I have to say-- I'm a massage novice. I've only officially had one real massage EVER -- and it was probably three or so days before my wedding. A well-needed massage, believe me. I had just quit my job of 8+ years and was about to have a pretty large wedding. A massage was needed!
When Burke Williams Day Spa contacted me recently, asking if I'd like to try out one of their massages (and hydrotherapy baths) to review, I said sure. I will. I'm there. I will SACRIFICE my time for you, beloved SJBlog reader. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.
That said, I'm going to have a lot of detail in this review that relates to a first-timers experience. Maybe you are a little shy or unsure about the process of getting a massage? Well, I hope to help you see how relaxing it can be and how respectful the company/massage therapists are.
After a reschedule -- by the way, Mr Internet says to not have a massage if you are feeling under the weather. Massages increase the flow of your circulatory system and if within that system you are sick -- woosh, it is everywhere and apparently a little "cold bug" can become a crazy sickness. I was feeling a little under the weather so I opted to not have that as much as possible.
So, a few days after initially planned, I finally arrived at Burke Williams Day Spa (located in Santana Row) for my massage.
It's a quiet experience. Immediately you are in a waiting room with low light, comfy chairs to relax in and a few shelves of products to check out.
I was greeted by Jordana and she made sure my appointment was ready and in place, then she gave me a quick tour. There's the main waiting area for men and women. In between the separation of spas for men/women, there are two doors. These are to the quiet rooms. If you want to read, have some deep thoughts, or just lie back in a recliner with your eyes closed -- this is where you do it.
She walked me into the women's spa side. There's a hot tub/spa, plenty of showers, the area to do your hair and makeup. They have everything from hair products, lotions, shavers, to clean hair brushes/combs, hair dryers and straighteners for you to use.
Frankly, I was a little overwhelmed. I'm not used to this kind of service and everywhere I turned was either a relaxing location or somewhere to pamper myself. Where do I start?
So after I put my clothes and such into the provided locker and wrapped myself in the (extremely soft) robe, I made my way to a little sitting area near the spa/hot tub. By the way, clothing is optional - so if you are shy like me, bring a bathing suit if you want to go into the spa, or just bring your birthday suit if you are so inclined.
Just before the hour, someone goes around the spa informing people that they have appointments about to start and that they should gather in the main waiting room to meet your massage therapist (or the person that will do your facials, etc.) A few minutes later, Summer (massage therapist) showed up and introduced herself.
Oh by the way, plenty of refreshing water, tea, and fruit is available for you at any time you wish. Keep hydrated!
Summer took me to the massage room and asked me about any specific spots I needed worked on. My upper shoulders/neck area had been bothering me the last few days so I was totally in need of some focused work there. She left the room so I could get on the massage table in private. (See, for us shy people, this is a great thing! Too many TV shows/movies show the person in the room with you while you get on the table… I never liked that idea.) The room is dark and there is relaxing music playing softly in the background.
Summer came back in and began the massage. By the way, the kind of massage I got was The Burke Williams Massage:
This massage includes our 'Signature Blend' of essential oils, accented with our famous Burke Williams scent. This customized massage uses warm, moist heat packs to relax the muscles and exotic herbs to polish the skin. Available in both Swedish and Deep Tissue styles, it is a uniquely relaxing massage experience.
Mine was the Swedish style and was 50 minutes long. Added to it was a massage enhancement: Hot Stones. Now I had it in my head that individual hot stones will be placed on my back - not so. They just recently switched over to these large packets that have hot clay in them. Same thing and able to conform to the shape of your body. The heat felt *GREAT*.
I gotta say, the massage was wonderful. There was this one technique right at the end that I found interesting (and for all I know, is very common -- again, massage newbie here!) I was lying on my back and she placed my head on a large towel and lifted it up and rolled my head side to side. I had to resist the urge to use my muscles to lift my head or to stop the movement -- just roll with it!
After my massage, Summer walked me back to the spa area where I was to wait for my next service, a hydrotherapy spa bath.
By now I was already downing a few cups of water (drink lots of water before and after massages!)
A lady found me and asked what kind of scents/oils would I like in the bath - she had a list for me. Frankly after the massage I was a little fuzzy so I couldn't decide. I asked for a recommendation and she said she personally liked to mix the "Moisture Revival" with the "Harmony Bubble Bath"
Hydrate and nourish your skin in our soothing, aromatic blend of calendula flowers, aloe vera, rose elder, chamomile, lavender, palmarosa, olibanum and ylang yang.
Harmony Bubble Bath
This relaxing and soothing bubble bath combines aloe, chamomile, ginkgo, cocoa, flaxseed, jojoba, Vitamin E and patchouli with minerals to create a wondrous indulgence.
Sounded good to me!
She set up the bath, which is in a secluded room, and when it was ready, lead me in there. Now, because it was rather late in the evening and I don't think there were any more appointments, the privacy partition was not set up between the two baths. I got really self conscious and I suppose I could have just asked for the partition to get set up OR move it myself, but I didn't. So after she left the room, I just hopped into the very hot bath as fast as I could.
There was, again, cold water and a plate of fresh fruit set up behind me (on the ledge of the tub for easy access), candles and low-lighting promoting a relaxing atmosphere. Also, it's a jacuzzi-style tub, so the jets were on!
Now, I like a relaxing bath like most people but I cannot stand to be in the tub for very long. Especially if the water is super hot. It's just a personal thing about breathing hot air, sweating, etc, all the while you are trying to relax. That said, I didn't stay in the tub for the full 20 minutes. I probably lasted around 15 minutes max. Which was fine, I got out of the tub and ate some fruit, drank some water, and went on my way. You are not "required" to stay in the tub for the full 20 minutes. Stay in for as short of time as you like.
That's one of the things I really liked about this experience -- you are reminded that it IS all about you. You don't have to stick to rules of your services. Also, because you've purchased services (above $55), you have access to all spa amenities for as long as you like before AND after your treatments.
After all my services I grabbed a brochure and began to eyeball the membership details.
And wouldn't you know, Burke Williams is running a special this month!
Guests that spend $150 on a gift card at Burke Williams Day Spa will receive a complimentary $25 gift card. For each $250 gift card purchase you will receive a gift card for $50. This special offer expires June 30, 2012.
Tomorrow is Father's Day and I know some of you out there haven't gotten your father a gift yet. Day spa treatments are not just for women! Or what about a graduation gift for your sister who just got her Master's degree? She could really use a relaxing day at the spa, don't you think? Plus, it's a win-win situation -- give a gift, and get a little something for yourself too.
Burke Williams provided these services free, but all these opinions are my own.