RELAX, GO TO IT | Hot stone massages are among the treatments for couples and singles at V Spa.

With Spa Week, luxury facilities like V Spa seek to ‘queer eye’ us all

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

Damn those Queer Eye guys. When they emerged in 2003, they gave away some of our best secrets, teaching straight men to get in touch with their metrosexual side and embrace skin care and days spas.

Only not everyone got the message — and sometimes, not even gay men. A massage is one thing, but a facial? A mani-pedi? But even those treatments are getting their play in the male psyche.

Sarah Long, the spa manager at the Hilton Anatole’s V Spa (which opened about three years ago), says nowadays it is easier to get men in to enjoy the range of services offered.

“A lot of it is they are either scared and don’t know what to expect with a lot of guys there’s a whole stigma of going to the spa — it’s not manly,” says Long. “But absolutely men do this, once they get past that wariness at the beginning. When they are in the first time, you don’t need to give further incentives.”

In order to incentivize that first visit, however, spas like V populate their menus with services such as the “gentleman’s facial” (a lush and soothing skin treatment) to let men know some treatments are intended just for them. And with Spa Week upon us, this might be just the time to check it out.

Spa Week has been undertaken for a while, says Long, usually with twice-a-year windows (in Dallas, April and October) when spas offer a selection of their high-end services at a discount price to encourage new clients.

“We drop the price point for that week on two to three services for $50. It’s really a good opportunity to try out something new without spending a lot of money,” Long says.

This season’s offerings at V Spa include the “restorative facial,” the “revitalizing back treatment” and the “rose-scented pedicure,” all for just $50. “We do try to switch up the services we offer so those who show up every Spa Week can try something different,” Long says.

Whatever gets you in there, V Spa does provide a spectacular service. Not all spa experiences are comparable (though often their prices are). The common areas can make a difference, as well as the treatment room facilities and perks. V Spa, for instance, has a waiting area with an Asian influence (bamboo, dark woods — just like the rest of the hotel) and complimentary nuts and champagne. A technician even gives you a foot bath while wrapping your neck in a warm buckwheat pillow before you slide between high thread-count sheets on a damask-covered massage table. Such luxuries provide added value.

“Especially right now, a lot of us are cutting back, but there are things we had to keep,” Long says. It all serves the main point of a day at the spa: Escape.

“I think relaxation is a huge thing,” says Long. “You should be able to walk in and leave your life for a little bit — have that time for yourself, a moment of piece … like a mini-vacation. You need to know it is gonna be relaxing.”

That means no matter what service you buy, you get all the extras, including access to the health club and pool, the sauna and showers, the robes and cucumber water all for one price. It really can be a Calgon moment that lasts all day.

V Spa at the Hilton Anatole, 2201 Stemmons Freeway. 214-761-7800. Spa Week runs April 11–17.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.