High in the historic State Theatre Building, Joshua Hughes sits in his massage studio, awaiting his next client. Brisk Atlantic winds glide through the suite's windows, as if the ocean itself were offering a gentle massage. "One of the things I like about my suite,” Hughes says. "It's high up. A great breeze always comes into the room. It’s… a lovely environment to relax."
A massage therapist in the eighth year of his career, Joshua reflects on how he got here. "I wanted to help people," he explains, "and I was always good with my hands. Massage was right down that alley." He began working even before graduation, massaging as a freelancer at spas and salons. "I didn't feel quite fulfilled. I wanted to start my own practice.”
Joshua's approach to massage is holistic as he employs reflexology, deep-tissue work, and even hot riverbed stones to tailor treatments to the individual needs of his clients. Focusing on the individual is part of what is most satisfying to Joshua about his work. "I've had clients tell me that they're just so appreciative and grateful for my attention to detail—that I cater to them as people. The money's a bonus, but just having someone tell me they feel better is the most rewarding."
Sloppy moptops transform into fetching coiffures under the skilled shears of Ocean Waves Salon’s follicular makeover artists. Clients of either gender first surrender soiled tresses to a sudsy shampoo that swiftly jettisons deep-set grime and thoughts about pterodactyls. A trained stylist deploys a panoply of snips to evict freeloading curls before elegantly arranging the remaining locks into a chic, dependable ‘do. Alternatively, partial highlights add hue to manes to direct attention towards the most important strands and away from the hairs that are actually cobwebs. Radiant pendant lamps preside over clients relaxing in a spacious salon bedecked with ultramodern equipment and cozy homespun flair.
If you opt for the Tour of the City package, you'll take a tinting flight across each of Sun Tan City's bed levels (fast tan, faster tan, fastest tan, and instant tan) and one timely trip inside a VersaSpa sunless tanning booth, which provides a natural, even-tonal transformation. Clients can experience the five levels of the Tour of the City package in any order they wish. Standing upright in the VersaSpa booth, your body will be gently misted with either a clear or bronze solution, possibly combined with a dose of anti-aging formula or UV skin-defining maximizer. Each booth is designed to provide a breathe-easy session and features an exhaust system to send the lingering mist out while sealing in skin's new shade. After a few minutes, your body will be dry to the touch.
Katie, a stylist at Ollo Hair Salon, draws on training from KMS California, Goldwell, and Blow, The New York Blow Dry Bar to boost natural beauty while reflecting each client's unique personality. She trims tresses into high-fashion styles that range from pixie cuts to long, layered looks and infuses strands with bold, creative color or natural, sun-kissed highlights. An iron fence and potted flowers decorate the entrance to the salon, which is housed in a charming brick building.
Tattoo artist Ryan Wilson’s designs range from the whimsical to the macabre, decorating skin in everything from Hello Kitty to the Grim Reaper. Skilled in applying both black-and-white and colored ink, Ryan sets to work on skin across the body. He emblazons backs with printed letters, shoulders with delicate birds, and wrists with common Jeopardy! answers. Many of his pieces take on a fantastical bent, a theme echoed throughout ‘Til Death Tattoo whose walls are decorated with Alice in Wonderland characters.
Performed by relaxation gurus Michaela Cote and Joseph Richard, Daydream Bodyworks' suite of services ranges from glycolic peels to warm seaweed wraps. Inside dimmed, candle-lit rooms, deep-tissue massages focus on relieving chronic aches and tension, while customized facials target fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and delinquent teenage pores.