East Bay spa treatments put relaxation and rejuvenation first.

Retail Therapy: Pampering Options


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Light therapy at Simply Gorgeous

Pat Mazzera

Is making more “me time” on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Jumpstart a more relaxed and tranquil 2014 with a visit to one of these terrific East Bay spas.

Claremont Hotel Club & Spa

The mother of all East Bay spa experiences, the Claremont Hotel’s spa is tops for luxe. Any spa treatment (and any salon service Monday through Thursday) comes with up to two hours to spend in the spa’s steam room, whirlpool tub, and “deluge” showers—a hydrotherapy circuit meant to detoxify and increase circulation. Don your fluffy, white robe and make the rounds. Then head to one of the soft couches in the lounge to read fashion magazines, sip tea, and munch on fruit until it’s time for the treatment. Choose from all variety of massages, mud wraps, salt body treatments, facials, and acupuncture. It’s not cheap—massages start at $145, full facials at $140, and 80-minute body treatments are $205—but worth the splurge. For a not-to-be-forgotten experience, investigate the half- or all-day packages. Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, 510-843-3000, www.ClaremontResort.com/spa.shtml, open 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.–Wed., 1–7 p.m. Thu., noon–7 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat.

About Face & Body

For a more economical yet luxurious spa experience, head downhill from the Claremont to About Face & Body, at the corner of Alcatraz and College. This well-appointed day spa carries Aveda products for top-notch facials. There’s no common area or hydrotherapy services here, but the spa is great for working women who don’t have all day to lounge. And the prices are pretty relaxing, too: 50-minute massages start at $75 while facials start at $55. The spa also has full waxing and mani/pedi services. Monthly memberships make About Face & Body’s services even more affordable for those who are planning to take advantage of at least one treatment a month. About Face & Body, 3190 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-428-2600, AboutFaceAndBody.net, open 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Fri.–Tue., 10:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Wed.– Thu.

HM Facial & Foot Massage

An even more economical getaway is HM Facial and Foot Massage—an outstanding value for the lengthy massages offered. The “regular” foot massage—only $27—is really an hour-long, clothed, full-body massage with extra emphasis placed on the feet, hands, and scalp. Don’t expect privacy here—clients are seated in a reclining leather armchair in the main room, which contains room for seven other customers. Many find the massage itself allows them to relax so thoroughly that they fail to notice other clients arriving until they get up to leave. HM does have private nooks in the back for full-body massages, hot stone massages, and facials, but for the hedonist on a budget, the “foot” massage can’t be beat. HM Facial & Foot Massage, 3734 Grand Ave., 510-286-2266, www.HMFacialFoot.com, open daily 10 a.m.–9 p.m.

Simply Gorgeous Day Spa

The ladies of Montclair must be very relaxed and well-groomed, based on the number of salons and spas tucked into the tiny ’hood. This cozy spa above a cafe fits right in with a broad menu of services, from massage (starting at $65 for an hour) to facials, light therapy, waxing, hair, makeup, mani/pedi, even colon hydrotherapy with or without body wrap. The owner, Svetlana Pascual, is a whiz with waxing and brow/lash tints. A great place to stop by for a beauty break any time. Simply Gorgeous Day Spa, 2064 Antioch Court, Suite D, 510-339-1888, www.simplygorgeousdayspa.com, open 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon., 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Tue.–Thu., 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.

Piedmont Springs

For a fully immersive experience, Piedmont Springs has long been a go-to spot. In fact, the nearby city of Piedmont was originally the site of a spring rumored to cure rheumatism and the site of the Piedmont Springs Hotel, where San Franciscans visited to get away from the hustle of the big city. Today, Oakland’s Piedmont Springs is home to private outdoor hot tubs that are $16 per hour per person. A one-hour private sauna session is $15 per person, and private steam room session just $11 per person for half an hour (two person minimum on weekend nights). Add on a massage ($70 an hour) or a facial for the full deal. Piedmont Springs, 3939 Piedmont Ave., 510-652-9191, www.piedmontsprings.com, open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.

Zen Springs

If you’d rather soak inside, this downtown Oakland Asian-style spa offers private indoor rooms with whirlpool tubs and showers. VIP rooms also have private steam rooms or saunas. The private tub rooms are generally set up for two people and have thoroughly romantic mood lighting, though a few of the smaller rooms cater to singles and large groups—bachelorette parties and the like—can rent out multiple rooms or the whole place. The water in the tubs is changed after each session, which means no chlorine, and each room has a yoga platform for relaxing and cooling down between dips in the tub. Zen Springs also offers in-room massages ($95 for a 30-minute couples massage). Next door are treatment rooms for facials, body wraps and masks, and the like. Tub rooms are $40 per hour for a single; $50–$60 per hour for couples. Zen Springs, 1010 Jefferson St., 510-272-9895, www.ZenSprings.com, open daily 9 a.m.–midnight.

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