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An Urban Oasis Awaits You
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jan 18, 2007)
On an unassuming Tuesday afternoon, I find myself in the waiting lounge of Spa Bar, tucked away on a busy vestibule of 2nd Street. The atmosphere certainly seems to spell out “deluxe digs for the urban primadonna” but something about the ambience is casual enough to make me want to take a deep breath (perhaps with the help of their signature oxygen bar) and leisurely stretch my limbs out to the loft ceilings or, perhaps, curl up on the sprawling couch with the latest issue of Vogue and do some shameless people-watching More
A Taste of the Authentic
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jan 12, 2007)
At this junction in spa history, the comprehensive system of healthy pampering known as Ayurveda -- an across-the-board Hindu wellness practice that translates to “knowledge of life” in Sanskrit -- is part and parcel of the industry lexicon. In San Francisco alone, there are at least a dozen spas that profess to employ some ancient Ayurvedic techniques in their services. But for spa babies who aren’t content with watered-down exotics (an oil treatment here, a mantra thrown in for good measure there), Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa is the real deal. More
Undiscovered Terrain for Spa Babies
By Nirmala Nataraj (Dec 22, 2006)
Personally, I’m so over overstimulation of the senses. I attribute that to relentless marketing and, of course, the advent of the holiday “gimmes”. Everywhere I go, I can count more iPods, Blackberries, and other fun gadgets with completely useless vestigial features than I can count people. That’s why I thank the deities of beauty and health for Oakland’s FLOAT – Flotation Center and Art Gallery, for offering some respite from all the madness. More
Spa Therapy for Your Toes
By Nirmala Nataraj (Nov 30, 2006)
If you thought smooth, callus-free feet and perfectly polished toenails were beauty considerations strictly confined to warmer months, think again. For the sake of hygiene and, well, hygiene -- do your tootsies a favor this winter season and give them some preventive care against the humid confines of boots and sneakers. Recently, I stumbled upon a couple of new favorites, who dispense with the fast, factory-line pedicure treatment and add some sanitary know-how to the brew of indulgence. More
Customized Skincare
By Nirmala Nataraj (Oct 26, 2006)
Lisa Bradbury and Shirley Lau have been in business at Fillmore Street’s Lisa Bradbury Skincare for six years -- and quite simply, they’re in the business of making your skin the best it can possibly be. More
An Outpost for All Your Autumn Skincare Needs
By Nirmala Nataraj (Oct 20, 2006)
Soothe (formerly London Elise Skin Care) is one of those cozy home-away-from-home establishments that make full-scale spas seem bland and passé in comparison. A modest one-room organic skincare and body healing clinic, it also happens to be one of the best-kept beauty secrets in the Upper Haight. More
Experience the Luxury
By Nirmala Nataraj (Oct 5, 2006)
It’s 8am on a Saturday, and while most of the people I know aren’t even beginning to wipe the sleep from their eyes, I’m in the spa waiting area of the Claremont Resort & Spa -- along with at least a dozen other women in identical white robes. From the looks and sound of it, my peers range from brides-to-be to debutantes on an early weekend excursion. About three minutes pass before spa attendants pour into the room, one by one, calling out clients’ names and ushering them towards a facial, massage, or some other such ministration. The room empties rapidly -- it’s clear that even on sleepy weekend mornings, the Claremont Spa means business. More
The Five-Mile Getaway
By Nirmala Nataraj (Sep 14, 2006)
If you live in the city, you’re well aware that every now and then, one’s senses need a little bit of R&R from all the urban hullabaloo. Case in point: most spa enthusiasts have probably run into this situation more than once -- you’re about to settle down to a well-deserved massage after a long and torturous work week when you are abruptly awakened from your blissed-out state by the sound of construction work or the ambient clamor of people on the sidewalk. Certainly, we can’t always head out to Napa or Big Sur when a pamperfest (sans any indication of life outside the treatment room walls) is in order. More
Feel Better at This Northern California Getaway
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 24, 2006)
As summer, with its occasional bouts of sunshine-accompanied merriment and outdoor cookouts, gives way to a lovely Bay Area fall, with its russet hues and invariably toasty weather, I’m reminded of the appeal of the impending months. These days, the prospect of September is a little more exciting, perhaps because I’m no longer a student dreading the onset of another banal school year. More
Helping You Stay Beautiful
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 3, 2006)
Despite my never-ending quest to find the perfect aesthetician, I’ve gradually come to realize that the methods whereby specialists attempt to make their clients beautiful are too numerous to settle on just one path to glowing skin. Take the approaches of aestheticians Felicia Gelardi and Vilma Ang, two of the most sought-after skincare specialists. More
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