Self-care is any activity we do to help improve our mental, emotional and physical health. As a writer, mom, and small business owner, I often bump self-care down on my deep “to do” list by other “more important” things. But really, when I don’t take care of myself, my health suffers and I’m not my best at work, as a parent, wife or friend. As the well-known author Anne Lamott has written, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Thankfully, there are a number of excellent Bellingham and Whatcom County spas available offering a wide variety of therapies and treatments that help people take care of themselves.
Whether you’re on vacation, getting yourself a well-deserved birthday present, celebrating a successful work project or like me, are just overdue for a break–there’s a spa that’s right for you.
When I worked 50- to 60-hour work weeks, I needed my monthly massage. Massage has also helped me recover from knee surgery and relieved back pain and shoulder and neck tension of long hours at my desk. But an afternoon at the spa isn’t just for stress relief. For some, its the perfect way to begin a vacation. Sitting in the sauna on the first day of vacation brings me into the moment so I can let go of past tension and truly enjoy my free time.
My friends choose a massage or facial to soothe and recover after a big race. Facials, wraps and other skin treatments can leave your skin feeling healthy and bright for your wedding, interview or as a way to treat yourself. When I’m asked what I’d like as a birthday, Mother’s Day or holiday present, a spa treatment is always the first idea that pops into my head. Paired with a long walk, a few hours at the spa is my favorite way to practice self-care.
There are literally hundreds of high quality, experienced massage therapists in Whatcom County. We are lucky that way because there are schools in our area. I couldn’t include them all in this single post. But I’ve rounded up this list of Bellingham and Whatcom County spas available (in alphabetical order) to help you recharge and make your day special. My apologies to anyone I’ve left out.
Obviously, I haven’t been able to experience each treatment they offer (but I’ll keep trying). Treatments and prices change regularly, so be sure to visit the spa website for the latest information before booking your appointment. Many accept walk-ins to fill cancellations, but you’re better off booking in advance to ensure you get exactly what you need. Also watch for sales, special offers, and off-peak discounts when you have the luxury.
Located in the beautiful, historic Fairhaven district, Bella Body and Sol offers massage, scrubs and wraps as well as a range of facials. What makes them unique is their D-Light Therapy tanning units. According to Bella, “D-Light Units break down our body’s cholesterol and convert it into much needed Vitamin D through pure UVB Rays. These units also use Infrared Light Technology that encourage our bodies to produce Collagen to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and Blue Light Therapy helps with many other skin irritants like acne and eczema.” Their units are noted as EMF Radiation-free.
Their services also include waxing, spray tanning, brow and lash and makeup services. They also offer their own line of locally made, all natural and organic skin care, cosmetics and body care products.
I’m most excited to try the Bella Glow from Head to Toe package that includes the Bella express facial & body scrub and the herbal detox and firming facial for just $95 each.
I have the most experience with Blessings Salon Spa in Fairhaven. My family gives me the 90-minute facial as a gift. I like to arrive early to sit in the steam or dry sauna before my treatment. I also sit and relax in their bay-view fireplace retreat room.
It is an Aveda salon. I usually book with Kali who learned from some of the greats before settling in Bellingham.
They also have a hair salon on-site and offer waxing, nails, makeup and wedding packages. Next I’d like to try their specialty: Aroma Dry Body Wrap, a dry exfoliation followed by a seaweed body wrap, scalp and face massage and foot reflexology, all customized with Aveda body care products and aromas. The 60-minute treatment is just $90.
They’re open seven days a week (except for certain holidays) and share special offers on their Facebook page. If I have time after my treatment, I wander through the Whatcom Art Market across the street, shop for a book at Village Books/Paper Dreams, grab a deli lunch at Avenue Bread or meet my gal pal for a drink at Swim Club Cocktail Bar.
Named for the protecting covering of a butterfly or moth, chrysalis is also a name for a sheltered state or stage of being or growth. The beautiful Chrysalis Inn & Spa, located within walking distance of Fairhaven, is now part of the Curio Collection by Hilton and open seven days a week.
Several of my local friends choose this spa as their regular stopping place. You should plan to arrive early to enjoy the tea lounge, steam room, showers, and relaxation lounge overlooking the outdoor ponds and waterfalls before your treatment. I’m excited to try a scrub and a peel to get that youthful butterfly glow. They’ve recently added LED light therapy to their range of services, which also includes massage, makeup, waxing and nail care services.
Much more than a spa, the Chrysalis Inn also has beautiful rooms, many with a view of Bellingham Bay. You can grab a bite after your treatment at their restaurant and bar, Keenan’s at the Pier, which offers fresh, delicious Northwest fare. It’s adjacent to the public trail and park system so this hotel and spa can serve as headquarters for a long weekend or longer visit.
Check their Facebook page for monthly and seasonal specials, which can include add on services for as low as $10. They recommend booking your appointment two weeks in advance.
Serving Whatcom County since 1995, this Aveda Concept Salon is one of the most popular in downtown Bellingham. Aveda strives to “set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility, not just in the world of beauty, but around the world.” That comes through in the products owners Toby-Lyn and Phil Heaven use and the sustainable way they run their business. For example, they use only biodegradable cleaners, recyclable products, and serve organic coffee and tea in their business. That extends to their personal lives, in the electric car they use to commute to work and the bio-diesel RV they use for trips and travel.
This beautiful salon features an exotic Middle-Eastern inspired décor, making it easy to escape the everyday in this “oasis in an urban setting.”
You can choose from more than 14 wellness professionals and a range of services. Their Rosemary Mint Awakening Body Wrap sounds like something I would enjoy, especially at just $75 for the 60-minute treatment. I also like the sound of the Aveda Elemental Massage that includes an aroma sensory journey, hot towels, foot reflexology and a variety of massage techniques.
They offer complete hair care, licensed massage, facial treatments, body treatments, hand and foot treatments, healing therapies, waxing, and makeup artistry.
Literally surrounded by water, Semiahmoo is located at the end of a tranquil spit in Blaine, which is northern Whatcom County. Semiahmoo Resort is just 25 minutes from the Peace Arch at the U.S.-Canada border.
They are open seven days a week and often offer discounts on weekday facials and massages.
Perhaps I’ll get to try their Mother’s Day special, Mother’s Aromatic Escape, in the month of May. It includes a lavender foot soak, an uplifting aromatherapy Honeysuckle and Grapefruit Massage and cane sugar and organic oil exfoliating Jasmine and Geranium Body Polish.
Semiahmoo Spa is just one piece of this impressive resort. Set in a breath-taking location surrounded by the beauty of Semiahmoo Bay, you can also enjoy award-winning golf, spot wildlife while you stroll the beaches of nearby Semiahmoo Park, and have an amazing meal at Great Blue Heron Grill or Packers Kitchen and Bar.
My hard-working friends treat themselves to an overnight at this magical place for their anniversary each year. This is also a very popular wedding destination.
Silhouettes Salon & Spa
Located not far from Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham, Silhouettes has been offering a variety of professional services Monday through Saturday with additional appointments by request since 1983. Their services include hair, nails, barbering, skin care, waxing, sugaring, and massage in one relaxed, comfortable setting.
I’m excited to check out their Algomask Facial Treatment For Sensitive Skin. My skin is prone to inflammation and can’t handle harsh treatments so I’m curious about the thermo-cooling treatment that minimizes the appearance of redness. My girlfriend has tried the Diamond Microdermabrasion Facial Treatment which is a deep exfoliating treatment applied to the face and decollete that is followed by the Algomask treatment, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and imperfections.
This trip can be preceded or followed by some shopping at the Mall and the many stores that line Meridian Street.
If you’re a gaming fan, you might enjoy the Silver Reef Hotel, Casino and Spa. My husband and I have stayed here in the hotel as a getaway when our twins were young. I’ve also stayed for charity events and conferences as well. During my stays I took advantage of the swimming pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna and fitness center. I also got a relaxing massage. Their services include massage, body and facial treatments, waxing and nails.
Their recent Island Escape Facial includes a coconut and papaya enzyme treatment, followed by a purifying seaweed mask with head, neck, and shoulder massages. They offer a Reef Rewards membership that allows you to receive 15% off all spa products and services excluding spa packages and sale merchandise.
Gentlemen don’t have to miss out either because they offer “Just for Men” treatments that include facials, hand and foot treatments and waxing.
One of the things I’ve always loved about the bath at home, and swimming for that matter, was the peacefulness. To find true escape, try something new and give float therapy at try. Although they’ve been specializing in massage since 2002, this business added the “and Float” to their business in 2015 with a move to the lovely Bellwether complex. In addition to traditional and therapeutic massage, float therapy is a relaxing and fun way to reduce tension and stress accumulated in the body.
“Giving your body a break from gravity’s hold can be transforming. The lack of stimulation allows the occupied parts of your mind and body to completely focus elsewhere.”
My hard-working friend treats herself to a float at least once a month. This is one way to experience ultimate stillness, reaching a level of relaxation you may have never experienced before.
To make a trip of it, you can stay at the beautiful Hotel Bellwether next door, walk the nearby marina and Zuanich Point Park and enjoy Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill.
Open daily, Still Life also accepts a range of insurance for injury-related therapy.
Also located in the lovely Bellwether complex in Bellingham, Zazen Salon and Spa is a full service salon and spa. Their services include haircuts and color, Brazilian blowouts, facials, peels, waxing, massage, couples massage, manicures and pedicures.
I’d like to try the Zazen Signature Jade Stone Massage. Jade stones supposedly have healing properties known to reduce inflammation, increase circulation and release toxins. They also work to relieve muscle tension and alleviate pain without discomfort.
Be sure to check for monthly specials on their website.
“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.” –Katie Reed
I hope this list of Bellingham and Whatcom County spas has inspired you to schedule a little time for yourself. Whether to recharge, celebrate or heal, be sure to take care of yourself as well as you care for others.