Ten Ways to Spa-taneous Relaxation

Ten Ways to Spa-taneous Relaxation
Randall Nelson

There are always a million reasons not to get a spa service: time, money, overwhelming choices for services and spas, and always needing to do something else. But time to yourself, where someone physically relaxes you, does wonders for the soul. Don’t believe me? Still afraid to drop the duds and don a bathrobe? I did the dirty work—getting covered in scrubs, muds, oils, powders, herbs, and bubbles—to recommend luxurious spa services in the Twin Cities, plus a few more I’m dying to try.

Red Flower Ritual
Fusion Lifespa is notable for several reasons, from its earth-friendly approach (everything from the paint that goes on nails to the paint on the walls is given careful consideration) to its range of services and soothing, luxurious spa. The Red Flower Ritual is based on ancient Japanese bathing customs. The service, which uses products from luxury brand Red Flower, started with an eight-minute steam soak and cleansing. With my muscles and mind fully relaxed, I then moved to the table for one of the best shiatsu massages ever (I could have melted from the scalp massage alone). After the massage, I was covered and buffed with a skin-smoothing exfoliant. Lastly, I returned to the hydrotherapy tub for a mineral soak complete with bubbles and chromatherapy. Fusion Lifespa, 18142 Minnetonka Blvd., Deephaven, 952-345-3335

Repechage Four-Layer Facial
Cosmo called this facial the “best facial of the century,” and I agree. Pull Out a Plum really is a plum salon. Located at 50th & France, the gift and retail area is perfect for product junkies and the salon and spa rooms are well-appointed. Most importantly, the level of service is expert and personal. The facial was extraordinarily relaxing—I felt like I was floating—and I was happy to see that Dermalogica products were used. When I left, I was glowing and fresh-faced. Pull Out a Plum Salon & Gallery, 4946 France Ave. S., Edina, 952-922-0634

Honey Renewal Masque & Massage
If you want massage, heat therapy, hydrotherapy, and aromatherapy all in one, this is for you. First, I was slathered from head to toe with warm honey as the room filled with steam. I’d love to recount this in detail, but I think I left my body at some point. I believe exfoliation was involved, and then a steam tent was placed over the table so that steam gathered around my body and helped make a mask of the honey. Then came the deliciousness of the Vichy shower. Sean, my master of relaxation, used a high-powered handheld showerhead, moving it along the body from head to foot (I shivered when it hit my neck, scalp, and back), concentrating on critical stress points. Then, overhead showers were turned on, which sprinkled over my back in a vertical line along my spine. And there was a lovely shampoo to get the honey out. I needed help getting up from the table! Juut experts recommend a thirty-minute massage afterward, which felt like heaven. I lost complete track of time, the outside world, and my internal monologue. The Wayzata location is the only location with Vichy—and also offers changing rooms complete with a shower (not that I needed one), and a basketful of Aveda products to get you prepped. Complimentary makeup touch-ups, too. I looked and felt great when I floated out of there—and for several days afterward. Juut, Colonial Square, 1125 Wayzata Blvd. E., Wayzata, 952-404-9955

Ayurvedic Body Balancer & Shirodhara
Ayurveda translates roughly to “knowledge of life” and is based on ancient medical practices that originated in India. First, I was balanced between all the elements: water, air, fire, ether, and earth. This is done with a unique massage that uses short, quick strokes, ending at joints, where practitioners believe we hold onto emotions—yes, it felt as though my therapist was pulling things out of my elbows and the backs of my knees. Then I was covered in a blend of herbs and exfoliated with a dry brush. By this point, I was only half-conscious. Then came the shirodhara, which is conducted by flowing warm oil through a funnel onto my “third eye.” It’s said to encourage creativity, and also to quiet “inner chatter” and bring the body and mind to a still point. In plain English: I could barely function the rest of the day, in the most glorious, not-functioning way. This service is especially recommended for times of high stress or of great change. Solimar Wellness Spa, 1121 Town Center Dr., Ste. 105, Eagan, 651-686-6686

Samunprai Royal Thai Massage
If a massage style has existed since the fourteenth century, there’s probably a good chance it works. Samunprai is a Thai massage that was developed to treat war-weary soldiers. The hand-to-body contact is less detailed than the massage I’m used to, but pressure points are pressed upon and there is a feeling of release. Then a poultice, warmed and filled with herbs, is rolled on the body, dispersing the heat to the knots, with herbs delivering healing properties. It would be perfect for athletes and those with joint pain. I felt the effects for the rest of the week. Simonson’s Salon & Day Spa, 3507 Round Lake Blvd., Anoka, 763-427-0761; 19320 Hwy. 169, Elk River, 763-441-5999; 13744 83rd Way, Maple Grove, 763-494-4863; 4315 Peony Ln., Plymouth, 763-550-1121

Watsu sounds like shiatsu-plus-water, right? Float with special devices in the pool, while a specialist straightens out the kinks. Weightless massage therapy makes it easy on you, especially since there’s not nearly as much moving around as in a traditional massage. The Marsh is a spectacular place for cutting-edge wellness and spa services—the scrub and wrap with steam shower is also completely divine. The Marsh—A Center for Balance and Fitness, 15000 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka, 952-935-2202

Hot Stone Massage
A great service for heat lovers. Heated stones were arranged in a line down each side of my spine—and, yes, I laid on them. It’s surprisingly comfortable, heating muscles and loosening them, as another row of stones was placed along the midline down the front of my body. Working clockwise, my therapist, Marguerite, patiently rubbed knots out of me with both her hands and stones. Then I turned over, and it was all repeated, to my great delight. Especially good for when you have tough, lasting knots. Eq-life, 870 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-225-2880

Total Body Indulgence
Lying atop a padded table, which later I discovered hid a whirlpool tub, I was covered in exfoliant, scrubbed, and misted. After being wrapped for a few minutes, I was ushered into the whirlpool tub beneath me, where I soaked as my head was massaged. Spalon Montage, 8375 Seasons Pkwy., Woodbury, 952-915-2900

Caviar Facial
Located next to the tony 601 Graves, Jewel offers high-end services. The Caviar facial is among its offerings, and with its mask made of sea life ingredients, the spa promises to turn back the clock up to 35 percent after one treatment. Warm steam, light massage, Skinceuticals products, and the most comfortable spa bed I’ve laid in made for a delicious experience. Jewel Spa, 600 Hennepin Ave., Ste. 150, Mpls., 612-746-5010

Chocolate Fondue Body Wrap
This is a basic wrap that smells sensational. Get slathered in warm chocolate with a slight massage, then wrapped and left to bake for about twenty minutes. Then, get wiped down with hot towels, and presto! Soft skin that smells great—plus the relaxation does wonders for stress levels. New Beginnings, 1672 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-698-1867


Dying to Try:

Salongeorge: The Citrus Pedicure, using real lemons, exfoliating crystals, lotion, and paraffin wax. Also, salon-george offers cupping, the only place I know that does it locally. 856 Raymond Ave., St. Paul, 651-379-1414

Sanctuary SalonSpa: The Rejuvenation Caribbean Bath in the outdoor cabana, followed by the Rejuvenation Caribbean Body Treatment. 995 Eden Prairie Dr., Eden Prairie, 952-949-1313

Spot Spa Boutique: One of Spot’s many massage services: hot stone, lomi lomi, shiatsu, ashiatsu oriental bar, reiki, and more. 401 Hennepin Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-331-4182; 1600 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-823-7768

The Day Spa: The Decléor Relax Wrap—a facial for the entire body, using Decléor products to exfoliate, massage, and smooth. 7575 France Ave. S., Edina, 952-830-0100

Ambiance Spa & Salon: The Preferred Package, which includes a one-hour massage, one-hour facial, manicure, pedicure, and shampoo/blowdry/style. 13911 Aldrich Ave., Burnsville, 952-435-3300

Spa Bella Casa: The Chocolate Facial with Eminence products or the Ancient Roman bathing ritual. 715 Metro Blvd., Edina, 612-920-4050

Salon Rouge: A manicure with polish by celeb-fave Deborah Lippman. I also want to get my hands on French apothecary and Kevyn Aucoin cosmetics. 6 S. 13th St., Mpls., 612-374-2201

Sunbear Spa & Salon: The Spa Facial that includes a hot-oil scalp treatment, eye-zone treatment, and arm, hand, back, and foot massage, sounds nicely inclusive. 2207 3rd St., White Bear Lake, 612-426-5884

Fivetwosix Salon: Fivetwosix offers several intriguing facials—especially for clients with specific skin-care needs, such as rosacea, aging, or acne. 526 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-222-3839

Rocco Altobelli: This locally based salon giant also has half- and full-day experiences, complete with manicures, pedicures, facials, body polishes, and massage. Eight metro locations, including Crossroads Mall, 1655 Co. Rd. B2, Roseville, 651-631-2289

Find out more about local salons and spas using’s Salons + Spas Guide, the most comprehensive guide of its kind in the Twin Cities. Search by service, location, business name, or keyword for everything from cut-and-color basics to hydrotherapy baths and hot stone massage. For the true spa diva, we’ll direct you to where you can have photofacials and (gasp!) posterior facials. Our new guide has you covered, head to toe. Plus, we’ve included shops and restaurants in the area to make an amazing daytrip. Go get gorgeous!