Hillcrest is a neighborhood that celebrates diversity. As new business open, they bring different cultures, ideas, and worldviews to the residents, enriching the community and making the area a successful melting pot of people and perspectives from around the world.With the grand opening of Karma Relaxation Spa at 3969 1st Avenue, Jing Sun and her family bring a new cultural perspective to the spa business. Instead of the guilty luxury that most people imagine, they wanted to introduce a more traditional Chinese model that offers the same high quality treatments as other facilities but at a much more accessible price for the average person.The 3969 location on 1st Avenue has everything they want, 4,000 square feet of space, a nice and modern glass exterior, it was near University and the heart of the community and had a parking lot outside and in back.Jing explains that in China, everyone gets massages; they are so common that many people get them every day after work. On weekends, it is common for an entire family to spend a day at a spa.The facilities are usually several stories tall, and clients will remove their shoes and walk into the men’s or women’s shower to rinse off. After showering, you enter another room and get full body sea salt scrub. Walking to the second floor, there are many different steam rooms, wet and dry, some with wood, others with stone. Once you are done, on the third floor there is a common area where everyone relaxes, talks, exercises, and plays games together while waiting for a foot and body massage. After the massage, you go to the top floor where there is another common area with a buffet table, so everyone finishes the day eating and socializing well into the night.Americans, while very sexually open, are much more shy and cautious about their bodies than people are in China, so they could not duplicate the model, but had to adapt it to American comfort levels. The result is a large facility offering body and foot massages, Vichy showers, detox treatments, milk or honey baths, and a sauna at a fraction of the price.The President package, one of their most expensive, last about three hours and includes a 60 minute body massage, a 60 minute foot massage, a 15 minute body detox, a Vichy shower, a milk or honey bath, and a sauna treatment followed by a hot towel wrap, all for $79.99!While they could charge two to three times the price and still be less expensive than most, they would rather make up the difference in volume so that everyone can afford the physical and emotional benefits of regular and frequent treatments instead of keeping it as an expensive infrequent indulgence.Featuring seven top-of-the line fully adjustable foot massage lounge chairs, and ten massage tables in spread between eight themed rooms, high quality gold paint gives the different sections a warm radiance that is tempered by sheer curtains diffusing of the light. Smells of lavender and vanilla relax your mind while arousing the senses.Open from 10:00am to 11:00pm seven days a week, there is little doubt that this is a cultural experience that the community will whole-heartedly embrace. As the buffet of different regions, countries, and traditions expands, residents increasingly get to pick and choose from the best that the diversity of the world has to offer. When you can enjoy an authentic Italian lunch at Buonissimo, a Chinese styled spa afternoon at Karma, and finish it off with a Turkish coffee and hookah at Istanbul, all without setting foot on a plane, or even leaving your own neighborhood, then you know you truly live in America’s Finest City.
The concept of advanced skincare is very foreign to me. Even more foreign is the idea of having someone squeeze my pores to extract goop out of face. I've been using bar soap on my face for all my life, Dove, Neutrogena, Dial, Irish Spring, you name it. This has served me well for most of my adult life, but I'm older now, and my years of neglect are definitely evident, especially in Facebook pictures. It was a recent Facebook picture which I quickly untagged that prompted my visit to Moxie Skincare. My forehead was shiny, I had dark circles under my eyes, and my crow’s feet looked like eagle’s talons. I looked tired, haggard and old.Elizabeth was highly recommended by my lady friends and her salon was conveniently located so I figured, “what the hell, I'm gonna get me a facial” (it didn’t hurt that she was drop dead gorgeous).I’ve always thought of facials as a luxury for the affluent. Unnecessary pampering for people with way too much disposable income. I was wrong. Elizabeth was awesome. The facial I received was nothing like what I expected; it was clinical yet relaxing (I actually dozed off during portions of it…maybe even drooled). She asked me what my skin concerns were, walked me through every step of my facial, recommended products and provided a regimen for me to follow at home. I’ve also noticed a difference in my skin immediately after the treatment and days after.Her office was beautiful, clean and had plenty of free parking. I’ll definitely be back!
Went with a friend to this Spa. The woman at the desk was very friendly. She informed us of the services that they offer and what time(s) they could fit us in because we were not scheduled appts. and it was Saturday morning. We paid our fees and wen to the back area to wait for body scrub/massage. There were shower stalls, steam sauna, and dry sauna, also hot tub. They also have a relaxation room where you can take a nap or just relax. They also have lounge chairs and offer complimentary coffee, tea, and water. When you are called for your scrub/massage, you go to this corner of the room where you lie on a table covered with plastic and the scrubbing begins. You are scurbbed head to toe, front and back. (Not for the extremly shy, because you are totally naked). The only person clothed is the attendant. After the scrub, you are rinsed with very soothing luke warm water and then the massage begins (if you opt'd for that). Scrubbing attendant was very professional (doesn't speak much English), but was good at his job. Your genitals are exposed, but never touched and when possible, he has your junk covered with a hand towel. You are never made to feel weird or uncomfortable. Afterward, you get dressed, grab yourself some water and check out with the woman at the desk. Great place if you have a couple of hours to spend and want a refressing Korean style scrub/massage for $100.
WorldSpa is an intimate full service salon and day spa that is tucked into a charming area of UNiversity Heights. Upon entering the salon, it seems limited in terms of space, but this is not the case at all. Worldspa opens up in the back including a 2500 square foot courtyard decorated with beautiful statues and ornaments. The courtyard setting is zen and tropical with a private thatched roof cabana, a 450 gallon splash pool, and the sound of fountain water. Inside, the spa has an infrared redwood dry sauna, a eucalyptus steam shower, and four additional thatched roof cabanas. Also, the relaxed attitude of the staff makes you feel comfortable while inside or out. The spa looked so wonderful that I had to experience their services for myself. I received the "chocolate massage". After entering a candle lit private room I was told to lie on the internally heated massage table and relax. The soothing music playing in the room made it easy for me to fall asleep. I was gently wakened by the masseuse who proceeded to massage me with chocolate oil. This oil, along with all the other oils used at WorldSpa, is made in house. I overheard talk about marshmallows in the waiting area before my massage. I didn't understand it then, but that's exactly how I felt after my WorldSpa experience.
PB House of Style has been in business for ten years and is run by Vanh and her three sisters who are all stylists. Catering to both men and women for haircuts, highlights, coloring and waxing, this trio has created a relaxed and fun atmosphere for those seeking services a couple blocks from the beach. Whenever I visit a salon or am looking for a new stylist I make sure to check out the goods, meaning I rate the stylist's hair. I was able to speak with Anna, a stylist and one of Vanh's sisters, and was immediately envious of the style and color of her blonde hair. She said it's great working with her sisters and they cut and color each other's hair, which is great for them since they are professionals.Top 40 music plays in the background and the latest fashion magazines line the table. It's the kind of upbeat, comfortable vibe that you would expect from a family run business who all work in a field they love. It's a clean and simplistic decorated salon without being dull. It's an upbeat feel without being overwhelming. PB House of Style is in a great location being only a couple of blocks from the beach on one of the main streets in Pacific Beach, Grand Ave. It's been a staple of the community for a decade but is also a great find for newcomers looking for a new hairstyle or look.
Dream Hair Design is all about becoming the person you dream yourself to be…at least when it comes to your hair. “If it’s dream-able, it’s achievable,” claims Staysea Hodge, owner of Dream Hair Design and variations on that motto are painted on every wall of his salon. Staysea has been cutting, designing, and doin’ do’s for the last twenty years, catering mainly to Hillcrest’s African American community in everything from weaves to highlights. The salon itself looks dreary and small from the outside. On the inside, however, it is buzzing with life and energy at each of the seven cutting stations, all of which are usually occupied simultaneously. The stylists become quick friends with the customers, joking around while they start an up-do or retouch a series of cornrows. The prices at Dream Hair Design will not break your bank: ladies can get a number of services ranging from $25.00 to $100.00 and gentlemen can walk away with their ears lowered for a handsome $10.00. Plenty of parking is available behind the store, as is a private room for hair projects that might take more than an hour or two to complete. “Whatever you want,” Staysea remarks in regards to his business, “it’s a dream a way.”