tan technician will even haul the spray-tan setups to homes and events for private tanning parties. After a tanning session, guests can cool off with a 100% fruit smoothie from the smoothie bar and shop for a swimsuit that best helps them flaunt their newly bronzed bodies.
SolarTan bronzes physiques with spray tanning, UV tanning, or tan cocktails that combine the two. Custom spray tans mist patrons in formulae from Mystic HD and Infinity Sun, and UV beds—crafted by Italian brand Sportarredo—brown skin more evenly than sunbathing or sticking your arm into a paper bag. Clients seeking to intensify their glows can shop shelves for tanning lotions, crafted by brands such as Australian Gold, Caribbean Gold, and Swedish Beauty.
South Beach is known for its signature art-deco designs, pristine beaches, and energetic nightlife. Taking a cue from that dynamic locale, the staff members of South Beach Tanning Company have decorated their various locations in the spirit of South Beach and pride themselves on their upbeat, lounge-like vibe. Inside each salon, cheery lighting and bright purple, blue, and red walls augment the high-quality equipment and shelves of handpicked lotions, and high ceilings stop newly acquired tans from floating off just-bronzed bodies.
What would make the owner of a successful tanning salon consider selling his business to a 20-year-old upstart? Robert Paolini may have been young, but he’d earned his bronze-colored stripes; since he was 16 years old, he’d worked long hours at the salon, and his friendly manner put customers at ease. When the sale fell through, Robert put together his own business plan, gathered investors—some of whom were former tanning clients—and opened his own salon, The Hot Spot Tanning Co.
The salon has since weathered a boom in the tanning business, and Robert attributes the company’s survival to an amicable staff, who have created an atmosphere he compares to the show Cheers. “People who tan visit the salon three to four times a week, more often than they go to the grocery store,” says Robert. “They want to go where they feel comfortable.” So in each private room, tanners can stow their gear safely on sturdy shelves, hang clothing on hooks, and refresh after sessions with deodorant, makeup remover, and hand wipes.
Warm-skinned patrons slip from high-pressure tanning booths, which coax out melanin with lights designed to avert burns and lend credence to claims that one is a model in a water-wings catalog. Against the hushed hiss of a Mystic Tan booth, Robert presides over a selection of supplements, sports drinks, and shakes, and draws on a certification in sports nutrition while guiding clients through health and weight-loss programs.