Back in Miami I was a regular reviewer of spas. Not to toot my own horn or anything (toot toot!) but my spa and beauty review column for the Miami New Times, Pretty in the City, won Best Blog in the South Florida Black Journalists Association awards in 2008.
Since I moved to Chicago, my spa writing has slowed down some, but I’m about ready to get back into it. I’ve had the opportunity to experience some amazing Chicago spas. Here are my favorites thus far, so next time you’re in town (or if you live here) you’ll know where to go!
The Red Door Spa. The Red Door is one of the most recognized symbols of luxury in the world. The Michigan Avenue location offers classic Chicago excellence and experienced staff. The ambiance can be best described as established. Pristine, white accented with red, soft lighting and coolers filled with cucumber water in the relaxation room, and plush treatment rooms.
I got an AMAZING massage by Nadia Essat, who got REALLY deep with the technique. She also gave me some great life advice (for example, drink more water! Which I really really need to do). Flori Lupu, the manager of manicures, was so sweet and friendly and wonderful. If you’re going to the Red Door, ask for them by name. I promise you’ll have no regrets. I really enjoyed the glamorous old-school Chicago vibe of the Red Door (it’s right across the street from The Drake! Which may give you an idea of the ambiance and kind of clientele). But I must say, it’s not ideally shaped for a spa party — you won’t be facing your friends, it’s more of a one-on-one with the manicurist kind of thing. I’d recommend it for private indulgence, but if you want to round up a group of girlfriends and get mani pedis, I’d advise you to go to Bucktown.
Spa Soak in Bucktown manages to be both luxurious and funky. Maybe it’s the staff — you’ll probably see some really cool Chicago chicks with tats and piercings offering massages and manicures here. The manicure room is vibrant, fun, and SO perfect for a big party! When I came here I was having visions of bridal showers and girlie afternoons. Spa Soak has a fab manicure room but they’ve got an incredible range of facials. Hoping to return sometime soon to experience one of those!
For a spa that has a truly unique, serene and calming ambiance, you need to check out Allyu Spa in Rivernorth. From the moment you walk in, this environmentally friendly spa will take your breath away. The decor, the set up, the ambiance… it is just absolutely lovely. It’s a place where your spirit can truly feel centered and at peace. The center of the spa is a meditation tent, a space so serene and spiritual, it’s almost difficult to describe. Despite the meditative vibe at the spa, the manicure room is still a pleasure, and it’d be a great place to have a group of friends gather for a pedi party. The pedicure with the sugar scrub was absolutely amazing.
The spa I most recently had the pleasure of experiencing was the Ruby Room in the Ukranian Village on Division. I went there to review acupuncture for SpaWeek.com, so keep an eye out – next week a big post to come! The Ruby Room is like no other spa I’ve ever been to. It’s really more of a healing center, but you can get everything from a haircut to a eyebrow shaping to a colonic to acupuncture to crystal and tarot readings here. It’s all about enhancing your internal and external beauty. If you want to experience insight about your soul after you get streaks in your hair, this is the place to go.
Look out for a much longer review of my Ruby Room amd Spa Week experience SOON, and you should get familiar with SpaWeek now. It’s taking place April 12 to 18!
If you’re dying to get your spa on next week, check out the deal days at SpaFinder.com, to find $50 treatments from March 8 to 14 at spas in your neck of the woods!