It’s a quiet Saturday mid-afternoon, and I find myself walking down a fairly secluded street, the occasional couple strolling languorously by. The West Portal district of San Francisco is a quaint, yet hushed area, full of cozy coffee klatches, down-home eateries and picture-perfect houses. Overall, this domestic nook is hardly where one would expect to find spa nirvana.
Fruition Day Spa is a cushy storefront establishment nestled in a quiet corner of West Portal. The spa used to be owned by the folks who run Relax Now, an uber-hip joint in the Pacific Heights neighborhood. Unlike Relax Now, which sports funky furniture and has a decidedly up-tempo vibe, Fruition is rustic and tranquil””the murmur of world music being the only interruption in the spa’s general lull.
The small waiting area is warm and comforting, festooned with chocolate lounging chairs and carpets and whitish-pink walls. I’m here for the Half Day Getaway, a package combining three of the most luxurious treatments that I’ve ever had””the Chocolate Rose Organic Facial, the Chocolate and Roses Decadence Treatment, and an aromatherapy massage. While skincare products such as Pevonia Botanica and Dermalogica line the shelves by the front desk, today’s treat will include products from Eminence Organics””a Hungarian line that contains the highest possible levels of organically grown herbs, fruits and vegetables, without any heating or hydrogenating processes.
My aesthetician Tina leads me down the taupe-colored corridor to another tiny waiting area, where I sip herbal tea and nibble at Hershey’s kisses, in delicious anticipation of my treatment. The chocolate rose facial is as soothing as it’s yummy””Tina coats my skin with creams of cocoa powder and red rose products. As she slathers cleanser, facial masque and moisturizer over my hungry pores, I’m amazed at how wonderful my normally sensitive skin feels. Even Tina’s extraction process is entirely painless and at the end of the treatment, my skin isn’t the painfully ruddy color I’m accustomed to after facials. Rather, my pores are visibly unclogged, making my face radiate with a soft glow.
When she comes back, she treats me to a facial massage, which promotes circulation and skin cell renewal and is perhaps one of the single, most relaxing and grounding spa experiences that I’ve had to date. Finally, I rinse off in the multiple-jet shower and come back to the room to find the massage table strewn in rose petals, in preparation for my jasmine and orange blossom (in other words, the serenity blend) aromatherapy massage. Her artful manipulation of my limbs suggests a familiarity with yogic postures, but I’m too relaxed to make conversation and confirm that this is so.
Fruition’s dÃ©cor is feminine, but not flashy””the treatment rooms range in shades from earthy green to regal pink. It’s an intimate space that makes one feel as if they are the only person being treated (despite the fact that the other six or so treatment rooms are usually full). Indeed, the cordial customer service is one of the spa’s winning qualities; a treatment here is likely to make you feel like you have all the time in the world (even if it’s only 60 minutes), precisely because of the loving care with which Fruition’s services are administered.
After emerging from the spa, I notice the sky is a little darker than it was when I first got here, which is no surprise””I’ve been here for four hours. I smile as I note that the streets are as secluded as they were when I arrived and my smile broadens as I walk on with the knowledge that I’m in on the city’s best-kept spa secret.