Pretty in the City – A Surprising Strip Mall Spa

“What would you like? We’ve got complimentary green tea, apple or orange juice, white, red, or blush wine,” said the exceedingly friendly blonde lady. From the minute I entered the Aqua Day Spa, an unassuming establishment tucked way in the back of the Shoppes of Killian in Kendall, I felt pampered and welcome. How refreshing!

My glass of blush was elegantly served with cookies (how did they know I was a fool for Pirouline?), and while I waited for my waxing appointment, I had time to drink in the ambiance as well as the wine. The Aqua Day Spa is bedecked in the color range you’d expect – all peaceful oceanic tones here. The owners have made the tiny front room seem larger with mirrors.

As I sipped and stared around, two very attentive pedicurists went to town sloughing the feet of their customers. “Here, let me put this aromatherapy pillow behind your neck,” offered the blonde. Oooh. The pillow was warm, curved to fit the shape of my neck, and smelled like lavendar and vanilla. I was loving this place and I hadn’t even had a service yet!

Aqua aims to offer the kind of fancy treatment you can expect at any South Beach spa, for the kind of price you wouldn’t mind paying at a strip mall in Kendall. The massages you might shell out beaucoup bucks for elsewhere cost less than $100 here. Ear candling costs $40, a bargain compared to the $80 we were quoted in the Gables. A “lunchtime facelift” will set you back all of $95. Paraffin treatments are $20. And the ever-popular bikini wax is a mere $25. Not bad, not bad at all. I decided to go for the armpits, which were admittedly out of control at the time. Luz, our lady in waiting, didn’t bat an eyelid.

She ushered me down the long dark hallway into an adjoining room outfitted with a special spa bed. “Don’t mind me, I tend to cry when I wax. It’s just an involuntary response,” I told her. “You no cry with me,” she assured. And shockingly, she was right! Maybe it was the kind of wax she used – it’s called Satin Smooth, a white cream variety intended for sensitive skin. Maybe it was the soothing music – what is that, Enigma? But not a tear was shed that afternoon. And when the bill came – $18? That’s it? – I couldn’t help but smile. Aqua Day Spa, I’ll be back. And soon! -- Patrice Yursik

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