I’m sure there’s a writer in Portland who’s just discovered, like, the Brooklyn Flea or cronuts or something, and is writing a blog post about how amazing it is, but—latecomers and tourists still count for something, right?
I’m obsessed with spas, not least because I am the owner/operator of two shoulders that are so tight that I can’t straighten my arms. (Even my parents, who are pretty hard to interest in things like this, were like: “That’s weird.”) My shoulders are so tight that when yoga teachers ask if “anyone in the room has an injury,” I have to raise my (crooked) arm and explain the whole situation so they don’t waste their time trying to explain to me how to fix my downward dog. (Spoiler: I can’t!)
The problem with spas, of course, is that they are entirely too expensive, unless you have the time to figure out for yourself which inexpensive ones are great and which inexpensive ones are sort of more like prostitution places. (Unfortunately, they can look quite similar from the outside.) For example, I’m still looking for a place with affordable, non-super-special-occasion massages in New York, where I’ve lived since I was 18. (My super-special-occasion place in NYC is the Trump SoHo, which is unbelievably cheesy and which I only went to in the first place for a story.) I love International Orange in San Francisco, but it’s (a) not like extreeeemely cheap and (b) problematic in that I live 10 hours away from it (by plane.)
Loyly is even farther (er, I think), but I happened to be in Portland two weeks ago, and it had come highly recommended. And, I am both happy and sad to say, it is my new favorite place in the world. This, to me, is exactly how a spa should be: not a one-percenter temple to overwrought luxury where people, staff and clients alike, are forbidden to speak above a reverential whisper, but—yes!—a clean and friendly and therapeutic place where things smell nice. I mean: That should not be too much to ask for. Here, for example, is the annoying Trump SoHo spa “menu.” I did a search just to double-check—and there’s not a single price in it. (“Because if you have to ask, ‘How much….’”) Lord, seriously, give me strength, because this is not how the world should be. It should be more like Loyly, where you can get a massage, a facial, and time in the steam room/sauna for under $100.
Forget the politics, and there’s just this. All people really want at a spa—unless you are going for the weird reverence and the bowing and all that—is to feel nice, and like you’re not being robbed. Paying lots of money is no guarantee of that, I’ve found. My own, under-$100 massage at Loyly was one of the best I ever had, and because I’ve had some pretty pricey ones on the job, I can say with authority that it was world-class. The therapist’s name was Kerrie. If I lived in Portland, I wouldn’t even say her name aloud, because I’d be too freaked out that she’d get all booked up. I told someone that if Loyly was in Brooklyn I’d go every week, but the reality is that if it was in Brooklyn, no one would be able to get an appointment between now and December 2015.
I’m sure anyone in Portland reading this has known about Loyly for ages, so I guess I’m writing this for anyone visiting: Go, immediately. And when you Portlanders come to Brooklyn, let me recommend this place called the Flea.
2713 SE 21st Ave