It's been a year since the Bay Area's first shelter-in-place orders went into effect—that means 12 months of nail-biting, junk food–eating, and Netflix-binging. No wonder your body feels lethargic and your neck is in knots. You need a massage!
While many top spas remain temporarily closed due to Covid-19, massage therapy is once again kosher as counties return to the red and even orange tiers of pandemic restrictions. Several spas are open for limited services, including many of our longtime favorites. Here's where to get kneaded in the Bay Area now.
Kabuki Springs & Spa
If you're in the mood for Kabuki's signature communal bathing experience, too bad so sad—the baths, saunas, and steam rooms are temporarily closed due to Covid-19. But don't fret, you can still book one of the spa's eclectic 50-minute massages ($120-$150) including shiatsu, CBD, Swedish, deep pressure, pre-natal, and combos with cupping, poultices, and foot scrubs. // 1750 Geary Blvd. (Japantown), kabukisprings.com
Suchada Thai Massage
We're all for the lavish, luxurious spa massage experience—the oils, the heated beds, those hot stones, and gentle hands. But at the end of an average work week, when we're wearing our shoulders as earrings and our bank accounts won't quite cover pampering at a chichi hotel spa, we need something down and dirty. In such dire moments, we go straight to Suchada Thai Massage, where we can have a 90-minute
beatdown rubdown that leaves us feeling like jello. Always budget-friendly, the treatments are currently even more so with special buck-a-minute pandemic pricing (11am to 4pm Monday through Thursday). If at any point you feel that your therapist is definitely about to break your arm/leg/back/neck, that's normal. Just keep breathing. —C.H. // Three locations in SF; suchadathaimassage.com
Michelle Bravo, founder of EOS Massage, has a few gifts to share. She is highly skilled in such divergent practices as lymphatic drainage massage, aromatherapy, and life coaching. With a holistic approach to healing, Bravo whips our minds and muscles into shape in no time with treatments that include decoding our star charts and untangling neck knots. But it's that detoxifying lymphatic treatment ($200/60 minutes) that is a must, especially after 12 months of couching it during quarantine. // 450 Sutter St., Suite 2011 (Union Square), eosmassage.com
Follow up your hike in the Presidio with a treatment at this 15-year-old serene retreat where the lengthy menu of decadent services includes not just several types of massage—think gua sha, shiatsu, acumassage, Swedish, lymphatic and, of course, deep tissue—but also a variety of healing add-ons including reiki, acupuncture, hydrafacials, and waxing. Come to think of it, you should make a day of it. // 1161 Gorgas Ave. (Presidio), senspa.com
San Francisco spa connoisseurs will miss International Orange's OG Pacific Heights location, which has sadly closed after 18 years due to the pandemic. On the bright side, you can think of the newer sunny space at Marin Country Mart as just another decadent reason to take the ferry across the bay. Signature, deep tissue, and pre- and post-natal massages are always on offer, but times are stressful so why not splurge on the In Fiore massage ($170/60 minutes), which utilizes products from SF's beloved botanical beauty line. Expect Covid-era protocols including contactless check-in and HEPA air filters and purifiers. Be sure to allow ample time to soak up some rays on the outdoor deck and to peruse top-notch skincare—from brands including Vintner's Daughter, Goop, and IO's own Essentials—in the spa shop before you head out. // 2421 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 43 (Larkspur), internationalorange.com
Accor, the hotel group behind Berkeley's iconic Claremont Club & Spa, has tapped a team of experts to develop its Covid-safe protocols so we can all relax and enjoy our treatments at this Forbes Four-Star Award–winning spa. While the locker rooms and showers remain temporarily closed, 50- and 80-minute deep tissue and therapeutic massages are on offer Fridays through Sundays. If you're hoping for a dip in the famous pool, advance reservations are required for now. // 41 Tunnel Road (Berkeley), fairmont.com
Bodywork by Bethiah
Few of us humans are as intimately acquainted with our bodies—their structure and the way they move—as the dancers among us. When Bethiah Rosa was forced to suspend her dance career due to injury, she turned to massage not just for healing but also for her next act. Now, from her private studio in Oakland's Grand Lake neighborhood, Rosa is bestowing her gifts upon us with Swedish and deep tissue massages, offered in 60-, 75-, and 90-minute sessions ($125-$185); for an extra fee, she'll come to your home. Interested in reiki? She offers the Japanese energy healing modality in community sessions on the first Wednesday of the month as well as remote Zoom sessions. // 3654 Grand Ave. (Oakland), bodyworkbybethiah.com
For relaxing afternoons in the Town, Piedmont Springs is a preferred destination thanks to its four private outdoor hot tub sanctuaries. Melt your problems away during a one-hour steamy session for up to four people, then team it with a massage for ultimate R&R. Acupressure, Swedish, shiatsu, and sports massages are offered in 30-, 60-, and 75-minute treatments ($60-$115). // 3939 Piedmont Ave. (Oakland), piedmontsprings.com
Sense Spa at Rosewood Sand Hill
In a time when travel isn't so much on the table, a day trip to Menlo Park's Sense Spa, inside the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel, checks the box for a much-needed escape. Ninety-minute massages are offered in Swedish, deep tissue, and pre-natal modalities, and all the organic lotions and potions are as luxe and aromatic as you like. Get your tips and toes in order for spring by finishing your spa day with a manicure and/or pedicure using nail care products from Margaret Dabbs of London. // Rosewood Sand Hill, 2825 Sand Hill Rd. (Menlo Park), rosewoodhotels.com