REVIEW | What makes a spa day great? I went for a 2-hour massage and facial, here's what I think

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  • Based in Sandton, Johannesburg, the DaVinci Spa offers a relaxing escape in the middle of a bustling city.
  • I enjoyed a two-hour treatment at the facility, which included a 60-minute facial and a 60-minute full-body deep tissue massage. 
  • Will I be returning to the DaVinci Spa? When I've got some extra coins to throw around and want to spoil my mom, yes.
  • But spa days remain one of those things that are a luxury to me and will probably only happen once or twice a year. 

What makes a spa treatment great?

Is it the relaxing music? The fancy snacks? The company? Or does it all come down to the masseuse and their level of experience?

These questions lingered in the back of my mind as I walked into the DaVinci Spa one Saturday afternoon. My back had more knots than a boat cruising at high speed (thank you, Joburg traffic), so I was the perfect candidate.

I should mention I had been to spas before, but it had been a while since my last trip. I made that pretty clear when I dangled the hair net in front of the therapist assigned to me with a confused look on my face. "Where does this go?" I asked embarrassingly.

"It's a hair net," Veronica laughed. I had been placed in her capable hands for the next two hours.

I was shown into a small, warm room, void of any light. Already, the experience was different to the spas I'd been to in the past. All my frugal friends out there, you know what I mean. I'm usually in bright rooms, with light seeping in and conversations echoing loudly from the reception area. Don't get me wrong, those places are pretty and allow for a fun day, but sometimes the relaxing element is disrupted by the constant, well, disruptions.

But there I was, at the DaVinci, prepping myself for the finer things in life.

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Below are the treatments I underwent:

Deep Tissue Massage 60 mins

"With a selected aromatic oil according to the client's needs including muscle pain, stress relief, relaxation or balance, this flowing massage works deep into the tension; encouraging optimum circulation."

Veronica has over a decade's experience under her belt and did a great job easing my muscle tension and getting rid of knots. 

QMS EpiGen Anti-Stress Facial 60 mins

"This facial uses a supercharged serum that helps to reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles while defending the skin around the eyes from pollutants and external aggressors. Using the QMS ceramic activating tool to help boost the skin's own detox system, this treatment contributes to a well-rested, youthful and vibrant appearance of the eyes and leaves the client feeling relaxed and refreshed."

I, the client, can confirm I did indeed feel relaxed and refreshed. 

Expect some tingling when the fruit acid cleanser is applied, though. If you've got sensitive skin, you may feel some slight discomfort here.

I have also been told the peel-off mask makes some people feel uncomfortable. This is because the mask dries to rubber-like consistency in a matter of minutes, covers the eyes completely and slightly weighs down on the face. If you have claustrophobia, this may increase feelings of anxiety during the treatment. My therapist did a great job of warning me about the sensation of the mask beforehand and also told me, weirdly enough, it's mostly men who find the treatment uncomfortable. 

The other great thing about the mask is that Veronica could look at the texture imprinted on the solidified liquid and pinpoint problematic areas in my skin. Apparently, my cheeks are really dry, and my forward is quite congested. It's always great to walk away with a bit of extra knowledge on how to take care of your skin type and to be aware of problem areas. 

DaVinci Spa
A client receiving treatment at the DaVinci Spa in Sandton, Johannesburg.

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Is it worth it?

Now, let's get down to brass tax. Are the treatments worth it?

With experiences like this, I believe it's quite difficult to judge treatments after just one session. Skincare is something we should constantly be working on, and results are usually not immediate. 

That said, I did feel quite cleansed and sparkly after my facial. I've also made sure to pay attention to my problem areas and give them some TLC. 

The massage left me feeling very relaxed, and there was a noticeable difference in muscle tension. Of course, this is where Veronica's years of experience paid off. So, when it comes to skill and how the services were delivered, I cannot fault that. 

Honestly, there are cheaper spas out there that, I'm sure, could provide similar experiences in terms of skill level, but if you want to add a touch of luxury to your day, then forking out an extra three or four hundred rands could be worth it. It's the little things like heated floors, private, quiet, darkened rooms, and heated massage tables that make all the difference. 

DaVinci Spa
Drinks at the DaVinci Spa.

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After my treatment, I took a tour of the facilities, which provided a hot tub, a lounging area, and free snacks and beverages for guests. The space is petite but well-equipped.

Will I be returning to the DaVinci Spa? When I've got some extra coin to throw around and want to spoil my mom, sure. But spa days remain one of those things that are a luxury to me and will probably only happen once or twice a year.

If you've got a bit of cash burning a hole in your pocket and would like to find a place to unwind in the city with your friends, partner, or just yourself, this could be your spot.

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