Spa Type: Day Spa
Spa Type: Day Spa
Many spas seek to incorporate environmentally friendly aspects in their surroundings, but the Elaia Spa genuinely embraces the entire “green” philosophy. Lodged within the Hyatt at Olive 8, Seattle’s first LEED* certified hotel, the spa is ideally located in the heart of downtown - only walking distance from Pike’s Place Market, the theatre district, and top shopping destinations. Named after the Greek word for “olive,” a symbol that evokes peace and tranquility, Elaia (pronounced “eh-lay-uh”) is dedicated to using only the finest organic products in its treatments, with many ingredients sourced from the Pacific Northwest. Aware that Seattle has long been a forerunner in sustainability, I arrived at Elaia with high expectations and a fair amount of curiosity.
I felt a warm welcome as wood paneling and glowing sconces led me from the lobby’s stairs around the corner to Elaia’s entrance. The reception area was slightly over-merchandised for the small size, but such thoughts were quickly diverted by an enthusiastic greeting from the spa host. After a brief introduction to the spa, I withdrew to the locker room, which was clean and functional with a steam room and sauna. Robed and ready to relax, I meandered the short distance to the relaxation lounge, pausing to admire the stunning brown velvet-like curtains, and medieval metal link blinds that adorn the floor-to-ceiling windows. Men, if spas overly splashed in pastels have you feeling out of place, you will feel right at home in the modern, urban- meets-outdoors décor of Elaia.
The relaxation lounge was open and airy, with thickly cushioned chaise lounges and vast windows producing an array of natural light. Look too closely and you’ll realize that you’re actually overlooking a parking lot, so focus your gaze instead upon the refreshments, where you’ll discover some delicious ranch and orange honey hazelnuts that are made in-house and well worth sampling. Also offered are sinful little brownie cookies that left traces of incriminating evidence on my white robe. Partake in the brownie cookies at the risk of leaving a Hansel and Gretel like trail behind you through the spa.
I was promptly greeted by a friendly masseuse for my first treatment and led to an inviting massage room, warmly lit from a recessed ceiling. I was eager to experience the Elaia Signature Massage, which listed Swedish and Thai massage components that I enjoy. After a gentle neck and shoulder massage with organic olive oil from Oregon, my masseuse went right into the Thai inspired stretching movements. This technique places you in yoga-like poses that are held in place for a short while. If you are new to Thai massage, Elaia’s Signature massage is a good place to start because the stretching is brief and you can readily determine if this style is for you - or not. Be advised that this massage isn’t for the frail or elderly (or for anyone who has recently eaten a large meal) as you will have your knees introduced to your chin and various other body parts perhaps meeting for the first time. Remember to breathe through the stretches and I guarantee that you will experience a relaxing release of tension in the process. After an interim of stretching, a long Lomi Lomi massage followed; not the anticipated Swedish massage. The extended, light pressured strokes of the Lomi Lomi were relaxing at first, but soon the repetition teetered on monotonous and I longed for the deep kneading of a Swedish. If you are sensitive to privacy, this massage does include half naked draping at times. If this makes you uneasy, simply keep your underwear on, as many newcomers do.
Following a soothing interlude in the relaxation lounge, forgoing the tell-tale brownie cookies this time and opting for lemon water, I was punctually met by a personable esthetician for my Elaia Express Facial. Upon assessing the condition and qualities of my skin, the esthetician shared some valuable tips on ingredients that I should seek and others to avoid for my particular skin care. She was both knowledgeable and accommodating as I asked her questions throughout my treatment. My favorite part was the luxurious French white clay mask, which is indeed sourced from France and quite heavenly. Expecting a soothing face massage to follow, I was rather startled to encounter an overly rigorous application and massage of vitamin C serums. This particular facial is described as “rejuvenating,” but I’ll stick with “rigorous.” I would have preferred the arduous strokes more in my body massage and less in my facial. This preference aside, my face was glowing afterward and I left with valuable knowledge regarding my skin.
After the treatments, I made a final retreat to the peaceful pool and Jacuzzi room that adjoins the spa; though available to all hotel guests. Bordered on two sides by generous windows, this tranquil oasis invites a sense of calm with natural stone flooring and iridescent wall tiles that lend just the right hint of opulence to an otherwise serene setting.
Though not entirely contented with my treatments, I was sincerely impressed by the quality and genuine personalities of the staff at Elaia Spa. They were courteous, knowledgeable, and unpretentious. The ambiance was peaceful and soothing, but not completely luxurious. It was evident, however, that Elaia’s commitment to environmentally sustainable practices and organic ingredients is authentic and the spa setting compliments their philosophy. The Elaia Spa is a fine place to start if you aim to go “green” during your next stay in the Emerald City. Overall, I rate Elaia 3.5 stars.
* LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.”