The aestheticians at Spa in the Hollow believe in indulgence. Operating under the philosophy that life is "sweeter with a little instant gratification and self-indulgence," they've welcomed guests to their peaceful spa for over a decade. Visitors can begin their journeys in the Serenity Room, taking some light refreshment while basking in the glow of a fireplace. Then, for an elemental contrast, they might lie down beside a waterfall for a massage in the garden gazebo, set in a landscape that includes a pond landscaped with Eastern-style trees, rocks, and grasses. Drawing on a different kind of vegetation, mango or coconut lime pedicures soften feet as the hands cradle a complimentary cocktail designed to make their insides feel tropically smooth.
Owners and principal members of the stylist team Emilio and Gino corral their decades of experience to create two distinct spaces where clients revel in personalized services. They staff more than 60 aesthetes, each of whom receives focused training on adjusting hair, skin, nail, and massage services to clients’ stated preferences and lifestyle. During and after haircuts, the team uses a house brand of products to style strands and address specific hair problems such as color fading, excessive oil, or naturally occurring pipe cleaners. During facials, the aestheticians home in on what lies below bangs by cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and moisturizing skin, and tension dissipates during therapists' restful massage sessions. The downtown Pittsburgh location also plays host to an elegant serata—a private, chandelier-lit escape where bridal parties can enjoy ultimate relaxation before addressing the fact that their friend is marrying a panda bear.
In the midst of rustic woods, there sits a three-story building. Upon opening its front door, visitors unleash a gentle wave of aromatherapy scents and warm air. They step inside, where therapists lead them past wood accents and into private treatment rooms. World of Serenity’s spa atmosphere recalls the calm of the surrounding wilderness, and inside its walls, therapists adopt a holistic approach; they educate guests in wellness basics, such as why humans don’t eat sand, and perform a range of customized spa services. They soften faces, deep-cleanse pores, and slough of dead cells during customized facials; sometimes scouring or soothing the skin with an additional enzyme deep cleanse, warm stones, or anti-aging collagen. They also ease muscle tension with six massage modalities such as deep tissue, warm stone, and reflexology; and scrub clients from head to toe using salt and sugar rubs, and wraps made from natural dead sea mud or Paradisius—a blend of ground fruit and flower extracts.
Supervised by Ayurvedic physician and healer Dr. Lina Thakar, the specialists at Ayurveda Integrative Wellness Institute reach 5,000 years into the past when administering their Indian therapeutic techniques. The Ayurvedic philosophy centers on the individuality of each person, leading the staff to customize their blends of herbal oils and scents before beginning their Ayurvedic spa treatments. These calming procedures range from steam therapy to healing oil massage, with focuses such as detoxification and healing the mind, body, and spirit. During massage, technicians use several Ayurvedic techniques along the body's energy channel to help restore the flow of vital energy wherever it has become blocked. This in combination with herbal oils help squeeze out toxins to detoxify the body. The center also imparts wellness consultations on Ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle options, as well as meditation.
The staff of MaxManni, an Aveda concept salon and spa, understands that there are many ways to improve appearances. The spa's aestheticians share space with tailors and dressmakers who alter and resize garments to flatter bodies. Aestheticians mount eyelash extensions alongside natural lashes with a polypeptide bond, and accent faces with cosmetics infused with ingredients such as cinnamon from Madagascar. Aided by custom blends of pure flower and plant essences, massage therapists knead and stroke muscles to improve circulation and excavate wallets misplaced under muscle cushions. Tastefully furnished with tile and hardwood floors, MaxManni’s studio upholds a no-cell-phone policy to ensure that no accidents are caused by texting while depilating.
Jeffrey Grinnel knew he wanted to study massage to help escape the stressfulness of his career in business management; what he didn’t know was it would eventually ignite a new passion and jumpstart a new career path. He opened his massage practice BodyWorks of ShadySide 10 years ago, and since delving into his new line of work, Grinnel has developed the skills to whisk away muscular tension and stimulate physical health with massage techniques, skin treatments, and holistic healing. In the Swedish massage, the specialist uses a relaxing series of strokes called effleurage to invigorate muscles, stimulate the circulatory system, and undo muscle knots. He can also conduct a reflexology treatment, which reduces tension by targeting pressure points on the body.