Once he gets started, it's hard to stop Leo Blackwood from raving about The Pearl Modern Spa and Boutique.
He first went a couple of years ago after he tore up his left knee playing basketball. “What impressed me is the fact it’s not your typical spa,” says the 40-year-old Columbia resident. “The men’s locker room is kind of like a man cave — couches, a TV already on sports, a nice little mini-refrigerator with beer, water, organic juices. I’m thinking to myself, ‘This is nice.’”
As for the massage itself, Blackwood called it “absolutely incredible” — and, now that he gets one every few months, good enough to get him back on the basketball court pain-free.
Such rave reviews do not surprise Sharon Schmitz, manager of the Maple Lawn spa.
“We do a lot of stuff above and beyond to make people feel special,” Schmitz says. That would include, besides the men’s lounge, such services as shoveling the snow off people’s cars in winter, personal notes left in lockers — all that and more delivered by a warm, caring staff.
“It’s important to us that clients feel at ease, so they can fully de-stress, relax, let go of everything facing them in the outside world,” Schmitz says.
Then, of course, there is the 11,000-square-foot spa itself, which includes 13 treatment rooms, all with individual sound systems, as well as two private suites and the Akoya, a 1,2000-square-foot room that can be rented for private parties and meetings.
It’s enough to keep Leo Blackwood coming back as often as he can. “I’ve got a birthday coming up [in January], and I already plan on treating myself to a 90-minute massage,” he says.