There's nothing like having a rubdown delivered to your doorstep, except maybe having a couple's rubdown delivered to your doorstep. If that sounds nice, you might want to give Soothe a try.
If you're not in a couple and feel weird about having a dual massage with your roommate or biffle, good news: The massage delivery company rides solo as well.
Based in Los Angeles, Soothe founder Merlin Kauffman thought of the idea after a long flight. "I was traveling and getting off a plane in a city I'd never been to at 7 p.m., and all spas were either booked or closed," he says. "I needed one more than ever at that point, and so I thought, How great would it be if someone could come to me at the hotel?"
Frustrated by the fact that spas end up taking a large portion of the fee for an hour of someone else's work, he decided to do something about it.
"Eventually, I spoke to enough therapists and came to find that from a $130 massage, the average they'd go home with was $15 to $25," he says. "I thought, How can I deliver an amazing value for the consumer, cut out the greedy spa middleman, and give the massage therapist a big share of the money?" The answer was born in September 2013. "That's when we did our first massage."
When it came time to expand to a second city, Miami made sense. "[I] figured that Miami is a city that cherishes its lifestyle, and people in Miami definitely enjoy massages. It's a very jet-set crowd." Case in point: Most of Soothe's clients are hotel guests.
So what sets Soothe apart from the better-known massage delivery app, Zeel? According to Kauffman, it's exclusivity. "We actually handpick our therapists and turn down about 50 percent of applicants." There are also no hidden fees, and gratuity isn't automatically added. "When we say we charged $99 for an hour, it's $99 for an hour," Kauffman says. Zeel, for example, tacks on 18 percent gratuity after you've booked your massage.
Hearing that sales pitch, I decided Soothe was worth a try.
I found the app to be sort of glitchy. After closing it three times while trying to choose the type of massage (you can go for deep tissue, Swedish, sports, or couple), I finally just went to the website, which was also annoyingly glitchy. The time was 5:30 p.m., yet I was able to schedule a massage for 4 p.m.
The booking was immediately followed by a call because the time had passed. At that point, I told them I just wanted the next available therapist (male or female). True to its promise, a therapist arrived an hour and seven minutes later (understandable considering there was crazy boat show traffic).
Ariam, a freelance massage therapist, arrived at my apartment. Aside from working for Soothe, he gives a hand to Exhale at Loews and Croydon Rose, as well as tending to his own private client list. Ready to work, he arrived with a table, oils, and a selection of music (although I set up my own). The control of your surroundings -- music, lighting, temperature -- is likely the best thing about getting a rubdown in the comfort of your own home. That and the fact that once you're done, you have to go nowhere, except maybe to your fridge for a bottle of vino and then your couch. For me, it was the perfect end to a workweek. The only negative: 90 minutes went by way too fast.
As for the massage itself, I tried the sports one, which is a fusion of Swedish and deep tissue combined with gentle stretching. Even when it hurt, it was a good kind of pain -- it loosened all the knots and released all the built-up tension.
Soothe is available seven days a week -- including holidays -- from 9 a.m. to midnight, so there's no reason you should ever again feel stressed out about getting a massage, unless you have to brave Miami traffic.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha
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