Top Spas

Make Mom Proud
Scintillating Spas That Span Several Spending Limits

By Carolyn McLean Robbins / Photography by Hana Jung and Jonathan Timmes

“Spa days” are no longer just for Hollywood’s A-list. Across Northern Virginia, spas are catering to people craving a little R&R at all price points. But forthis Mother’s Day, we sought out more than just a back-room manicure in what’s really a hair salon. these spas have a dedicated menu of services bound to please even the pickiest of Moms, no matter the price limitations or where her preferences lie.

We broke down our guide into four distinct categories: The $200-plus category explores packages and treatments at the area’s finest spas, and the under-$50 group highlights special deals and great area bargains, while the Two others capture everything in between.

And It’s no matter if you can’t afford to spend all your money on one uber-luxe treatment. Purchase of any services (like manis and pedis) at many area salons include access to additional amenities like steam rooms, Vichy showers or relaxation lounges.

Then again, Sometimes more really is more: Purchase a package of six facials or massages, and you’ll sometimes be rewarded with up to 10 percent off the total.

After extensive research (pity us, please), we came to the following conclusions across the board: Spa services are very personal, so no matter how good the technician, it’s important that you as a client “click” with your therapist. therefore, Our favorite salons required fairly detailed paperwork about our preferences, right down to the types of essential oils we preferred during massage treatments and the length and shape of our nails during a manicure.


Spa at Tysons Corner / Courtesy of Equinox Fitness

Luxe for $200-Plus ($200 and up)
If you want to work up a sweat before working out a kink—it can be tough, toting those bags from such nearby boutiques as Versace, Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton—the new Spa at Tysons Corner (8065 Leesburg Pike, Vienna; 703-790-6193;, part of the area’s first Equinox Fitness, is just the spot.

The soothing Kelly green walls and lush carpeting immediately make you forget that, a mere 20 minutes ago, you were putting in the work to trim down and tone up with a rigorous Equinox Hard Body Meltdown or Chisel’d fitness regime.

This zen-like peace is apparent from moment one. White orchids and a melange of earth-toned tiles adorn the changing area, and staffers are accommodating without being overly obsequious.

Since “The Spa,” as it’s known, is part of the same luxe chain that celebs in the Big Apple and Hollywood frequent, make sure to test out some of their more unique signature treatments. Allow a therapist to stretch you out with a Thai massage ($175, 80 minutes), performed while one is fully clothed, or a more hands-on Shiatsu-style rubdown ($115, 50 minutes).

It’s no secret that the Ritz-Carlton spa (1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean; 703-744-3924; is high quality from moment one. Despite the fact that the hotel is attached to Tysons Galleria, the establishment leaves no trace of any outside hustle or bustle.

Fresh from a February 2008 upgrade to the sauna and steam facilities, this spa also offers its patrons the option of sweating out their stress prior to their treatments—the use of workout facilities and pool is complimentary.


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

As expected from the Ritz, spa robes are plush and comfortable, and relaxing music plays softly over background speakers.

And while the prices are steep ($75 for a 20-minute massage; $390 for a 300-minute “ultimate day of beauty”), they don’t manage to top some the tags of other, less-than-spectacular area competitors.

Watch out for their soon-to-debut Mother’s Day offerings, including an ice-cream pedicure with milk-based products (and real ice cream to eat!), or look to book their signature champagne indulgence facial ($180), which applies extracts from the Champagne region of France and B1, B2 and B6 amino acids to dry skin in need of soothing.

A new addition to the menu at the Ritz is the celeb fave Mamma Mio treatments, perfect for expecting or new mothers.

Nestled in the heart of Old Town is the always popular Sugar House Day Spa & Salon (111 N. Alfred St., Alexandria; 703-549-9940;

You can’t help but love this staple institution, which has a full array of hair services in addition to impressive spa treatments. And while we’re normally not partial to salons and spas under one roof, Sugar House’s space is neatly divided: a lower floor for hair and two upper stories dedicated to spa and medi-spa treatments like Restalyne and Thermage.

A licensed physician supervises all medi-spa offerings, which, while not as relaxing as a deep-tissue massage ($90) or chocolate body treatment ($110), bring benefits that are immediately noticeable (plus, the setting is more soothing than a plastic surgeon’s office). Further, some companies allow you to use pre-tax dollars to fund medi-spa treatments.


Sugar House / Photography by Hana Jung

One of our favorite parts of Sugar House is their attention to the sweet details, most notably the buffet table weighed down with cookies and pastries for midafternoon snacking. A well-edited selection of current magazines is also available for pre- or post-treatment reading.

For Mom, we advise booking the Sugar and Spice package, which includes Sugar House’s sugar scrub with Vichy shower, a 50-minute Swedish massage and Sugar House pedicure for $235.

Five-star treatment is the name of the game at Spa Minerale (44050 Woodridge Parkway, Lansdowne; 703-729-8400;, part of the off-the-beaten-path Lansdowne Resort, just minutes from Leesburg.

Knowledgeable receptionists are courteous and ready to discuss treatment options over the phone, and the late-afternoon couple’s massage ($119 each) proves to be the perfect way to complete a morning of shopping at the Leesburg outlets.

The soft lighting, candles and beach-like vibe of the spa’s entryway effectively set the tone for well-appointed same-sex changing lounges, each of which comes complete with keypad lockers, changing rooms, showers, steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs. An pleasing array of hair-styling products, as well as complimentary razors, combs and shower caps, stand close at hand.

Therapists lead their guests to a quiet and darkened massage room with two separate tables, all the while inquiring as to their personal likes, dislikes and areas of stress or soreness prior to the massage’s start. From that, they can instantly tell who amongst their clientele spends hours each day in front of a computer—stiff necks, they explained, are telltale giveaways.

After treatment, you can lounge for hours in the spa’s relaxation area, filled with current magazines, comfortable couches, blankets and selection of soothing herbal teas.


Spa Minerale / Courtesy of Lansdowne Resort

Mothers will love the Stress Relief package, which includes two $65 treatments and one $119 treatment, plus a $15 gift card.

There’s little not to like about long-time favorite Amenity Day Spa in Loudoun County’s Ashburn (44365 Premier Plaza, Ste. 120, Ashburn; 703-726-8100;

Treatments like the Key Largo massage ($75) are creative, never gimmicky, and the candlelit interior instantly induces relaxation, despite the rush and bustle of the strip mall just outside.

From the heated treatment beds to the pleasant staff, Amenity makes even the little treatments seem luxurious. One of the very few select area spas that offer water therapy, Amenity spa-goers can enjoy the experience of a milk and honey bath ($50) as the absolutely perfect add-on to a longer massage or package.

Moms will also relish in the Petals from Heaven massage, a rose-oil rubdown that’s preceded by a rose-scented salt scrub and steamy shower. Those in need of additional pampering can even try the deluxe four-hand massage, a special treat involving two therapists who work their way across your body from opposite ends ($180 for 60 minutes).

First-time guests should print Amenity’s 10 percent-off coupon from their website, good for a discount on services Monday through Friday.

It seems like Eclips (multiple NoVa locations; has come to touch many other salons in the Washington area. Women in other waiting rooms talk about prior treatments there, and many regional therapists trained or once worked as Eclips technicians, and with good reason.

This full-service salon and spa offers hair and body treatments in two locations, one in McLean (which has a nearby Eclips kids spa, as well) and the other in Ashburn.

Those seeking a more zen-like vibe should head to the Ashburn branch, which only ever sees rave reviews. For a unique twist on traditional massage, opt for the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage (60 minutes, $130), characterized by soothing, wave-like motions of the hand and arm, rather than the more intense kneading associated with Swedish and deep-tissue therapies (for traditionalists, they have those on the menu, too).

Fans of body treatments will find a full array of wraps, rubs and polishes here, while those looking to get their winter skin into bikini-ready shape will rejoice in the the Herbology body polish ($150) and full-body and facial bronzing, which includes hand-applied bronzer, plus a take-home maintenance kit ($175).

For Mom, we’d strongly recommend the Partial Eclips, a deal that includes a mini facial, mani/pedi, shampoo, style and revitalizing back and shoulder massage ($230).


Belladonna Spa / Photography by Jonathan Timmes

Nice and Nifty for up to $150 ($100 – $150)
Those craving a personal touch can’t help but fall in love with Alexandria’s Belladonna Spa (7025-H Manchester Blvd., Alexandria; 703-313-7945; Despite the less-than-exciting location (inside a small strip mall), the sunny entryway and cheery decor of Belladonna put clients immediately at ease. A small self-service coffee and tea station with complimentary biscotti is a nice addition.

Here, the hour-long LaStone Therapy Massage ($125) proves to be significantly more than a standard rubdown and completely worth the price tag.

Therapists show clients to well-decorated treatment rooms where the combination of gentle kneading and warm oil is pure bliss—even when the stones are places in unexpected places, such as on top of foreheads and in between toes.

Spa newcomer Arin is trained in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. A complimentary consultation and mini treatment with her end appointments perfectly.

If you’re booking for Mom, try for one of two packages (available through the end of May): The first includes a premier facial with revitalizing eye treatment, hydrating manicure and Dermatologica gift for $125 (a savings of $50); the second includes an hour massage with hot stone add-on, deluxe manicure and aromatherapy candle for $110 (a savings of $25 off the regular price).

Winter can wreak long-lasting havoc on skin. Refresh with a Saturday morning exfoliation spa package at Springfield’s K-Spa (7295 Commerce St., Springfield; 703-644-9525;, known for their funky treatment rooms and unique packages.


K-Spa / Photography by Jonathan Timmes

The staff is friendly and the opening questionnaire extensive. For newcomers, the receptionist suggests their signature Moroccan treatment, which promises “pure harem pampering.” (What woman would turn that down?)

Upon selecting an option, K-Spa guests are quickly admitted to small treatment rooms that keep with the theme of their services. Treatments rooms are tiny—although they are able to accommodate more than one person, in case you want to share your spa day experience with a friend or relative.

The Moroccan treatment, which proves to be 90 minutes of pure bliss, involves a salt scrub, body brush, oil massage—and laidback chitchat, if you’re so inclined.

Topping off the deal, however, is the mini facial, a stellar service that includes one of the best neck and shoulder massages in the area, as well as a chance to lay back and enjoy relaxing classical music.

Those who’d like to linger longer can help themselves to both complimentary gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies.

The entire experience confirms that, for those in Springfield or surrounding region, K-Spa is the perfect place to pop in for a relaxing afternoon or girly getaway. Those who want to join in with Mom would be wise to book the Moroccan treatment for two.

Best Buff for $50 and Up ($50-$100)
Arlington’s Natural Body Spa & Shoppe (4100 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-243-4015; is part of an Atlanta-based chain of spas (a second NoVa location can be found in Ashburn), but it certainly doesn’t feel that way.

Nestled inside Ballston Common Mall, the tiny spa offers a serene waiting area and well-edited array
of treatments in nail care, facials and massage.

Eco-lovers will also be pleased with their “green-spa pledge,” meaning Natural Body uses natural products whenever possible, and that many of the materials in the spa are recycled, including the building materials themselves.

There are two treatments on the menu that particularly stand out here. The first is the instructional couple’s massage, where a therapist walks you and a friend through the basics of massage therapy (90 minutes, $135), plus presents you with a complimentary bottle of take-home massage oil at the end of the session. Those craving a more conventional touch can opt for a signature massage instead (60 minutes, $85).

A personal favorite for many, however, is Natural Body’s twist on the traditional pedicure: performed while you’re lying down. Buy one for Mom with the excuse that she needs to get off her feet (mani/pedi combo, 80 minutes, $75).

Over the years, you’ve tried so many skin treatments that it can feel like you’re a walking ad for product testing. From Proactive (it didn’t work like it did for Jessica Simpson or Vanessa Williams) to chemical peels that left you in pain and sloughing, your outer layer deserves a much-needed break.

Sound familiar? If so, seek out Annabella Spa (1620 Old Chain Bridge Road, Ste. 160, McLean; 703-847-9003;, just off McLean’s Old Dominion Drive. The tiny space doesn’t look like much from the outside, but individual treatment rooms have cheerful country-scape murals and warm massage beds.

Aestheticians ask a series of questions about their clients’ skin-care regimens before making their diagnoses. Pores that appear congested and skin that’s deemed inflamed are treated to a series of hydrating serums that are gently massaged into cheeks and face.

Full-body rubs are also offered at Annabella, for those who want to follow their facial treatments up with a more relaxing, all-over service.

Keep in mind that, massage aside, you might not leave Annabella feeling particularly pampered. It’s the aftereffects this spa brings, the glow you’ll see over the coming weeks, that place it amongst the best in the area. Free product samples can’t be beat, either. Perfect for moms in need of some slight touch-ups.

Just off Interstate 95, tucked between the range of mountains and a tributary of the Potomac River, awaits by-appointment-only establishment Dansk Day Spa (212A Commerce St., Occoquan; 703-492-1991; And those who’ve been before know that the call ahead is well worth their while.

Dansk’s website promises “a unique Scandinavian experience,” but guests are still usually surprised to see such a variety of services, from Scandinavian scalp treatments ($55) to the more unique ear-candling ($45 for 30 minutes), which whisks away any ugly wax buildup and guarantees to “stimulate the lymphatic system.”

Advanced skin care, holistic care, body scrubs and natural nail care treatments are also available for pamper purchasing.

Upon arrival, highly trained and licensed therapists guide their clients to candlelit rooms, where they follow up with questions based on their previously completed surveys. What kind of aromatherapy oils do they prefer? Do they want to talk during their massage? Do they, to their knowledge, know of any particular areas of stress they have that deserve special attention and treatment?


Fountains Day Spa / Photography by Hana Jung

Moms looking to pamper themselves will relish in the deluxe Scandinavian Combination, which mixes Dansk therapists’ facial massage techniques with their signature scalp treatments for just $100. Private in-spa parties are also available by request and with advance notice.

Set in a centuries-old Alexandria townhouse in the historic Old Town area, Fountains (422 S. Washington St., Alexandria; 703-549-1990; lives up to its promise of a cheery atmosphere and a friendly staff.

Decorated in citrus tones, the spa (no salon services like haircuts or manicures here) is a haven of relaxation. Owner Suzanne Olsen (trained in London and Paris) does her absolute utmost to make sure her clients are happy with their therapists as well as their treatments.

The only stressor here? Selection of service. Choose from four types of facials ($90 each) ranging from the Hydradermie (infuses skin with nourishment, hydration and anti-aging ingredients) to the Beaute Neuve skin peel to toning treatment Liftosome to the relaxing Aromatic, which features a uniquely customized blend of essential oils.

Those especially craving spiritual and sensory spa healing will go for the Harmony package, which may include any of the following: energy work, reflexology, reiki or intuitive bodywork. Therapists effectively customize each individual massage to meet the specific needs of each individual client (50 minutes, $105).

Fans of more traditional techniques, however, can also indulge in Swedish ($85) or deep-tissue ($95) services, or a combination of the two approaches on troubled areas (a mean ticket tag of only $90).

Best bets when booking for Mom? Check the website frequently. Fountains offers a signup for a daily specials email and posts seasonal discounts (a nearly $300 savings on a 12-massage package, for example), plus a 10 percent-off coupon for first-timers.

Pampered but Thrifty Under $50 (Under $50)
Upholding natural beauty as its primary inspiration, the Eastern-influenced Sesen (111 Church St. N.W., Ste. 202, Vienna; 703-281-0822;, offers an impressive array of manicure and pedicure treatments, as well as more traditional spa services like massages and facials.

An Island Paradise pedicure ($30) brings to the table sweet-smelling oils, like coconut, a papaya scrub and complimentary reflexology treatment, available upon request. Additional highlights: Sesen’s On the Rocks foot treatment ($38) includes a rubdown with warm lava stones, while the Choco-holic mani/pedi treatment ($24/$36) mixes cocoa and mint in an “ultra-rich soak and scrub to refresh and renew even the most tired hands and feet.”

If you’re booking for Mom, seriously consider either Saturday, May 10 or Sunday, May 11 for her appointment, when Sesen will be offering its second annual Mother’s Day gala, which promises to feature an extensive breakfast/brunch spread of French toast, fruit, pastries, juice, tea, coffee and bagels.


Sisters3 / Photography by Hana Jung

Waxing is on the menu at most regional spas, but rarely is it pleasant, and sometimes it’s downright painful. When done incorrectly, waxing can leave burns, scarring and painful ingrown hairs.

That’s why locals have been thrilled to discover year-old Sisters3 (2729 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-525-3333;, owned by, you guessed it, three Clarendon siblings.

Whether you’re in need of the Rio De Clarendon, touted “Brazil’s most popular export” ($45), or just a Country Club Classic, their spin on the timeless and traditional bikini wax ($25), these sisters’ services are state of the art. For an extra $10 and with 24 hours’ notice, they’ll even put in the time and effort to customize a Swarovski crystal tattoo for your nether regions.

And though it may seem a little strange to send Mom out for a wax, the well-edited selection of lingerie—ranging from cute nighttime sets to skimpy negligees—is sure to give the more adventurous lady in your life a chuckle.

When it comes to serenity in a shopping mall, Modern Companies (multiple NoVa locations; seems to have hit the nail soundly on the head.

Whether a pedicure is $25 or $125, in the end, your toes will still look the same: polished. But certain variables still apply, and staying within a budget isn’t worth compromising cleanliness, friendly service or at least a few extras like a well-done foot massage or exfoliating scrub.


Modern Day Spa / Photography by Jonathan Timmes

Luckily, Modern neatly foots the bill. Here, you can put down the bags, kick back and relax in the expansive waiting area with a glass of wine—or champagne!—while you soak up specialized indulgences without feeling like you’re breaking the budget.

The standard mani/pedi ($20/$35) promises the aforementioned foot rub, while the Leaping Lemon ($10 more) includes a citrus scrub, butter rub and warm towels.

So what better way to pamper Mom than to book her a day of shopping (and spa-ing) at Modern? Spring for those Leaping Lemon treatments, and throw in a mini massage ($30 for 20 minutes). She’ll surely return home with a smile that spreads from ear to ear.


(May 2008)