Today, Bloom Essentials owners Nicole and Kim might be better known as the team behind the nail designs that earned a top ranking from the Georgia Straight Readers Choice awards. But as kids, the sisters were known simply as Bug and Pickle. With those playful childhood monikers, it's no wonder than the duo grew up to run a spa that prefers fun over high-tech gadgetry, and where the aestheticians—nicknamed "Bloomers"—treat each client as if they were an old childhood friend.
Of course, the friendly demeanour isn’t the only thing attracting visitors. For more than a decade, Bloom’s knowledgeable nail artists have dolled up toes with intricate handcrafted nail art, giving customers creative reign to dictate designs that could include zebra stripes, handlebar moustaches, or holiday characters. The trendy nail salon also offers full-body waxing and custom facials and churns out its own custom-made pedicure cream, which clients can purchase to keep toes soft between visits. And as if the beauty treatments weren't enough, a boutique area allows patrons to peruse items from the sisters' "Bug & Pickle" line for moms and babies, accessories such as cutesy aprons and sparkling bracelets, and the occasional little black dress made from old nail-polish bottles.
Healing others has been a part of Neata Auttapong’s life since she was a child growing up in Thailand, where, as Fresh Vancouver noted, she began learning the art of Thai massage at the age of 12. Years of learning holistic practices from the top healers in Thailand eventually led Neata to Vancouver, and since arriving, she’s opened three Sabai Thai Spa locations. Perhaps the spa’s expansion can be chalked up to the waterfall of accolades it’s gained, including praise from The Express show on Shaw TV and from _Coco Magazine_in Japan.
At each location, staff members reach for Éminence Organic Skin Care products during nine types of facials, and they send clients home with organic products from Dannyco and SpaRitual. Sabai’s menus are also packed with 14 types of massages, which clients can enhance with aromatic scents, exfoliating body wraps, and a refreshing mani-pedi that leaves digits cleaner than Mr. Clean’s morning kids show after the censors get through with it.
Framed prints of flowers hang on dark, burgundy walls, illuminated by light cast from a curved, modern floor lamp. Between them, leather couches and chairs sit waiting to cradle visitors with their wraparound backs and arms. Cream carpeting gives way to tiled flooring as visitors make their way from the waiting area to treatment rooms—and while they walk, they follow in the footsteps of elite clients that include Ravi Bansal, the 2009 Miss Universe Canada contestant.
Within treatment nooks in their locations in Vancouver and Surrey, therapists refine skin and ease tension through a range of services that include massages, laser hair reduction, microdermabrasion, permanent makeup, mani-pedis, and weight-loss treatments, among others. The Compu-Lift machine is one of many star technologies at the med spa, infusing the face with ultrasonic vibration and microcurrents in order to oxygenate skin and counteract signs of aging such as wrinkles and dark spots that spell out your birth year.
Spa Utopia’s services range from those of a salon to those of a med-spa, recognizing the connection between medical and more purely aesthetic issues. Facials can purify skin or minimize signs of aging, and they also calm rosacea outbreaks. A LightSheer Diode system combats unwanted stubble during laser hair-removal sessions, and beams from a Fox Diode system attack toenail fungus. Massage therapists use styles ranging from traditional Swedish to deep tissue, and they’re glad to combine modalities to target unique troubles such as lower back pain or shoulders that won’t stop shimmying.
Clients can concentrate attention on an array of beauty and body needs by booking a couples room or VIP suite for an afternoon of private treatments. Even the public areas of the spa evince a strong taste for luxury—clients walking in are greeted by a marble-topped reception desk and a giant, faux-stone archway engraved with the spa’s name before passing between polished pillars leading to a grand fountain.
At the base of a modern skyscraper a block from the waterfront, the staff of Absolutely Fabulous Urban Spa build a foundation for health and beauty with relaxing spa services. After managing spas across Vancouver for several years, aesthetician Sandra Bulatovic struck out on her own to build a team that includes a laser technician armed with a LightSheer DUET laser and certified body workers trained in a variety of massage modalities. Aestheticians wielding Dermalogica skincare products examine complexions before customizing their unique facials, all of which include a mask, extractions, and a post-treatment cosmetic touch-up using Jane Iredale makeup. Along with disinfecting their tools with hospital-grade disinfectants, nail technicians maintain strict sanitation standards by letting clients take home the nail file, buffer, and conversation-starters used during their manicure.
A certified dental assistant with upwards of 20 years of patient-care experience, Spa La Phoria's owner, Monica Tang, boldly leapt into the arena of aesthetics to fulfill her dream of sharing her passion for beauty with Vancouver's citizens. Monica helms an experienced staff who showcase their pampering prowess by lavishing patrons with treatments including traditional manicures and massages, custom Spa La Phoria signature facials, and waxing services that render bodies sleek enough to shave precious time off hokey-pokeying records. Monica's dedication to providing her guests with cutting-edge treatments is reflected in the spa's use of advanced equipment, including a wrinkle-shrinking radio-frequency machine and a skin-smoothing diamond machine powered by tiaras harvested from the gardens of local royalty.