I couldn’t have been more excited for the party. The theme: Dark Circus. The dress: A bone-corset bodice above a poufy skirt of black tulle. The hair, makeup and nails: Antoine du Chez. In other words: perfect.
Antoine du Chez is a salon and spa in Cherry Creek, one of the best tourist areas of Denver, Colorado, known for its top-notch boutiques, excellent mall, fine dining and lovely walking district. Right in the heart of Cherry Creek lies this spa, known as one of the best in the state for more than 45 years. I was about to learn why firsthand.
I decided to check out Antoine du Chez after hearing so much talk about it, and the special date night with my husband was a great excuse. His tattoo shop, Surfbilly Tattoo, had been asked to do temporary and Sharpie “tattoos” in one of the tents at the circus-themed party at the Doubletree’s Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver. As a busy working mom, I wanted to seize the opportunity for a night on the town with my husband — and also make a great impression on the guests at the hotel, as a reflection of my husband’s upscale, custom art business.
I enjoyed the walk through Cherry Creek, past tempting boutique windows and bustling patios of diners, until I found the salon and spa: just one tiny door, easy to miss. I opened the door and was shocked by what I found: a winding staircase leading up, up, up, to a massive, sprawling, 9,300-square-foot bustling spa universe, stretching out above the businesses below with bright windows overlooking the streets.
The spa is connected with the JW Marriott Denver at Cherry Creek. Order lunch or dinner to be delivered to the spa through the hotel’s room service. You don’t need to bring your wallet; just bill your services to your room. Go straight from the hotel to the spa, taking the elevator, without having to go out on the streets.
Unlike many other hotel spas, Antoine du Chez is easy to get an appointment at, even at the last minute, because of its large staff. This is a full-service spa is proud of its experienced staff, the likes of which you rarely can find in a hotel spa.
I was greeted by a cheerful front desk, running like clockwork; I was immediately whisked away to the small but elegant locker room, where I changed into a fluffy white robe.
Like a regular spa, Antoine du Chez offers facials (such as “anti-gravity” facial), massage, nail care and even reflexology. But it goes beyond the traditional spa menu, with a makeup application and a full hair salon — one of the best in the state.
Whereas many times before I have left a spa looking, well, only fit to head straight home (especially after some kinds of facial treatments!), I could walk out of this spa looking and feeling my absolute best. The perfect start to a big date night, a wedding, girl’s night out, bachelorette party, fall formals, homecoming or those big holiday parties coming right around the corner.
My first stop was a hair wash, blow-out and style with Janelle — and the experience completely transformed how I do my hair now. Janelle is the kind of stylist I’ve been looking for my whole life: brilliant, well trained and eager to offer suggestions and teach the client tricks to bring home.
Janelle taught me a clever way to divide up my thick, naturally curly hair to blow it out most easily. Then she taught me a slightly different way to curl it, which was much more modern than what I’d been doing. I have done my hair this way ever since I left.
She also suggested I try “balayage” coloring, or hand-painting natural-looking highlights into your hair, instead of foil highlighting. It is now on my must-do list for fall, and I can’t imagine going to anyone other than Janelle.
“One of the No. 1 reasons people leave their stylist is they’re tired of getting the same service over and over again,” says Antoine du Chez’s owner and president, Christy Fitzpatrick.
That’s why her stylists keep up-to-date with the newest trends and styles — to freshen up your look. In fact, she says, “That’s why we’re here: to help set the trends and keep guests moving forward.”
Antoine du Chez uses Kerastase products, which are only permitted into select salons after a rigorous approval process, with a standards checklist. The products left my hair feeling smoother and looking healthier than it ever has looked before.
Next, I received a shellac manicure with Brandi. Like many clients, I had never tried shellac before, but shellac’s popularity is surging, Fitzpatrick says. When you first started seeing it in salons about three years ago, about 10 to 20 percent of Antoine du Chez’s guests switched to shellac.
“Now, we do twice as many shellac services as regular services,” Fitzpatrick says. “I think regular polish is going to become obsolete.”
The reason is in the performance. Shellac does not chip. It looks perfect and shiny as long as you leave it on. It simply grows out with your nail, and you need to replace it every two weeks or so, depending on how quickly your nails grow.
Shellac’s color options continue to grow, too — about six new colors every season, although I just went with a deep red; I always go red.
I was amazed by how beautiful my nails looked, and they looked shiny and new until they grew out several weeks later. The promises were true.
The final touch for my big date night was a professional makeup application with Jolene. Antoine du Chez uses the Glo mineral makeup line, which blends luxury with skin health. Glo combines pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, minerals and antioxidants to leave your skin looking and feeling better. In a high altitude like Colorado, the UV protection is welcomed.
Mineral makeup feels lighter and looks more natural that many other lines, so it looks good while being good for your skin.
Jolene picked beautiful, cool purples for my eyes and lips, lovely colors for fall. I fell so in love with my gloss that I had to pick up my own tube.
The final product
When I was done with my three treatments, I felt and looked amazing. As a bonus, the time relaxing in the chairs had unwound my mind and helped me mentally prepare for the fun night ahead.
I love the idea of a one-stop spa and salon.
“You can get everything done here,” says Fitzpatrick. “If you need to get your brows waxed and a massage, nails and a haircut, you can do that. You don’t have to shop hop.”