When you picture a luxurious spa, the probably doesn’t come to mind. And that is exactly where you are missing out. Vitality Spa, located in the Buffalo Grove Fitness Center, offers a variety of spa services, including massages, waxing, pedicures, and manicures for men and women.
While it is located in a fitness center, Vitality makes it clear that you are not in a gym. The reception area is decorated in warm, soothing colors, and music plays quietly in the background.
After I checked in, I was shown to a private changing area and given a thick robe and waterproof sandals. The changing room could have been given a dreary utilitarian look, but fortunately, it didn’t; the shower stall and sink looked like it was taken from the pages of Architectural Digest. A well-stocked basket had everything you might need, but forgot to pack with you, including shampoo, soap and moisturizer.
When I had finished changing and placed my clothes in a secure locker, I shuffled over to the waiting room. While I waited to meet my massage therapist, I sipped green tea and munched on some snacks available on a table in the waiting room. With an array of travel magazines to read and a wall fountain to listen to, it became easy to forget that I was actually in a fitness center and just a few hundred feet from the hustle-and-bustle of McHenry Road and Deerfield Parkway.
Evan, my massage therapist, greeted me in the waiting room. As I was scheduled for a 50-minute Swedish massage, I was anxious to work on my problem areas. I am in training to run the , and the ever-increasing mileage has taken a toll on my legs. Evan also suggested focusing on my shoulders, as they were tense from running. It was something I hadn’t considered, but I would later find out would be an idea I’d appreciate.
At this point, I also selected an aromatherapy oil to use in my massage. I selected a scent that promoted harmony, and included French lavender, balsam firm and Spanish marjoram.
The private massage room was quiet and painted in a warm color. A heated sheepskin pad was on the massage table, and warm towels were also available. A CD player, nestled high on a shelf, played generic piano music. A single light fixture hung from the wall, and one lit candle was on the only table in the room. My robe and sandals were placed on a chair stuck in a corner.
Evan spoke only to explain how he would massage my legs, shoulders, neck, and arms. I think I responded with something intelligent, like “Mrrmph.” The massage was excellent, and it was quite possibly one of the fastest 50 minutes of my life. In that time, I did nothing more straining than move my head.
Evan was correct to focus on my shoulders. After the massage, they felt more curved, and even a bit drooped. Until I spoke with him, I hadn’t realized how tense I felt. I also felt relaxed, and my legs felt looser than they have for a long time.
I have had massages in other spas before, and I’ve never liked the feeling that some evoke, which is “Your massage is over. Now get out.” Vitality does not do that; instead, I was encouraged to return to the waiting room and have more tea or iced water before returning to the changing room. It’s a set-up that is much appreciated. After my massage, I was relaxed to the point where I did not want to leave right away. It was nice to put off checking my voicemail, if only for a few more minutes.
The unpleasant part came next: I had to pay the bill and the tip, and I only wish that I could have paid before my massage and kept a tip envelop in my robe to pay when I was finished. It’s a minor complaint, but I think it would have improved my experience to be able to leave when I was dressed instead of having to wait in line to pay the bill.
While Vitality Spa is in the Buffalo Grove Fitness Center, non-members are welcome.