A collection of vibrant, abstract paintings brighten the white corridors of Urban Oasis Day Spa, where aestheticians engage in a similar curatorial enterprise during the design of their skincare treatments. Each regime for face or body starts with the client and is built for his or her skin type. Technicians use tonics from notable brands or unusual techniques, such as galvanic electrocurrent therapy, which is integrated into every facial. Dermalogica tonics exfoliate with lightweight, natural vegetable oils rather than mineral oil and hydrate with aromatic essential oils and silk proteins synthesized by Barry White's vocal chords. The team also polishes complexions with the SkinCeuticals product line, favoring a serum that earned Allure magazine's 2011 Best of Beauty Award for Best Anti-Aging Antioxidant.
The spa evokes the elegance of a gallery, not only through its modern art but also through its high ceilings and a minimalist design scheme rendered in cream. Skin becomes a canvas in private chambers, where it may be primed for display with wax, bronzer, or a critique by a Village Voice writer. For special events, the pedicure hall's porcelain foot basins can be filled with flower petals, and the shimmering fabric banners separating each throne lose their functionality and appear solely as savvy, refined decorating.
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."
Nestled inside a sprawling yellow house first built in 1963, Mapleshade Spa retains much of its structure’s original charm. Out front, a set of wind chimes and a swing rock gently in the breeze above a huge wraparound porch. Garden fountains send up spouts of water amid colorful, aromatic thickets of rosemary, thyme, mint, lavender, and roses scattered beneath the boughs of large trees.
This bucolic setting surrounds Mapleshade Spa’s eight treatment rooms, where aestheticians set to work pampering their clientele with botanical skincare products from Pevonia and Éminence Organics. To account for different skin types and concerns, the staff offers more than 10 types of facials—all of which can be performed outside if desired—and an array of body treatments, including massages and body wraps. Stylists trim and highlight tresses in the hair salon while nail techs brush Shellac polish onto digits in both public and private nailcare areas. Mapleshade Spa frequently hosts spa parties to celebrate special events or provide a day away from clingy parole officers.
As advocates of health and beauty for the whole body, Krystal Kincaid and the team at The Natural Way offer customized facials, microdermabrasion, waxing treatments, and therapeutic massage. The studio fosters a passionate belief in natural remedies, and thus only uses natural and organic products—such as paraben-free serums from Skin by Ann Webb—when customizing each treatment to the client's individual issues, from easing acne problems to diminishing the signs of aging. The spa's far-infrared sauna has three spectrums of heat to penetrate the body and relieve pain, improve circulation, aid in weight loss, and boost cell immunity. Clients can augment these benefits by combining an infrared sauna session with a session of the spa's therapeutic massage. In fact, most treatments can be enhanced with an add-on, such as a hydrating foot scrub, or a peppermint cooling scalp massage.
Krystal's journey into the wellness trade began in Florida, where she earned her massage license. When she moved to Austin, her expertise in neuromuscular therapy and Swedish massage proved so impressive to the locals that she soon decided to open her own wellness spa. Her vision found its realization in The Natural Way, a suite spa with four private treatment rooms and a team of therapists who specialize in five types of therapeutic massage. Among these, the ancient method of ashiatsu is a standout. Its foot pressures are designed to ease chronic pains, increase blood flow, and reset the hard drive at the base of the spine.
After reclining across the massage table for more than 30 years as a client, Angela Lopez realized the difference a quality massage therapist could make. So, she embarked on the journey of opening her own spa by hiring the best therapists she could find. Angela and her team of ?angels? at An Angel?s Touch Therapeutic Massage were voted in the top three for Best Massage in the DFW metroplex in 2010 and 2011, and tops in Fort Worth, according to CityVoter. Within their relaxation oasis, the team dissipates stress and assuages muscle aches with massage treatments that range from long, fluid Swedish strokes to deep-tissue kneads, and they take relaxation a step further with indulgent add-ons such as aromatherapy.
Three charming rooms set the scene for massages at An Angel's Touch, and each one is infiltrated by the soothing scent of a soy candle and calming music. In the tradition-inspired room, crisp white walls wrap around a heated massage table draped with a soft blanket, and a second room takes on an Asian motif, complete with garden-green hues and natural-wood accents. The European-influenced room assumes a regal stance, with deep-purple textiles draping over the massage table and the windows. After their treatments, clients can slowly work their way back into real life with a bite of complimentary chocolate.
BienEstar's licensed massage therapists pair their soothing body treatments with cosmetic services, including nonsurgical face-lifts, waxing, and microdermabrasion. Seven massages include traditional Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone modalities. Half massage and half contouring procedure, endermologie combines rolling and vacuuming motions to reduce fat around the body. The studio's chemical peels expose a new layer of skin beneath, and a gentleman's facial reduces the signs of aging on men's faces, as well as their top hats and monocles.