Spa Tripping: 11 Top D.C. Spots for Pampering

Washington's spa scene has much more to offer these days, from classic massages to high-tech tools and luxury services, for one or two.

Ten years ago, a mud wrap followed by a hot-stone massage was the most exotic treatment at a Washington day spa. That’s all changed now with service menus that run the gamut from the ridiculous (caviar facials or ice cream-and-cake pedicures anyone?) to the sublime—a selection of which we have gathered here.

Luxe Treatments

Yon-Ka Power Moist & Age Defense Facial

Roman stylist Luigi Parasmo’s new Georgetown spa is an ultra chic space with an extensive menu of hair, skin, hands, feet, massage and facial treatments. Among the latter, esthetician Nadia Ouellette’s combination Power Moist and Age Defense Facial smoothes and softens dry skin with an exfoliating micro peel that deeply cleanses pores and lightens pigmentation. Firming and hydrating creams, along with an eye-contour mask and masque modelant, seal in moisture. A massage of the shoulders, arms and hands with Yon-Ka’s massage oil candle wax is followed by a body stretch and final back rub that should never end, but alas, it must. $145
1510 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202.333.2244

Nusta Spa's lounge

Alchemy Aromatherapy Massage

Nusta, Washington’s only LEED-certified “organic by design” spa, offers a custom aromatherapy massage using a personalized “healing blend” of aromatic oils from wild-harvested flowers and herbs. A concoction of eucalyptus, vetiver, lavender vera and sea buckthorn, applied by therapist Elena’s firm yet sensitive touch, is a trance-inducing experience. 60/90 min., $135/$185
1129 20th St. NW, 202.530.5700

Foot & Shoulder Massage

Full-service salon Spa Logic features a semi-private treatment room with comfortable leather chairs where Hanson, a skilled masseur, offers traditional pressure-point treatments of the shoulders and feet to relieve stress throughout the entire body. His manipulation of legs and hips in a circular motion may seem unusual, but this writer noticed an acute awareness of balance while walking down the stairs and onto the street. $45 first-time customers; $75 thereafter
1721 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202.232.6475

Customized Body Massage

Linda Hardiman, one of Washington’s most accomplished massage therapists, uses a combination of stress-reducing techniques (Swedish, deep-tissue, myofascial release) at Georgetown Salon & Spa customized to individual needs based on age, posture, past injuries and current health issues. An hour on her table in a dark room with soothing music emboldens anyone to face the cold, cruel world again. 30/60/90 min., $60/$100/$140
2715 M St. NW, 202.333.8099

Aura Spa treatment room

Aura Experience Body Treatment

The ultimate indulgence, this half-day of luxurious pampering at Vida Fitness’s U Street Aura Spa starts with an exfoliating apricot body scrub and detoxifying Baltic mud wrap. After winding down in the steam room, guests enjoy a catered lunch and delicious smoothie from the fuel bar. Soon it’s time to settle in for a deep-tissue massage by the amazingly strong but gentle practitioner, Son Thatch, followed by a facial that leaves skin nourished and glowing. $400
1612 U St. NW, 202.232.6620


Partners in the Sublime

Take to the tables together with couples massages just in time for Valentine’s Day or any day.

The Fountains Day Spa

Friendly staff in this bright Old Town cottage in Alexandria, Virginia offers several massages for two, but the Couples Massage Instruction (90 min., $232) soothes and teaches partners skills to replicate the experience at home. For true luxury, try “Ultimate Indulgence” ($804)—nearly four hours of muscle kneading, Hydradermie facials and reflexology, plus fruit and gourmet chocolates to feed each other. 422 South Washington St., 703.549.1990


This spa offers environmentally conscious partners the Duo Massage (60/90 min., $135/$180 per person)—customizable therapies from deep-tissue to a “calming” Swedish-style rubdown—with jasmine, sandalwood and champaca oils in an eco-friendly setting. 1129 20th St. NW, 202.530.5700

TuSuva Spa

In hip Adams Morgan, TuSuva invites twosomes to relieve stress with its light-to-medium pressure Signature Massage (60/90 min., $160/$240 per person). Those looking to relieve a bit more tension may find the spa’s focused Deep Tissue Massage (30/60/90 min., $65/$100/$150 per person) does the trick. A complimentary hot-stone therapy caps each session. 2701 Ontario Rd. NW, 202.299.9005


Grooms Men

Hirsute gentlemen are flocking to old-fashioned neighborhood barbershops made new again by tattooed barbers schooled in the delicate practice of straight razors.

Barber of Hell's Bottom

Barber of Hell’s Bottom

Hot Shave—Hot and cold towels alternate with two passes of the razor, botanical oils and a facial massage in this vintage-inspired shop. $50 818 Rhode Island Ave. NW, 202.332.0200

The Gentlemen’s Quarters

Hot Lather Shave—A traditional experience with a triple-edge razor, hot towels and a face massage in a dark-wood lounge-like shop with red walls, a bar and sports on TV. $45 105 South Union St., Alexandria, Va., 703.836.7330

The Art of Shaving Barber Spa

Traditional—Thirty minutes with a Master Barber who applies hot lather and two passes with a straight razor. Lavender essential oil and balm complete the experience at this spa. $35

Royal—A 45-minute indulgence with a Master Barber employing lemon and lavender essential oils, a mask and hydrating toner. $55

Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE #M118, 202.682.1113; 1050 Connecticut Ave., 202.223.1433

Wise Owl Club

Chipper—A basic straight-razor shave employing hot lather and hot towels, ending with a relaxing face massage. $40

Keen—An extended basic shave plus a mask, toner and moisturizer is the thing to get at this spa. $60

2010 18th St. NW, 202.705.9425

EDITOR'S NOTE: This shop does not take appointments; only walk-ins who are placed on a list. Go early. The cutoff for the wait list is a half-hour before the shop closes and may be earlier, depending on the time and number of people on the list.