The Petit Spa at The Jefferson Hotel, Washington, D.C.
Small things done in great ways are worth making a big deal about. A prime example is The Petit Spa in Washington, DC. Tucked away on the second floor of the enchanting Jefferson Hotel in the heart of the city, The Petit Spa is all you’d expect from a luxury boutique establishment, plus everything more.
Whether staying at the hotel for a week or merely for two hours in the spa, you will feel not only like an honored guest at The Jefferson, but like an old friend. The staff is much more than courteous. They’re warm, welcoming, and charming; in every way reflective of the hotel’s devotion to customer service.
I had the good fortune of visiting The Jefferson on a recent December afternoon, stopping through to visit The Petit Spa. After admiring the splendor of the hotel lobby with its glass ceiling, black and white marbled floor, early American murals, and gold accents, I checked in with the receptionist and soon enjoyed an unexpected personal escort up to the spa.
My escort was Caroline, my first therapist of the day. With her kind eyes and easy smiles, I found myself naturally relaxing in her presence. Our conversation during the journey to the spa gave me a sense of familiarity with her, which proved comforting when it came time for my treatment.
Upon entering the spa, decorated in soothing touches of white woodwork, marbled floors, and ivory curtains, I found a seat on the little luxury couch and enjoyed a glass of sparkling citrus-peach water. The spa is so “petit” that there is no reception, rather the manager conducts all business from behind a curtained off corner of the spa. With literally no room for pretention here, I actually found the lack of personal space surprisingly cozy. You know what else was cozy? The seldom encountered, yet often hoped for terrycloth spa slippers. Goodbye, hard plastic spa sandals.
Soon I followed Caroline past the beautiful display of skincare products and out of the spa to a private chamber at the end of the hotel hallway, complete with restroom and massage room. The most beautiful fresco-like paintings adorned the walls and I easily forgot that I was in the center of DC.
My Monticello Aromatherapy Massage began with a luxurious inhalation of essential oils. Detecting everything from lavender to chamomile to eucalyptus, I found the scents useful for unwinding and clearing the head. What followed was an extraordinary hour long massage with Monticello cherry oil – oil I’ve never before encountered in a massage. It instantly conjured up childhood memories of chapstick overdose. I’m sure, like most kids, I used to eat the red cherry stuff with relish.
The massage included an impressive amount of deep thumb kneading, always in the right places with just the perfect degree of pressure. Also notable was hip and rib work, somewhat uncommon in a normal signature massage yet so beneficial. My therapist’s background was in “body work” and I appreciated how she approached my body as a healer and not just as a relaxation therapist. She spent a generous amount of time on the specific areas that I requested and I was entirely pleased with the results.
With nearly an hour to pass until my next treatment, the Refine & Refresh Citrus Facial, you can imagine my surprise when a happy woman with a huge personality entered the spa, found me on the couch, and announced, “Hi! I’m Jai, and I’ll be doing your facial this afternoon. I want to know allllll about your skin. Do you mind if we start early so I can spend more time with you?” Do I mind? Where have you been all my life?!
Epic. My facial was the stuff spa legends are made of. What was supposed to be a 30 minute treatment was an unrushed, 50 minutes of focused attention. Jai customized every part of the facial for my skin; retreating time and again to her cabinet of goodies to retrieve the products she knew would benefit me most.
My facial included a cream microdermabrasion, vitamin C serum, extractions, a treatment of high frequency ultra violet light to kill bacteria, an antioxidant wine mask, French eye cream, and a host of other dreamy products massaged into my skin. Having sensitive skin, I’ve often experienced a break out following facials in the past. Not this one. It’s been a week since this facial and my skin is still raving about Jai.
While checking out, the charming French spa manager spoiled me with a beautiful bag of not one -but five skincare samples from their French skincare line, Darphin. These lovely ladies had no idea that I was reviewing their spa, and yet they absolutely laid out the red carpet for me as their guest.
Don’t let the title of “Petit” frighten you from considering this spa. The treasure of this experience is found in its exclusivity, catering only to a select few guests at a time. If you happen to be one of the lucky few with a spa reservation, know that everything about your treatments will be custom tailored specifically for you. If the devil is in the details, so is luxury. The Petit Spa may be small but the quality is grand. I unreservedly give this spa five stars.
Note: This spa is exclusive and you must call ahead to get the best treatment availability. The most popular massage is their Couture Massage, which lets you pick the technique, smells, and duration of your massage. The spa is very popular for couples’ occasions and does include treatment rooms for two.