A soothing respite for the weary shopper

Filled with upscale boutiques and Old World charm, Georgetown is a shopper’s delight. But the weary shopper can escape the hustle and bustle of the streets in the quiet serenity of one of Georgetown’s many spas, nestled between the alluring shops and eateries.

One such location is Qi Spa, located at 3106 M St. NW. The space is cozy, and the sage green walls and low lighting give it a relaxing aura. Qi Spa owner Ophelia Zhao explained that in Chinese, Qi means energy — specifically, good energy.

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“If people have good energy, they live and work better,” Zhao said.

The massage rooms at Qi Spa are arranged according to Feng shui principles, Zhao said. A leafy bamboo plant graces the corner and wall sconces provide subtle lighting. Chinese tea music plays softly in the background to help spa-goers unwind. Zhao notes that, unlike in some spas, no light shines directly over the client during his or her massage.

Visitors can relax and enjoy a cup of tea while they experience Qi’s combination Tibetan foot sauna and Chinese foot massage, which helps detoxify and improve circulation, according to Zhao.

“They feel more energized and they feel more relaxed, and when they walk, they feel lighter,” Zhao said.

The spa’s three-in-one seaweed body treatment is another effective detox treatment, Zhao said. The seaweed body-wrap tones and detoxes as the body polish smoothes the skin and the infrared sauna wrap detoxes and slims, she explained.

Zhao said couples massages, especially the chocolate oil massage and hot stone massage, are also popular. The 24-karat gold collagen facial is a favorite among women looking for anti-aging treatments to restore a youthful glow to their skin, she said.

The spa is phasing out its nail service to begin offering more advanced medi-spa services by a medical aesthetician and machine-enabled body slimming treatments, Zhao said. Those are set to begin in November, when Thai massage will also resume.

Since Qi is a holistic spa, it also offers facial treatments. It recently began selling Essensa, an organic, French product line for those who want more potent solutions. The products, which work especially well for those who have acne, contain no additive fillers, Zhao said.

With a staff that speaks a multitude of languages, visitors to Qi Spa are sure to find someone who will understand their needs.

At Hela Spa (3209 M St. NW) visitors will find themselves awash in the brightness reflecting from the white walls as soon as they enter. Flavored teas and calming zen or ocean sounds welcome them.

Hela offers facials, microdermabrasions, chemical peels, massages, injections and laser treatments, but provides clients with a different feel than they might find in a typical medical office, spa manager Vanja Simovic said in a phone interview.

“We are a small, neighborhood medical spa. We definitely treat our clients as our friends, neighbors and family,” she said.

Take a short stroll up Wisconsin Avenue, or drive in and take advantage of the valet parking, and you’ll discover Nectar Skin Bar, owned by Amy and Brian Thomas. 

“I just want people to be able to have an oasis in the city,” Amy Thomas said. “That was part of the idea behind the backyard patio.”

The spa, located at 1633 Wisconsin Ave. NW, is filled with quaint charm and classic, understated luxury. The backyard patio treatment area is one-of-a-kind among D.C. spas and is already a well-loved feature by the spa’s guests, Thomas said.

“A number of my friends have run in just for a manicure and ended up camping out because it was far more relaxing than they expected,” she said. “It’s nice to have that as an option.”

The Chocolate Sun organic sunless tan is among the spa’s most popular services, Thomas said. The treatment is customized to match a user’s skin tone and desired shade of tan. Users leave aglow, without the smell of a typical spray tan, and at a cost of $55, a full-body tan won’t break the bank.

Thomas said the rejuvenating oxygen facial is also an in-demand treatment. The facial’s effectiveness comes from its involvement in the cell processes; unlike other facials, it goes deeper than just the top layer of skin, she said.

“It’s an amazing process,” Thomas said. “It’s a really nice experience to have a facial that’s so effective.” 

Thomas said the couple is currently looking into opening a second location in the city.