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Going Places


For Couples

Sunday, March 6, 2005; Page M07

"Mmmmm. That feels good," my husband Josh sighs. Sure, another woman has her hands all over him, but I'm not worried. We've come to the Serenity Day Spa in Alexandria together for exactly this kind of treatment -- a massage à deux, in the same room. I look over at him lying face down, covered with only a blanket, and try to figure out what Leslie, his therapist, is doing. But I'm too relaxed and drop my head back down onto the table as Han, my masseur, kneads the tension out of my back. Why is a doubled rubdown twice as nice as going solo? "Most people enjoy couple's massage because it makes them more comfortable knowing their spouse, boyfriend, sister or best friend is in the room," explains Leslie, "especially those who are new to massage." Whether you want to simply melt into a relaxed puddle with that special someone, or learn massage techniques to pamper your partner, here are local spots that will rub you the right way:

BOUTIQUE SPA AT THE RITZ-CARLTON. 3100 South St. NW. 202-912-4175. www.ritzcarlton.com. This Georgetown haven features an oversized chamber specifically for couple's massage. Each person can choose an individual treatment, so if you want aromatherapy and your significant other prefers deep-tissue work to loosen the kinks from last night's basketball game, that's fine. Both need to be the same amount of time, with 55-minute treatments ranging from $95-$115 per person and 85-minute massages ranging from $130-$150 per person.

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FIRST CLASS INC. 1726 20th St. NW. 202-797-5102. www.takeaclass.org. This Dupont Circle-area learning center offers classes in everything from how to make your own soap to how to become a notary public. Periodically, instruction is offered on massage techniques for couples. During the two-hour session, both of you will learn different massage strokes and practice on each other's hands, neck and head. (Aahh . . . .) The session costs $49 per couple -- the next one is March 18 at 7 p.m.

NUSTA SPA. 1129 20th St. NW. 202-530-5700. www.nustaspa.com. This airy, eco-friendly space, designed with recycled materials, projects an air of Zen calm. It offers an integrated massage for couples: Each starts with a consultation with the therapist, who mixes and matches techniques to deliver a unique experience for each of you. A 50-minute couple's massage costs $190 and 80 minutes is $280.

POTOMAC MASSAGE TRAINING INSTITUTE. 5028 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-686-7046. www.pmti.org. If you and your partner want to hone your own hands-on approach, this school -- which is dedicated to training certified therapists -- occasionally offers couple's massage workshops open to the public. There are no seminars scheduled at this time, but keep an eye on its Web site for future sessions.

SERENITY DAY SPA. 209 Madison St., Alexandria, 703-549-9212. 4000 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-362-2560. 13037 Worldgate Dr., Herndon, 703-709-6596. www.serenitygift.com. Do you both crave serenity now? These spas offer several therapies including sacred stone, deep tissue, aromatherapy and prenatal (you can each choose your own) in its special couple's suite. If you're interested in a teaching component, ask when you make your appointment. Couples' massages range from $100 to $250.

Kelly DiNardo

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