Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I see a Red Door...

Recently, I completely indulged in something in my life that usually gets pretty neglected. Myself. How pathetic is that to have to write? Like every other mother and parent my plate is full. Completely full. As is the case in our world of must be on time, must enroll in this course, must purchase this car kind of world some things have to give. Whether it be ourselves or those around us, unfortunately it is true. So what can we do, people? I say, first and foremost, start with yourself. This may sound selfish, especially to parents, who tend to focus all of our time, energy, and money on the children but take stock of what you have around you. None of it would be possible without YOU so embrace your children, kiss your spouse, then head to the spa.

I grew up in spas and salons. Some of my fondest memories are of my sister, mother, grandmother and I in the salon together. We loved this time together as we pampered ourselves and experienced a sort of female bonding therapy session. It was good for me then and it’s even better for me now. Everyone, both men & women need some time just for themselves and the benefits of spa have been enjoyed by people for thousands of years. Facials, haircuts, massages,
waxes, peels, steam rooms, pools, body wraps, and scrubs are just a few of the treatments offered at all of the varied spas throughout the world. If you look into a brief history of spas you will find that they date back to the Mesopotamians over thousands of years ago. They (mostly men at first) used the very beneficial spa techniques for health, wellness, relaxation, and anti-aging just to name a few. The Europeans believed many diseases could be eradicated wtih spa treatments. The Greeks, Japanese, Egyptians and Minoans (not in that order) all used spas in their daily life. Americans coined the term “day spa” making the industry a $12 billion a year powerhouse and now you can find a spa or two on most corners of American cities. My small town has at least 5 different places where you can go and relax with a wide range of treatments.

Where did this luxury spa trend begin in America? Elizabeth Arden, that’s where. The personal history of this woman and her empire is fascinating to me. Leaving behind a makeup legacy & a horse racing Hall of Fame, Florence Nightingale Graham was a pioneer.
Elizabeth Arden. It’s a household name now but in in 1910, the salon & spa legend that is Red Door Spas began. This defined the American day spa and the rest is history as all other spas and salons have tried to replicate, duplicate, and simply try to BE the luxury quality, look and feel that awaits you at Red Door Spas. In my opinion, none come close. I enjoy some of the finer things in my life but this experience at Red Door Spa was one of the finest. From low quality spa materials to disorganization, much of it has to do with front desk service which is where first impressions begin. Going online is good for spa info like hours and phone numbers but a website these days can make ice chips look like a skating rink. In order to truly know a salon, you must experience it and the staff goes right along with it. The front desk of any salon will make or break the experience from the time of booking your appointment. Red Door staff not only re-booked me several times, added a desperately needed last minute conditioning treatment, but they also cheerfully greeted me at their red door and that’s when I knew that I must spread the word about this place.

Not-So Waiting Room
Very refreshingly ice cold water with oh! the slightest hint of lemon greeted me in the waiting room. No empty stares in a lobby busy with phone calls, stylists, and rushing clients. The waiting room was modern, filled with pertinent, updated reading material without the distraction of television. Peaceful perfection. My coffee was made and brought to me just as I had ordered it at the front desk.

No tedious forms and long waiting times. There were simple and quick forms to fill out unlike other spa experiences I’ve had where the barrage of paperwork takes away time from the actual treatments. I’ve witnessed staff telling clients that they allot time for paperwork & discussions but don’t disclose this upfront. What?! This didn’t go over to well as you can imagine. Cheeky tactic and avoid these 3 items when choosing a spa & salon:


1. fine fine print business materials

2. contracts

3. unfriendly staff


All of the above will add up to an “un-spawful” experience.


Treatment Highlight: Olive Oil Pedicure
My treatment highlight was the Olive Oil Pedicure. I cannot tell you the heaven that I was in for a little over an hour. The nail technician treated my feet to creams and scrubs all rich in antioxidants with olive oil extracts. I also opted to have Rose essential oils put into my soaking water.This particular pedicure included a parafin wax
treatment which surely bottled in major amounts of moisture. Your feet are twice dipped in wax and then wrapped in plastic. You kind of look like a space creature for the 15 min. the magic is working but your feet are as tender as a baby’s bum when it’s all over. Pedicures are one of my favorite treatments because everyone can benefit from it. Men and women are on their feet all day and they could use some serious attention on our down time. You will be amazed at the amount of tension that can be released from receiving a foot massage during even the most basic pedicure. Not many people give attention to the pressure points on their feet but the benefits are immediately felt. (Push on the arch of your foot right now and slowly move your finger back and forth. Told you it felt good.)

No High Pressure Sales Tactics
No Elizabeth Arden products were pushed on me and I appreciated this to the fullest. It’s Elizabeth Arden-one of the biggest product names in the beauty world and they respected my spa experience sparing me the hard sell. I cannot stand the pressure of the hard sell after a relaxing time at the spa. My hair stylist pulled products for me to start a new hair regimen & I even inquired about an olive oil spray but wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of me returning? I’ve already booked appointments for the next few weeks out. It's
summertime and pedicures are vital. Being a Texas girl, sandals are fitting for any season, despite the crazy stares I get when I run to the store in the middle of Fall, stepping in greasy rainbow streaked rain puddles. This kind of skin exposure warrants pedicures with standing appointments but no matter how frequently you go, just go. Red Door will sell itself to you.

Going the distance for luxury
Now I usually say stay local, shop locally, buy locally but what I stress more is seeking out quality. As I drove out of my normal comfort zone to make my thrice changed appointment at Red Door Spa, I must have passed dozens of nail mills where unfriendly service and semi-sanitary conditions await. Unfortunately, I have tried many of them. As with most things, I dove into the world of salons and spas upon my arrival in the Pacific Northwest almost a decade ago and was disappointed. This is one of the rare cases that I will have to drive into the city in order to get exactly what I want. Whether it be organic produce, locally caught fish, or an amazing facial, sometimes you have to go the extra mile (literally) in order to get what you really need.

Now, I know what you’re thinking... Out of your price range, right? Weekly $50 pedicures are kinda spendy. Wrong. Or perhaps you are thinking that the patrons would be a bit uppity? Doubt it. You and everyone else there want to relax and get away from it all. You ALL should be there for the atmosphere, customer service and quality spa products. You don’t have to become a spa junkie, showing your face there several times a week, to enjoy its benefits so book your first appointment today. It alone will sell you on returning for more. If you don’t have a Red Door near you, I’m sorry. So sad for you. But you can absolutely seek out a spa or salon of your own with some of the same credentials and characteristics of Red Door Spas. They are arguably the best in the business.

I just signed up for Red Door on the Go which send updates and subscriber only deals to your phone. I’ve already received $20 off of my next visit. Smart companies are going digital to reach the always plugged in consumers of today. They got me...