Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine


WL's Guide to the Hottest Treatments in Town

In our rush to succeed we often find ourselves out of balance with our general well-being… and looking a bit tired as well. Both can be easily remedied with strategically timed spa visits. Here are some of the city's more interesting options.


Just in time for spring, the latest luxury offered by the Four Seasons spa is the Anne Sémonin Signature Facial, an intensive, customized treatment designed to pamper and heal according to your skin type. The Fours Seasons is the only Washington spa to provide the Anne Sémonin line.

To begin, an esthetician performs an analysis of your skin to customize the ingredients just for you. The Purifying Facial for sensitive skin, for example, features a seaweed exfoliation mask that's applied and gently brushed off by hand - a European alternative to the standard method of rinsing off the mask with water. A relaxing cloud of steam follows to help open up pores, with a high frequency wand to soothe the skin and stimulate blood flow to the muscles of the face. The most memorable part of the experience lies in the aromatic ingredients - rose, geranium, lavender and sage are but a few - and the ever-changing sensation of each application on your face. Next, a customized mask is painted on; in the purifying treatment, this contains such natural ingredients as sea cabbage and sea water concentrated in trace elements, mixed with essential oils such as lavender, cypress, ylang ylang and palmarosa. To finish the purifying facial, a pure trace cream containing seaweed and macadamia nut oil is rubbed into the skin.

Inside tip: From May 8th to 13th, Anne Sémonin will be at the spa along with European facialist Erwa Berkman. It's part of a new "Four Faces of the Four Seasons" program that introduces seasonally customized skin treatments. "Summer Solstice" is the first of the specialized facials. ñShweta Govindarajan Treatment: Anne Sémonin Signature Facial, 80 minutes, $150 Get there: Four Seasons Hotel Washington 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Contact: Caitrin Garrett, spa director, 202-295-2705


From the moment you enter the Willard InterContinental's flower-filled lobby, you sense you will be in good hands. Located in one of Washington's most historic hotels, the Willard I Spa beckons with its newest series of treatments featuring chardonnay grape seed extract (imported from the Burgundy region of France) combined with essential oils.

Highly recommended is The Olavie Le Vin Chardonnay treatment line-in particular, the Chardonnay Body Therapy. Trust me: You've never had white wine quite like this. The treatment begins with a white grape seed sugar exfoliating scrub followed by a soothing coat of wine body butter. Next, you're cocooned in a warm towel soaked in Willard Chardonnay and wine is poured over the length of your body, after which you're covered in a blanket to help your skin retain the softening antioxidants of the wine therapy. Perhaps the most exhilarating element of the treatment is washing away dead skin cells in the I Spa's 12-jet shower, a truly oceanic experience.

The I Spa features an extensive menu of services, so if wine therapy already feels old hat, try a soothing rose milk bath to calm and revive lifeless skin instead, or the Hot Stone Bio- Morphosis Signature Facial that combines the effects of heated stones with a seaweed matrix mask that nourishes and hydrates dry skin. Inside tip: Before running off on your next errand, savor the sensation with a little more relaxation by enjoying a refreshing plate of fruit sushi and a pot of Numi flowering tea, served in the women's lounge. ñShweta Govindarajan Treatment: Olavie Le Vin Chardonnay Body Therapy, 90 minutes, $225 Get there: 1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004 Contact: Movita Hernandez, spa director, 202-942-2700


Parma Spa takes an eastern approach to health and wellness by basing its treatments on the principles of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science that uses the five elements - earth, air, fire, water and space - to restore a natural balance in the body by eliminating impurities. Parma's holistic approach offers clients a total body experience that not only awakens the five senses but also works with your unique body chemistry to create an individualized experience.

I decided to try to the Abhyangam massage, a full body treatment illustrative of the spa's Ayurvedic mission. During the Abhyangam therapy, a heated mixture of oils, including some imported from India, is rhythmically kneaded into the skin to remove toxins and promote relaxation. From there, the course of the massage depends on your personal condition. To soothe tight, knotted muscles, for example, warm sand packs infused with detoxifying herbs are rubbed up and down the length of your back, arms and legs, gently easing soreness. Perhaps the highlight of the treatment comes right at the beginning: A therapeutic foot soak in an authentic copper basin sure to revive your aching arches.


Inside tip: For one-stop-shopping, let Parma's team of medical doctors and specialists meet your wellness needs with both alternative and traditional medicine. Parma offers a host of dermatological procedures as well as referrals for a range of medical services, including gynecology, cardiology and oncology. ñShweta Govindarajan Treatment: Abhyangam massage, 60 minutes, $105. Get there: Parma Spa, 8212-B Old Courthouse Road, Vienna, Va, 22182.

Contact: Telephone: 703-506-8401, Christina Clark, spa director.

There was a time when sprawling gyms were in. The busy hubbub of people coming and going after their workouts created an infectious buzz that made tramping along in a line of 30 treadmills somehow enjoyable - I still don't get what people see in those places (other than lots of other sweaty people, of course). At Soma Fit, you'll find a haven of everything not "chaingym": personable staff, personalized attention and most importantly, personal space.

The hybrid fitness center and day spa is housed in a minimalist orange and warm-wood-designed 8,500-square-foot space just above Georgetown. Need a personal trainer? Check. Yoga and Pilates classes? Check. Nutrition counseling followed by a muscle-relaxing massage and facial? Check, check, check. On this day, I'm booked for a 50-minute SomaFit Body Massage with Larry ($95), and a SomaFit Signature Facial with Hiromi ($95). "Jazz, New Age or Classical?" Larry asks as I slip under a warm blanket. "Jazz," I say. On request, he spends extra time on my tight shoulders. Afterwards, I sleep walk over to my facial with Reiki-trained esthetician Hiromi, who has a way of combining signature facials with mommyisms: "Did you wear Sunscreen today," she asks (knowing I didn't). "No," I respond guiltily. She chides me: "Tsk, tsk, you should always wear sunscreen. You want to look young, don't you?" The Signature Facial itself consists of a thorough cleansing with steam, exfoliation, and a custom mask followed by a face massage. It's one of ten different facials SomaFit offers. There is definitely something to be said for having your gym, spa (and Mom) all under the same roof.

Inside Tip: Get there early for your spa treatment so you can enjoy a personalized training session (50-minute session from $68 to $80).

Michael Clements Treatment: 50-minute SomaFit Body Massage ($95); SomaFit Signature Facial ($95) Get there: 2121 Wisconsin Avenue, NW Contact: www.somafit.com, 202.965.2121


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