Sunday, May 20, 2007

Say hello to summer skin

Katya Holloway, Vancouver Sun
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2007

Parched skin, neglected nails, furry legs? Get your body ready for the sunny weather with a must-do spa treatment, as roadtested by us.


Spa: Spa Utopia


Signature Massage

Who needs this treatment?

Feeling stressed? Popping headache pills like breath mints? Or simply in need of some "me" time?

I walked in to Spa Utopia on a Friday afternoon with a brain-crushing headache that couldn't be numbed by extra-strength painkillers. My back ached from hunching over a computer all week, and my thoughts were buzzing and zapping like an electric power station.

I needed to wind... down....

Within minutes, I was wrapped in a towel and sweating away the day's grime in a steam room. Next came my treatment -- a 75-minute, luxurious massage -- which miraculously erased my migraine and left me feeling energized.

Most pleasing moment

The most unique step in this full-body rubdown was when my therapist, Laurie, placed hot stones down my spine. Lying face-down on my stomach with a sheet separating my skin from the rocks, the combination of the weight and heat really relaxed the muscles. Another unexpected delight was the foot rub, which was almost as euphoric as the neck massage.

Biggest teeth-gritting moment

Teeth-gritting? As if. This treatment is purely blissful. It's a light, satisfying massage that tenderly rubs away sore spots.

How did you feel after?

I felt like a rock star. Returning to the lounge area in my robe, I sipped my glass of white wine and secretly eyed my fellow spa-goers. I could have hung out in that lounge area all evening, just flicking through magazines and hiding from the busy city streets.

Treatment details

The Signature Massage at Spa Utopia lasts 75 minutes and costs $145.

How often do you need to get it done?

Whenever you're in need of a mental and physical kick-start.

Spa details

I would classify Spa Utopia as a high-end spa, with super-friendly staff, a ritzy decor and quality products. The downtown Vancouver location is simply divine inside, with high ceilings, little platters of dried fruit and nuts to nibble on, and that luxurious, lazy aura you so desire in a spa. They also have locations in Langley and North Vancouver. Vancouver: 604-641-1351; North Van: 604-980-3977; Langley: 604-539-8772;

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