Classical music wafts through a Georgetown rowhouse, where staff spend the day destressing clients with massages, haircuts, soothing chatter and other pampering. The high-end salon is on par with others in the area, except Chichie's Grooming Spa reserves its lavish treatments for your dog. "We don't just cut the hair," says founder Chichie Tascoe, who goes by one name, like Cher, Iman or Madonna. "We have the best cuts in the city, but we deal with their heart. We deal with their well-being."
The spa is therapeutic for all involved, Chichie says. "Everybody here loves what we do. They love the dogs. The dogs love us. And the dogs sense it."
This year marks her 50th anniversary in business in Georgetown, where she's the master of Washington's canine royalty. "Bo came to us — before he went to the president — to be groomed," Chichie says of the Obamas' dog. Regular clients include the pets of former senator Bob Dole, former secretary of state John Kerry and Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of Ted Kennedy.
The spa, at 1742 Wisconsin Ave. NW, has a living-room-like entry level. The magic happens on the upper and lower floors. A client's visit begins upstairs with a comb-out or pre-cut using $400 Japanese scissors. In the brightly lit basement, assistant groomer Cecil Staton and Chichie's daughter, co-owner Aleta Elsayed, bathe and pamper their guests.
"We do the de-shedding treatments and we clip their nails," Elsayed says. "And we also address any skin issues that they might have: dry skin, oily skin, eczema, whatever. If they're sensitive, we offer hypoallergenic shampoo. We only use tearless shampoo around their faces. You don't want anything harsh around the eyes. A lot of thought goes into it."
Depending on a dog's breed, a day at the spa can run from $75 to $325. Chichie's started in 1965, originally as Chichie's Poodle Parlor, on Capitol Hill. Two years later, she moved to her first Georgetown location. In 2015, she relocated to the current space.
Erwin Gomez owns Karma, a nearby salon and spa for humans. He's particular about his three teacup poodles, Onyx, Ruby and Topaz. He takes the dogs to Chichie's monthly. "They treat you like family," Gomez says.
Chichie's explanation: "I was born for this."