Seeking a spa moment in the month of January

by Elizabeth Griffin
( January 17th, 2013 )

Are you as cold as I am this month? I love the frost in the morning, love the clear blue skies of the Pacific Northwest, love the nip in the air … but I also want a place to warm up!
These same thoughts were on the mind of a woman from Korea when she came up with the idea of a spa for women — a place where women could go during the wet, cold months of winter in the Puget Sound region and be warmed to the bone.
Olympus Spa
This was the inspiration behind Olympus Spa, which has two locations — Tacoma and Lynnwood. Commonly known as “the naked lady spa,” Olympus Spa combines age-old Korean healing practices with a modern-day facility to give women a retreat, a place to rejuvenate and think, and a lovely, relaxing experience. For $35 you can spend the day there, moving from one heated room to another in a robe they provide. Each room is designed to heal in a specific way that is explained by the spa — one has charcoal lining the walls, another has sand beneath a canvas floor, and so forth.
The “naked lady” part comes in the pool area where there are four pools with varying temperatures of water to provide hydro-therapy. If you’re squeamish about being naked, just do what I do. When I go in there I take my glasses off and pretend that no one can see me, just like I can’t see them. If you have 20/20 vision, just don’t look at anyone. And remember, it’s women only!
Olympus Spa also provides massages, mani and pedis, wraps and scrubs for an additional cost between about $50-$130. I recommend the body scrub, which is offered for 40 minutes at $69 and 55 minutes at $89, when every inch of your body is scrubbed by an expert wearing mitts with tiny scrubbers on them. It’s amazing to watch the greyish matter float away as you are doused with warm water. Afterwards, your skin will feel silky for a month. The experience is truly lovely.
Spaahh at Hotel 1000
Located in downtown Seattle, Spaahh at Hotel 1000 is the elegant choice if you want to feel like a queen. I had the best — and I mean, it was heavenly — hot stone massage that I have ever had there. Ninety minutes of glory! I was so relaxed that during the second half I floated in and out of consciousness, seriously in bliss.
The hot stone massage costs around $2 a minute, but it is so worth the fee. In reality, that’s on par with other spas, and don’t you deserve it anyway?
Hotel 1000 is convenient for anyone near downtown, and they have valet parking so that’s not even a concern. After your massage, make sure to have lunch at Boka Restaurant & Bar off the lobby of the hotel. It serves delicious salads and a fabulous salmon burger with fries drizzled in truffle oil. Yum.
Massage Envy
Having experienced a massage at three different Massage Envy locations, I can honestly say that the chain of spas offers a consistent, excellent experience. The facilities are clean and comfortable, the staff is responsive to your needs, and you will feel great during and after the massage. It also offers a variety of massage choices, with experts in each modality on staff.
The cost of a massage at Massage Envy is comparable to other places, unless you buy into its monthly plan. Then you get a considerable discount — just a little less than half off. The idea is to keep massage affordable so people can get the benefit of it regularly. Another plus is that there are many locations, so there is probably one near you.

Free massage giveaway!
Massage Envy has generously passed along a gift certificate for one reader of The Flying Salmon. To be entered in a drawing for a free massage at the location near you just leave a comment on this blog by January 24 telling us about your favorite spa experience! I will contact the winner after that.

This contest closes at 12:00am PST on January, 24th 2013. The winner will be chosen at random from the comments below, please only submit one entry per person. If the winner does not respond within three days of being notified, a new winner will be selected. This contest is available only to residents of the United States. Approximate value of the prize is $49. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

From our partners
On January 18th, 2013 at 12:14 am, Kristen said:

My favorite Spa experience would have to be visiting Glen Ivy Spa in southern California. The spa is outdoors with many different pools including mineral baths and a cool water, shallow floating pool. My favorite part was the mud bath. You enter into a mud pool and smear therapeutic mud all over yourself, lay in the sun for it to dry and then rinse it off in one of the many shower areas. It’s a wonderful exfoliating experience. The facilities are very luxurious. You pay one fee for the day and spend the whole day lounging about. I wish I could go right now!

On January 18th, 2013 at 8:51 am, Elizabeth Griffin - The Flying Salmon said:

Kristen—I’m with you! Let’s hop a plane today and go :)

On January 18th, 2013 at 9:06 am, Kim said:

Harrison Hot Springs Hotel has the most amazing facilities! It will remain one of my favorite memories of all time. Although, I would happily use the gift certificate (if won) to compare the experience!

On January 18th, 2013 at 10:25 am, Deborah Oglesby said:

I have never actually been to a spa – though I have had others tell me of their great experiences at Olympus Spa. However, I have been absolutely blessed by massage therapy at Massage Envy. About 18 months ago, I developed severe neck pain. I’d been given a Massage Envy gift certificate some months previously (my too busy life had kept me from using it!) so, I scheduled an appointment hoping it would give at least a day of relief. The massage went beyond my expectations. It was magical. For the first time in many weeks I felt a huge amount of (non-pharmacutical) relief from the pain and it lasted several days. After the pain increased again, I went to the doctor. A few months later after many physical therapy appointments, neck traction devices and even stronger pain relievers I was still in pain. I received an email from Massage Envy offering a free massage for those with Arthritis (both my youngest daughter and I suffer from this – and some of my neck issues could be attributed to it). We both were blessed by a free massage on their special Healing Hands for Arthritis day. Again, my neck pain was so much less that I pursued massage therapy via my medical provider. Massage thereapy has been the key to getting my neck pain under control and I am no longer taking medications on a regular basis. My daughter and I both received another free massage in October from Massage Envy – again through their Healing Hands for Arthritis. I have been impressed with their facility, their professional staff (Shoreline), the calm atmosphere (lavender is my favorite color) and of course the relaxing results! Their introductory rate is very affordable and if I had not had medical coverage I would have invested in a membership. Hmmm… is that a twinge I feel in my neck? I think I’m talking myself into a little “me” time…

On January 18th, 2013 at 12:13 pm, Deborah said:

One of my favorite spa experiences was at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA. The only way that I could afford it is because I was on the staff. We used to be given a “spa day” each year which allowed to use the facilities and get a massage. I always pretended I was from out of town that day! I would love to get a massage!

On January 19th, 2013 at 10:31 am, Shannon said:

My favorite spa experience was my first, which happened at the Dead Sea during my first trip to Israel. We were at the La Mirada David hotel, which is an experience all by itself. I was a little nervous going into the spa, because I had never had a massage before and I didn’t know what to expect, and that nervousness just increased when I realized they had assigned a man to do my massage. But from the moment he started, all my worries drifted away. I didn’t even know it was possible to be that relaxed.

I’ve probably had ten since that time—not nearly as many as I would have liked. But every time, I am thankful for the people who took the time to learn that skill. There’s nothing like massage.

On January 19th, 2013 at 3:01 pm, Darlene said:

I’ve never been to a spa. But, I did go to a random massage parlor in So. Cal. Last summer. What an adventure, I don’t recommend it. Would love to have the spa experience!

On January 19th, 2013 at 3:13 pm, Sherrill Leppich said:

I have not had the opportunity to go to a spa, so I do not have an experience to share, but would love to have the chance to go someday!! I’ve had many friends tell me about Olympus Spa and they had nothing but good things to say. I’ve also heard about Massage Envy and have always thought about going, but just haven’t yet. Getting a massage is one of the things on my bucket list :O)

On January 19th, 2013 at 4:28 pm, Linda Barfoot said:

The first massage I ever had was a 30 minute free massage in Mexico, it was so relaxing and renewing, I felt like I was in Heaven, I felt like jelly at first but then as my body came back down to reality I felt so good. It was great, it was wonderful.

On January 19th, 2013 at 5:40 pm, Cathy Taylor said:

One of my favorite Spa experiences was on the Sea of Galilee in Israel. A man from that area was the top dog in the hotel spa that day and he played very upbeat, Middle-Eastern music very loud for the entire massage. This was a first for me to experience this type of atmosphere. After 20 hours of traveling, I didn’t mind too much. I decided then that the training massage therapists get in America is superior, for I felt like a character in an Indiana Jones movie by the end. I laughed to myself all the way back to my room, remembering how I was making a memory for myself here in the Promised Land.

On January 19th, 2013 at 6:23 pm, Ruth said:

Well, Cathy, I’m jealous. But I have been blessed twice – on my 40th bday my amazing husband made up “Amazing Race” style “Amazing Ruth” cards and sent me to a spa near Target in Lynnwood for the works… and to a hotel where 3 dear friends joined me for the evening. Sweet.
Then, my daughters recently just took me for a pedicure at Alderwood Nails. I thought “I can paint my own toenails, this is too extravegant” but they proved me wrong! It was $20 to sit in massage chairs with feet in bubble bath, then have many wonderful lotions and massage, trim and a paint job that lasted over a month, I am hooked! Took gramma to a similar place for her bday, it’s perfect for that person that “has it all” but deserves to be spoiled!

On January 19th, 2013 at 9:38 pm, Donna Sorrell said:

I have never experienced going to a spa…but I enjoy my head-to-toe full body exfoliation everyday in my own shower :) It really does a body Good! Everyone should try it. I would love an experience at the spa.

On January 20th, 2013 at 11:02 pm, wendy said:

I have not been to a spa, but I have heard great things about Olympus Spa from several people, & from reading this article, it sounds like a relaxing place!
Due to a connective tissue disorder, I get a massage every month. It mostly isn’t pleasant for me, but it’s necessary to keep my body working correctly, & it is something I do for myself, so I get that good feeling that I’m taking care of myself.

On January 23rd, 2013 at 1:40 pm, Randy Richards said:

My favorite spa experience would have to be at the Bonneville Hot Springs resort and spa. The spa and natural hot springs left us fully relaxed and it was a great treatment for my tendinitis. They also have a full sized mineral indoor pool. Massage, hot wrap, hot shower, mineral hot tub, mineral pool and my wife, what could be better? :< }

On January 23rd, 2013 at 2:46 pm, Jon Scherrer said:

Going to a spa has been one of my not-so guilty pleasures over the years. It started as a way to reward myself for a great business trip, then as a way to recharge after the holidays (any holiday really) and now it has dwindled back to only very special occasions. Whether you are heading into a full day, relaxation experience or just a 45 minute quick massage (or facial) it is a great way to get an attitude adjustment.

So, for my best experience from around the world it has to have been at Seattle’s Sorrento Hotel. Mr. Mori is a genius with Shiatsu (which is a deep tissue massage that isn’t for the faint of heart) and the waiting/quiet room experience was very relaxing. That was probably 20 years ago and I still talk about it today. Probably time to go back don’t you think?

On January 23rd, 2013 at 4:14 pm, leeann whalen said:

So my favorite spa experience is…..oh wait I’ve never been. When being a single mother you have to prioritize between crazy stuff like food, heat, gas, and doctors bills. The thought of someone taking care of me at one of these amazing spas sounds like a dream. I am not sure how people who get a moment to relax can turn off their brain, during those moments my brain goes nonstop. Did I pay that bill? Is the birthday party 4 or 5? Do I have noodles for dinner? My kids will be at their dads on saturday do I work extra or sleep? Maybe I should take my trip soon to the spa the more I think about it the more I realize this just may be a necessary!

On January 23rd, 2013 at 7:28 pm, Laurie said:

I have never had the wonderful experience of a spa. I have had some great massages though.The best massage being many years ago when I was pregnant, on 24/7 bed rest and miserable. A friend gave me the gift of a massage, in my own home. It was so nice to have someone come to me when I was feeling like I would never leave my house or bed again!

On January 23rd, 2013 at 8:12 pm, Elizabeth Griffin - The Flying Salmon said:

Definitely time for a return to the Sorrento! Sounds amazing!

On January 23rd, 2013 at 8:13 pm, Elizabeth Griffin - The Flying Salmon said:

Oooooo now I hope you get drawn for the free massage!

On January 23rd, 2013 at 8:32 pm, jan davis said:

Once a year for several years, co-workers and I would venture down to Lakewood to the original Olympus Spa for a relaxing day of hot pools, hot rooms and body scrubs. We were the “Buff Buddies”! We’d have lunch at the little Korean restaurant, laugh and visit and thoroughly unwind. Those are great memories!

On January 23rd, 2013 at 10:27 pm, Amie Armstrong said:

I have never been to a spa. But I would like to go to Olympus Spa sometime soon…I heard if you go on your birthdy it is free. A nice massage and soak sound wonderful about now…

On January 23rd, 2013 at 10:36 pm, Elizabeth Griffin - The Flying Salmon said:

Amie—As far as I know, Olympus Spa stopped giving free days for birthdays. It’s still worth it! Very relaxing.

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