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.
Clotilde Barnes's passion for holistic healthcare and nutrition has led her around the globe. After graduating from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, the native of Veracruz, Mexico, went on to train at the Western College for Medical Assistance and the San Francisco School of Massage while becoming a licensed medical aesthetician. Her journey to the U.S. in 2000 drew her deeper into the medical field, affording her the opportunity to work with family doctors, dermatologists, and chiropractors. Barnes has pooled everything that science and ancient traditions have taught her, and has owned her own business since 2008.
Barnes promotes health and well-being with alternative therapies such as reflexology sessions, which balance bodily energy via pressure points in the feet. Organic chemical peels exfoliate skin with gentle enzymes and minerals to diminish fine lines. She also performs photofacials that employ light-emitting diodes, diachronic lamps, or Lite-Brite pins to boost collagen production and combat signs of aging.
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, such as 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 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.
The Mona Lisa isn’t just a portrait of timeless beauty, it’s also the product of a partnership between Mona Aldridge and Lisa Erwin. The licensed massage therapists and health advocates opened the Monalisa Wellness Center with the shared goal of helping their clients improve their overall well-being in many ways, creating a sanctuary that instills calmness as spa services are performed.
The privately located center—secluded and set back from the busy streets—offers massage, facials, body treatments, acupuncture, weight-loss treatments, and other services, including custom blends of services to meet individual needs. Expert aestheticians and therapists, some with 25 years of experience, help clients detoxify and feel cleansed through services such as gentle wraps infused with a mixture of aloe vera and herbs, or Microcurrent and LED light anti-aging treatments for lifting and contouring the face and body without surgery.
As her client reclines, Nina of Absolute Lash isolates a single natural lash, to which she affixes one Xtreme Lash with a high-performance adhesive, then repeats. She does this 50–120 times during each 90-minute session, and she does it expertly, thanks to more than 15 years of experience performing the eye-enhancement service. Certified in aesthetics by Derma Elite Academy, Nina's also an advanced certified Xtreme Lashes stylist, accomplishing services ranging from natural to novelty lashes that come in pink, purple, and orange. Whether working with colored or natural lashes, her training allows her to curve, lengthen, and thicken the lashes to suit each client's eye shape, features, and number of eyes. In addition to lash enhancement, Nina can peel away unwanted body hair with waxing services or apply a body-art glitter tattoo that, unlike traditional tattoos and beanie-baby collecting, doesn't last forever.
Larry North has spent his 25-year career inspiring people to change their bodies and their lives through his infomercials, talk-radio show, television appearances, three books, and, most notably, his six Larry North fitness centers. "Success," North believes, "is not about how many gyms or how many members we have. It is about successful clients who lose weight and keep it off..." Adhering to this mantra, he wants to make sure that every member has access to the best resources and tools to achieve their goals. He sees to it that all of his spacious and sleek gyms boast a high trainer-to-member ratio and are jam-packed with weights, strength machines, and cardio equipment from industry-leading manufacturers.
All North's spacious and chic facilities offer a bevy of group classes that include kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, dance-based fitness sessions, and their signature 30-minute abs workouts.