I'm not what you would call a regular spa-goer. Whenever I get a fancy-pants facial or (more infrequently) massage at a real spa, I'm always a little unsteady when entering those quiet and serene spaces (Am I going to do it wrong?) and I never remember to plan enough time to use the "extra amenities" like hot or cold whirpool baths, steam rooms, saunas, or even the showers and free toiletries. (Which Burke-Williams offers.) I have to admit, it is kinda awesome to slather on as much lotion as you like, use all the Q-tips you want, and then follow it all up with a swish of free mouthwash. If I do get facials, they tend to be in more "casual" places, like at my gym or where I get my nails done. Not always ideal, but I admit—it's less intimidating.
But recently I was invited by the Ace Agency to check out my local Burke-Williams spa as part of a pre-Mother's Day experience (two locations in the Bay Area), and I can say, without reservations, that any woman, mom or no, would love to receive the gift of a relaxing spa treatment, or better, an entire spa day.
One thing I am big on is customer service, and one thing that turns me off about some spas, (especially the fancy spa chain where I live in Silicon Valley) is that when you call to make a appointment, the people on the phone act like they can't be bothered. When you arrive, it's more of the same. It's haughty with a side of serious 'tude. No, thank you. At Burke-Williams (San Francisco location), everyone I spoke with—from the appointment schedulers to the staff in person—was warm and welcoming. This alone ensures that I will be a repeat customer.
My first treatment was a spa facial with Vitamin C peel. I absolutely love facials and have to remember to schedule them more regularly. The benefits they provide—glowy, hydrated skin; reduced fine lines—can last for a month. Lately, I have been working with my dermatologist to address some age spots (hello, aging!) and the after getting the Vitamin C peel, I could definitely see a noticeable brightness and a few days later, I noticed that my problem areas were much improved. Note that my facialist asked exactly what products I was using and what my dermatologist had recommended to ensure that the products she used on me wouldn't cause a reaction.
One thing that Burke-Williams does differently than any other spa I've been to in their 22-point massage. In the case of the facial, massaging your head, face, neck, and shoulders takes a good 10-15 minutes and it's WONDERFUL. I've never had a facial that also devoted equal attention to massage and relaxation. My facial also included a paraffin-dip hand wrap. The link notes that facials also come with a foot massage—I didn't experience that, but I wonder if it was because my next treatment was a spa pedicure.
I wish I could show you a picture of the custom spa chairs at the Burke-Williams spa, but I don't have one. Imagine sitting in your own high-tech space pod which tilts, reclines, massages and envelops you in comfort. The chairs are unlike any I've seen (and I've gotten LOTS of pedicures over the years). They seem to be built as much for the comfort of the client and the technician and that's pretty neat. The Burke-Williams pedicure comes with paraffin foot dip and more of their incredible massage. They use OPI nail polish. A week later and my toes look just as freshly polished as they did when I left the spa.
At the end of every spa visit there is always the "product hard sell" portion where the facialist or masseuse sets aside some of the products they used just in case you'd like to purchase them. Sometimes I purchase the products (the toner I use regularly was recommended to me by a facialist at my local Four Seasons—Elemis Apricot Toner—and I love it), but most often I don't. I didn't feel pressured to purchase anything Burke-Williams, but I appreciated that my facialist not only took the time to recommend some products, but wrote them down so that I could take her notes with me.
Another differentiator at Burke-Williams is that they offer memberships, kind of like a gym membership. Pay a monthly fee and receive free services and/or upgrades. Brilliant idea and surely guarantees that their clients keep coming back regularly.
I don't review anything very often on my blog—I have to really be a fan of the product or service and I also have to feel like I can make the time to really share my thoughts (something I don't have a lot of lately). But in the case of Burke-Williams, I'm delighted to have been able to experience their services and provide a thoughtful review. When it comes to Mother's Day gift possibilities, I can very heartily recommend this experience. Whether the mom in your life is into girly-girl pampering or is new to the spa scene and deserving of some relaxation, scheduling some time for her at Burke-Williams is sure to be a treat.
Tips: If you visit the San Francisco location, park in the 5th and Mission garage and use the crosswalk in the middle of Mission St. that leads directly into Bloomingdale's. Follow the signs to the 5th floor. B-W is located near the movie theaters. I appreciated that there was lots of signage to get you to the right place—that's a nice touch.
This is a sponsored post. I received the Mother's Day services gratis courtesy of Burke-Williams' PR agency, the Ace Agency. Photos courtesy Burke-Williams San Francisco.