Spa, beauty and travel writer McLean Robbins joined the Going Out Gurus this week to discuss the area’s best massages, manicures and facials, but the dozens of questions we answered ranged from advice for wanna-be yogis to U Street bars that are perfect for groups.
Some edited exerpts of our favorite questions are below; you can read the full transcript here.
I want to surprise my boyfriend with a Spa Week outing, but he’s never been to a spa and thinks it’s “not a guy thing.” Are there any spas you recommend for first-timers, especially when they’re one-half of a couple?
McLean Robbins: Of course! I’d say that The Willard’s Red Door is classy but not intimidating if you’re looking to do something within Spa Week pricing. I’m also intrigued by the Pamper Me Please travel spa - they come to you, so you can always see if he’ll try a massage in the comfort of your home, and the 60 minute massage for $50 is a great deal.
If you’re able to splurge a bit, I convinced a very skeptical and non spa-going boyfriend to go once by getting a couple’s massage at Lansdowne’s Spa Minerale. I had to send a receptionist back to the men’s relaxation area to find him post-treatment. He was having so much fun he didn’t want to leave.
I’ve been working on personal fitness for about a year, and so have spent a decent amount of time on the treadmill. I’d like to actually participate in a 5K at some point but I’ve found that running outside is (surprise!) a totally different beast, and I have a much harder time pacing myself. So I was thinking that a club might motivate me. But it seems like all the clubs out there are either assuming that one has literally never run before and needs to start with 1/2 hour walk, or that one has already completed three 5Ks and can totally do a 10 minute mile (or faster!) for a five mile run. Any guidance from you and the chatters for a club between “brand new runner” and “setting new personal records in races?”
Stephanie Merry: Kudos on the new pastime. I’ve done the Pacers run before, which starts at the Logan Circle location on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and the group is a pretty good mix of people (including, yes, some pretty hard-core speed racers). I’ve also been wandering by when the Logan Circle Lululemon run group is congregating (Monday evenings) and the pack is usually huge, so I’m guessing abilities run the gamut. I know Lavanya tried out one of the running Meetups, which she really enjoyed.
I regularly get very cheap but very good pedicures at Red Sun Nails on Seventh St. NW at M St — directly across from the Convention Center Metro stop, and very conveniently located to my house! I’m wondering what is your favorite place for a very good but inexpensive facial... if that even exists in D.C.!?!
Robbins:Great tip for a good nail salon — they’re hard to find. I love the $99 seasonal treatments at The Spa at Sports Club\LA in Foggy Bottom. There’s almost always a 50-minute facial on the specials list. It’s not cheap, but the facials at Nectar Skin Bar in Georgetown, or Bliss at the W are my two best go-tos. I don’t like to skimp when it comes to really doing the best for my skin.
Dieting girlfriend is out of town four nights. Looking for interesting restaurants in Penn Quarter, Arlington, Cleveland Park. I like Estadio, Chef Geoff’s, Ray’s the Steaks. Will try out Pearl Dive for sure. Other ideas? I am comfortable dining solo just about anywhere.
Fritz Hahn: Restaurants where pigging out is in order: Hill Country BBQ, obviously. Fiola if she’s not a carb consumer. (I love eating at the bar there, btw. Great bartenders.) Proof, for sure. All the offal dishes I had at the new Green Pig in Arlington the other night were great.
And, of course, Medium Rare.
Where would you suggest I go for a high-end massage — one that includes all the bells and whistles?
Robbins: Bells and whistles! I love them. But what I really love is a great massage. I’d pick the custom massage at one of my favorite hotels ever, The Jefferson. Ask for the larger of the two spa rooms, and you’ll get a private shower area too.
What is your fav spa getaway outside of the DMV area? Suggestions for getaways that won’t break the bank?
Robbins: I’m partial to luxury, that’s for sure. If you’re looking to maximize fun without breaking the bank, pick a place that has lots of amenities you can enjoy for the day after a single treatment. Within driving distance, I’d suggest trying Nemacolin up in Pennsylvania, where you could also golf or do a tour of Falling Waters. Otherwise, I’m all about flying out to Las Vegas — hotel rooms are certainly cheap enough! That city has some of the best spas in the country, and you’ll find lots of bells and whistles like steam rooms and even ice chambers. Try Qua at Caesars — a girlfriend and I spent all day there once after a single treatment. We definitely got our fill!
Are there any bars in or immediately around Nats Park that will be showing the Caps game on Saturday? I’d like to catch the first hour of the Caps game on TV before watching the Nats live...
Hahn: First: A plug for this week’s Weekend cover story, which is a guide to all the cool new stuff around the stadium (and in the stadium), from Fairgrounds outside to the new food vendors.
They have TVs at the Red Loft — I remember watching the Caps there last year.
Hahn: Yeah I watched the Euro 2008 Germany/Spain final in the Red Loft. (It was the same day as an O’s-Nats game, and I didn’t want to miss either.)
Some advice for the Caps fan who doesn’t want to miss ANY hockey action during the Nats game...