The text message I got from my husband assured me I had done something right.
It was no Shakespeare, but I knew what he was saying: He was relaxed and happy — too relaxed to find the words to express it, much less on technology. A few minutes later, another message chimed in:
“It’s as clear as pudding,” I responded.
It was exactly the response I had been hoping for when I set him up with a special spa day at Boulder, Colorado’s Dragontree holistic day spa, in honor of Father’s Day.
A spa day was a different idea for Father’s Day this year. It was unexpected — something he needed and would enjoy, but would probably never think to plan for himself.
Increasingly more men are hitting up the spa, according to the International Spa Association. Twenty years ago, men made up a mere 10 percent of the nation’s spa-goers. But that number has surged to 47 percent. Nearly half of the spa market is now men.
When my husband walked in the door after getting a facial, I realized why. He looked 10 years younger, and his face felt as smooth as our 4-year-old daughter’s (well, minus the stubble). He was glowing — and so grateful that he immediately began making dinner while I relaxed. Win-win.
The Dragontree Spa
The most important part of picking my husband’s Father’s Day treatment was picking the right spa. It had to be relaxed, yet professional and high quality. It needed to be luxurious — like a mini staycation — but not uppity, intimidating or stuffy. I wanted the experience to feel intimate and personal to him, and provide him some insight and tips to help improve his skincare for the future.
You see, my husband recently had to have several moles removed from his back; he’s only 31. So this gift was beyond simply looking and feeling better. For him — and many other men out there who take skincare for granted — this was about health and wellness, too.
I knew the perfect place to send him: the Dragontree spa in downtown Boulder.
The Dragontree is all about education (the website links to free educational resources) and natural remedies (buy exclusive tinctures in the lobby), and the atmosphere is perfect for a spa newby like my husband. The lighting is dim, the walls are painted a deep rusty maroon, decor looks ancient and minimalistic — clearly influenced by nature. It almost feels like walking through an underground cave, but in the most sophisticated, luxurious way. In two words, the facility feels peacefully sexy.
Treatments for Dad
My husband did a back-to-back treatment, starting with a deep tissue massage.
When venturing into new territory, a massage is a comfortable place to start, my husband said. Massages aren’t intimidating.
“Who doesn’t like a massage?” he said.
He received the hour-long Muscle Melt Massage, designed to relieve tension, inflammation and pain with a unique herbal liniment that he said felt simultaneously cooling and warming — “almost like Icy Hot, except natural.” The liniment is made from herb extracts and essential oils, and the deep massage deepens the relief. His therapist, Perpetua, applied the liniment to the places that were the sorest: his lower back and forearms. Too much yard work had exhausted his muscles, and this treatment came at the perfect time.
The Dragontree sells this liniment in the lobby for home use, too — highly recommended.
Following the massage, my husband received a No-Nonsense Men’s Treatment. Don’t be scared off by the word “facial.” Just think of this as a healthy way to revitalize the face — a blast of vitamins and antioxidants to repair your skin after all that time in the Colorado sun.
The therapist, Catherine, took special care to educate my husband about his skin type and offered ways he can keep it healthy, after leaving the spa. She recommended some simple, inexpensive, natural tips to help with his oily skin and keep it balanced, including a shot of pure aloe every day, to balance the skin from the inside out.
“I could tell she knew what she was talking about,” he said, after raving about how grateful he was for her advice. It resonated with him because it was not intimidating, complicated or expensive.
Plus, he said the treatment felt amazing — especially wiping the product off with warm towels.
After his facial, he was taken to the Sangha Room — one of the best and most unique features of the Dragontree Spa. In this sanctuary, he sat with his feet soaking in a “men’s aromatherapy bath,” accented with cedar and lime oil, in a large copper bowl with soft rocks on the bottom. The details matter here; lotus flowers drifted through the water. The “attentive but not pushy” therapist, Laina, offered my husband his choice of a local beer (he chose a Hazed and Infused).
He says the Sangha Room was wonderful, because after the two peaceful treatments, you don’t want to abruptly jump back into the real world. It was the perfect transition, he said. After a warm foot bath, a therapist poured chilled peppermint water on his feet to promote circulation. You can almost see your skin tighten up, he said.
Clients in Portland can also take advantage of the dry Finnish sauna, which is designed to help combat the congestion caused by Oregon’s dampness and mold. In Colorado, you can use the steam room, to help rehydrate from the dry air. Saunas also help cleanse the body of toxins, unclog pores, relax muscles, help the body overcome infections and more. Clients are also invited to try the “rain shower” before and after their treatment.
Other details that my husband appreciated were the robes and sandals, both which actually fit his extra tall stature. He said it was the most comfortable robe he’s ever worn.
“It’s very comfortable to walk in there,” my husband said. “The facial was awesome; they just do it quick and you’re done with and your skin feels great. And then you get to go relax and have a beer — which is really what a lot of guys are going to want to do on a Sunday afternoon, anyway.”
Thanks to guest contributor Aimee Heckel for allowing her husband to try out a facial for Father’s Day!