5 Black-Owned Luxury Spas
Get away and relax!
Remember that commercial for Calgon, featuring a fed up and frazzled working mother? “The traffic, the boss, the baby, the dog. That does it. Calgon, take me away!” Well, sometimes a girl needs a little stress-relieving me time. Whether you’re overdue for a muscle-melting massage, a pampering mani-pedi or a soothing facial, we’ve compiled a list of sister-owned spas across the country where you can indulge yourself.
Salamander Resort & Spa, Middleburg, Va.
Owned by Sheila Johnson, cofounder of Black Entertainment Television, this premier resort just an hour outside of Washington, D.C., boasts 168 luxurious guest rooms and suites. The sprawling property also features an award-winning 23,000-square-foot spa and wellness center with 14 treatment rooms, a couple’s spa suite, a private infinity-edge heated pool with poolside cabanas, a full-service hair and nail salon and a fitness facility with indoor and outdoor workout areas. By appointment, the spa is open to non-resort guests and its signature offering is the 50-minute Well Being Massage ($170), a relaxing, Swedish-style treatment with 14 therapeutic formulations of custom-blended essential oils designed to relieve stress and ease tension.
What’s nearby?: Sip Virginia wines at 50 West Vineyards, Greenhill Winery & Vineyard and Boxwood Estate Winery.
iwi fresh Garden Day Spa, Atlanta, Ga.
Inspired by her grandmother, who treated family ailments with nutrition and self-made herbal remedies, Yolanda Owens whipped up skin care recipes and organic beauty creams for herself and her friends as a college student. What was once a hobby has evolved into a professional-grade line of gourmet skin care products and the full-service iwi fresh Garden Day Spa. Celebs like Kelly Rowland swear by the natural skin care chef’s products, infused with farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and essential oils. At the spa, try the Express Package ($90), which includes a 20-minute veggie facial, a 20-minute full-body herbal massage and an express manicure and pedicure.
What’s nearby? Take a short drive to Ponce City Market, a popular food hall featuring regional and global fare, just steps away from the Atlanta BeltLine, a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails, modern streetcars and parks that uses an existing 22-mile historic rail corridor.
Bettye O Day Spa, Chicago, Ill.
After studying in Paris, Bettye Odom set up shop and introduced Chicago’s Black community to the total skin care techniques she discovered abroad. Located on the South Side in the historic Hyde Park neighborhood, Bettye O Day Spa specializes in manicures, pedicures, massages and facials using their full line of skin care products, Skins of Colour. Recommended for first-time clients, the Bettye O. Signature Facial ($85) is a personalized treatment with exfoliation, steam, facial massage, extractions, a hydrating mask and moisturizer.
What’s nearby? Stand at the corner of Dorchester and 53rd streets where Michelle and Barack shared their first kiss. The plaque commemorating the spot reads, “On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer. … I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate.” Then take a short car ride to the DuSable Museum of African American History ($10, free on Tuesdays).
Violet J Spa and Wellness, San Jose, Calif.
With a background as a nurse-midwife, owner Violet Johnson is also knowledgeable about issues that affect African American skin, including pigmentation problems, sensitivity and acne. Violet J Spa and Wellness works with expecting mothers, as well as cancer patients and survivors. Come in for the customizable Violet Time: The Bespoke Treatment ($190) — each session begins with an in-depth consultation and is carefully tailored to the client’s needs[TH19] .
What’s nearby? Peruse the shops and eateries along The Avenue in downtown Willow Glen.
The Mansion at Noble Lane, A Premier Akwaaba Inn, Bethany, Pa.
Part of former Essence editor Monique Greenwood’s Akwaaba bed and breakfast portfolio, the Mansion at Noble Lane sits on 22 bucolic acres in the Poconos. The 14-room restored estate was recently featured in the OWN reality series, Checked Inn, and boasts a 10,000-square-foot recreational facility complete with a state-of-the-art gym, yoga/Pilates/dance studio and an Olympic-sized heated swimming pool. The YouTopia Spa is open to non-inn guests and offers seven serene treatment rooms. Treat yourself to the SPA Ahhh package ($260), including a 60-minute Swedish massage, facial, manicure and pedicure and a complimentary glass of sparkling wine or cider.
What’s nearby? Go antiquing on Main Street in Honesdale, Pa., about three miles away.