Star of Texas

The Stoneleigh Court Hotel, which first opened its doors in 1923, is located on quaint Maple Avenue in Uptown Dallas. Known as a gathering place for the city's elite, this luxurious boutique hotel once served as a hot spot for luminary guests, including Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Elvis Presley and artist Andy Warhol. Reopened in March after a $36 million renovation and restoration, the hotel now boasts a new name, The Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa, as well as The Spa at The Stoneleigh, a 5,200-square-foot haven for hotel guests and locals looking for a relaxing retreat. "The legacy of The Stoneleigh Hotel and the fact that there has never been a spa is really exciting," says spa director Terri Beckham. "The spa adds to the hotel's wonderful history with an entirely new and different venue for guests to enjoy."

The hotel's retro entrance pays tribute to its original structure and history.
The hotel's retro entrance pays tribute to its original structure and history.

In addition to making the spa an ideal place for pampering and relaxation, Beckham strives to ensure that it is also a place where guests can receive topnotch customer service and personal attention. One way she ensures this is by personally greeting guests as they enter and leave the spa. "Many large spas today have gone away from that personal connection that used to be evident at spas," says Beckham. "Here we've created a lovely upscale spa boutique that is not at all lacking in quality of services and options but stands out because we have amped up the high-touch nature of each guest's experience."

Female clients are encouraged to sit back and relax before and after treatments in the women's relaxation lounge.
Female clients are encouraged to sit back and relax before and after treatments in the women's relaxation lounge.

Spa-goers feel right at home from the time they step foot into the spa to when they leave. Because the spa is located in the hotel's basement, clients automatically feel relaxed and secluded from everyday stresses. "It doesn't matter what is going on outside, when clients step foot down here they enter an imaginary place of sorts," says Beckham.

Flowers provide decorations to the lounge and complement the designs on the curtains.
Flowers provide decorations to the lounge and complement the designs on the curtains.

Because the hotel's renovation conserved many aspects of its original space, the spa was created with this history in mind. Designed by ForrestPerkins, a Dallas-based interior design firm, the spa features subtle lighting throughout, bamboo flooring, and a muted and subdued jewel-tone color palette of soft aquamarine, taupe, and rose. Six private treatment rooms, including a Duet Suite and wet room with hydrotherapy tubs and a dry sauna, make up the spa. The Duet Suite is ideal for oft-requested side-by-side treatments. "We call it the Duet Suite because even though we do couples' massages, we also see a lot of girlfriends and mothers and daughters who request treatments together," says Beckham. "To me, the term 'couples' room' is a misnomer."

Clients seeking side-by-side treatments are led to the Duet Suite, complete with a hydrotherapy tub.
Clients seeking side-by-side treatments are led to the Duet Suite, complete with a hydrotherapy tub.

The relaxation rooms are another luxe relaxation location. These separate men's and women's rooms feature decor that is intended to cater to the different needs of men and women. While the women's relaxation room features plush chairs and dim lighting, the men's area features flat-screen televisions and wireless headphones in a more masculine decor. "We noticed that men get fidgety in traditional relaxation rooms," says Beckham. "We made this relaxation room so that men could kick back and relax while watching the news and weather."

Even guests without spa appointments can enjoy the spa's sauna for a small fee.
Even guests without spa appointments can enjoy the spa's sauna for a small fee.

The menu is equally accommodating to the needs of all spa-goers. Says Beckham, "I really wanted to make sure that when we designed the spa and developed the menu, they would both be ageless." Traditional and holistic spa services that use high-quality, organic ingredients can be found on the menu. Highlights include the Stoneleigh Luxe Deep Tissue Massage ($115, 50 minutes; $150, 80 minutes) and Therapeutic Hot Stone Treatment ($110, 50 minutes; $145, 80 minutes), two popular services. A new concept to the area is Ayurveda, which Beckham decided to introduce to the menu by incorporating it into several specialty therapies, including the Dosha Balancing Massage ($135, 50 minutes).

All 22 part-time employees, including the receptionists, are required to understand and be knowledgeable about available treatments. "We need to be competent on what we are recommending to people," says Beckham. "We aren't doctors, but we are definitely spiritual guidance counselors." While most clients are open to recommendations by the spa's staff, the most popular service on the menu is the Jet Setter Recovery RX ($110, 50 minutes; $145, 80 minutes), a massage that helps combat fatigue, dryness, and imbalance from traveling and a favorite among the hotel's business travelers. "We combined some of the hot stone principles with traditional massage," says Beckham. Large warm stones are placed under the clavicle, while the guest receives a light-to medium-pressure massage. "Because neither a deep tissue or a hot stone massage were quite enough relief after traveling, I mixed the two together, and guests seem to love it," says Beckham.

The personal attention continues in the treatment room, where guests can customize their therapies and even change them if they are not comfortable. After clients are led back to the relaxation room following their treatments, they experience the spa's Honey Ritual, which consists of a warm glass of water with drops of honey instead of the traditional glass of cold water. "Spa-goers are often very disoriented after treatments, so we felt it was good to get some sugar back in their bodies," says Beckham.

Beckham was equally thoughtful in choosing the spa's product lines. She selected B. Kamins Chemist, Davi, éminence Organic Skin Care, Sonya Dakar, SpaRitual, and Tara Spa Therapy based on their effectiveness and their natural ingredients. "I made sure to look at every single ingredient found in the products we use during treatments and for retail," she adds. "The skin is an organ that absorbs everything that is put on it, so I believe we are responsible for what we choose to put on our clients. We take that very seriously."

Beckham also only chose lines that have owners who are actively involved in backing them. "I want to be able to personally talk to the owner of the company," says Beckham. "I want our clients to know we have a personal relationship with all the product lines available here." To further demonstrate the spa's commitment to quality, she plans to host spa dinners called the "Art of Spaing," during which select spa aficionados can meet with spa visionaries to talk and give their opinions on treatments and products. Clients appreciate the care taken in choosing these lines, as well as the quality of the products, which is reflected in the large percentage of retail sales. "Clients know we are putting products on their skin that are good for them," says Beckham.

Client satisfaction is important to Beckham, because it means a greater rate of return clients and helps attract new guests via word-of-mouth. While enticing hotel guests and locals has been the biggest challenge because of the spa's newness and interior location, Beckham is satisfied with the success of the spa to date and plans to continue tweaking the service menu, partnering with new product lines, and most of all listening to guests. "We have a book that guests can comment in, and we've noticed that most comments are about how special we made them feel here," says Beckham. "To me, I think those personal touches are intangible and cannot be written in a business plan. It is that very subtle nurturing and genuineness that we aim to give each and every guest."

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