Tucked away on Auckland's luxury shopping strip, Queen Street, is a boutique spa that is also a one stop beauty shop. As well as stocking a full range of skincare, cosmetics and fragrances, the Elizabeth Arden Boutique also offers a range of beauty services. Including manicures, hot stone massage, brow and lash grooming, and in hot demand, the oxygen blast face refresher, known as SOHO2. A blend of minerals and hyaluronic acid, is sprayed onto the skin, ideal before makeup, or for that special night out. And the Glamcor a high tech makeover. Where you can record your makeup lesson, or take a selfie with a selection of flattering lighting, so you can refer to your lesson step-by-step at a later date. The list goes on of beauty services, so in the name of research, I spent an afternoon at this Boutique Spa trialling some the services on offer, here's my pick from an impressive menu.
Essential Shellac Manicure
It’s the one beauty duty I could never give up. Shiny, well lacquer nails for a fortnight saves me precious time in the grooming skates. Erin Larsen nail technician at the Boutique believes the secret to your Shellac manicure lasting is nail oil. “Use your Solar Oil as often as you can, keep your nails hydrated, splitting and peeling nails are dehydrated nails, and when they are dry, the Shellac shrinks and this causes it to peel or chip off." She warns "It's impossible not to expose nails to water, but the nail oil repels moisture and prevents them from drying out." The cuticle debate was a hot topic, to cut or not to cut, her advice: “Never cut the cuticles, this leads to infection and hardening of the cuticle, they should be very gently pushed back and moisturised not cut." After two coat of colour (Fedora, a rich blackberry shade) and top coat, my glossy, squoval nails were perfect for almost three weeks.
Shellac manicure, allow 60 min, cost $65.
Hot Stone Massage
After hunching over a computer for three days straight, of course, the hot stone massage jumped out on the menu. Now, I must confess, I am not a massive massage fan, especially if the therapist doesn't have her heart in it, or her touch is insipid. But, I can say, hand on heart that massage therapist Nannerl Martin is truly gifted. Your treatment starts by being cocooned in a heated bed, and then the kneading, from strong, confident hands, begins. How often should you indulge in a body massage I ask? “Every day,” says Martin with a laugh. Her advice: “Listen to your body, and make sure you treat it with massage when it is in need of some de-stressing and relaxation.” The massage is a combination of hot river stones, beeswax, laced with patchouli and lavender essential oils, along with those strong soothing healing hands. Martin worked from my feet to shoulders on both sides of my body. She believes a full body massage should include the armpits, stomach, behind the knees and the soles of the feet. “These areas help with lymphatic drainage, the instep of the foot is a good indication of what shape your stomach is in, Massaging all these parts helps eliminate toxins and rejuvenates the body." An hour under Martin's spell, I drifted from the room to the makeup station, for a quick freshen up of foundation and lipgloss, before floating home. Hot stone massage allows 60 min, costs $120 or allow 90 min, cost $150.
The Elizabeth Arden Boutique Spa 62 Queen St, open seven days, including late nights. Ph (09) 379 4869.