Let me first say that I have never thought of myself as a spa person. Then, out of desperation for gift ideas, my husband gave me a certificate for a day at the spa once and I've enjoyed it ever since.
La Serenity Spa is exactly what I believe a day spa should be like - a whole world away from everyday life. Every detail has been considered - an abbreviated front desk/foyer helps you transition out of and back into ordinary life with a beautiful waterwall. Then through heavy double doors into tranquility.
The changing room (the women's, anyway) is bright and airy feeling with a curtained changing area for those feeling more modest. The requisite robe and spa sandals are provided along with private lockers for clothing and other small essentials (I always bring some chocolate and a drink for the walk home); the locker key comes on an elastic band to be kept on your wrist between appointments.
The toilet in the restroom has a bidet seat, which while an adjustment for most Americans, only further adds to the sense of luxury and other-worldliness. Stepping back out into the main waiting area is like stepping into a Japanese inn. Sequestered behind the heavy double doors, it does not seem odd to be out in the open in only a robe, especially since guests are also in robes and employees typically wear smocks. Quiet, peaceful music plays while water gurgles from a fountain or two.
I always try to arrive well in advance of my appointments so that I can take full advantage of the warm foot soak along with some lemon water or some tea while I complete any necessary paperwork. If I'm done with the paperwork, I like to page through one of the many topical magazines or books available until I'm collected for my massage, facial or whatever.
I have enjoyed the shea butter hand treatments so much that I insisted my husband give one a try. Even though he is about as far from being a metrosexual candidate as you can get in the urban professional world, he too really enjoyed the experience so much that he's been recommending it to others, men and women alike ever since.
Many may wonder about the value of/interest in/fascination with the Alpha capsule or whatever it's called - I simply call it The Egg - basically an enclosed heated vibrating aromatherapy bed. I'm just quirky enough to really enjoy it; I just have to remember that I only get 20 minutes so that having the attendant come in, turn on the light & open up the capsule isn't a huge surprise.
After or between appointments, be sure to take advantage of the heated, scented neckwrap, a couple of bites of fruit and some tea which are all generally offered during extended visits. It's a nice complement to transitioning back to the real world slowly along with a few minutes in the steam room, a shower, taking time dressing again, and so forth.
Typically after such an experience, the real work for me is reconnecting again with the world - I always give myself plenty of buffer between a spa appointment and anything else that might be expected of me and I do appreciate the extra time and physicality of walking afterward.
TIP: If purchasing as a gift, set up the appointment ahead of time; it can always be rescheduled later if needed. I also like to include the practitioners' gratuity as part of the certificate so that the recipient need not shoulder the burden that little extra. When I will be paying the gratuities myself, I pick up the appropriate number of envelopes from the front desk during check-in so that I can fill them before I leave the dressing room.