The best places in Vancouver to get pampered and prepped for your wedding
Anyone who has tried to add a bit of bling to her nails knows it takes talent to wield that little polish brush well. Enter Christina Culver, a nail artist who has painted digits at New York Fashion Week and can take your fingertips from pretty to pretty awesome. Her designs — inspired by everything from classic fashion prints (think: geometrics and Navajo) to on-trend colours and textures (such as metallics) — are fun, flirty and, most importantly, special enough for your big day. From $59. 1268 Pacific Blvd., 604-642-2294.
If there were a goddess of weddings (and no, Elizabeth Taylor doesn’t count), then she is surely to credit for the invention of gel polish. Not to be confused with gel nails, gel polish (or “shellac,” as Pure Nail Bar calls it) is applied like a regular lacquer, but dried under UV light. It won’t burn your nail bed as it cures, nor will the result be as thick as a gel nail. But, like gel nails, you get a durable, shiny result that won’t chip or flake for days. Shellac manicure $45. Ten Lower Mainland locations.
A Canadian Maple Pedicure at this beautifully resurrected historic hotel is no in-and-out affair. Slip into a cozy robe and recline in a zero gravity chair (designed with NASA technology, you’ll feel completely weightless) as a therapist begins your treatment with aromatherapy, followed by a maple sugar scrub, organic hydrating mask, and sumptuous massage using organic shea butter and a drizzle of local honey to soothe and hydrate your legs and feet. Sip bubbly and nibble chocolate while your feet are expertly groomed. Emerge in a cloud of bliss. $115 for 80 minutes. 801 W. Georgia St., 604-673-7045.
Round up your bridal party and head to this long-standing Vancouver spa for a relaxing group pedicure experience. You’ll be ushered into a bright, open room where you and your best friends can chat and sip champers while feet are soaked, buffed and painted to perfection. The Diamond Pedicure is an obvious fit for a blushing bride-to-be, while the Absolute Organic Pedicure is ideal if keeping your beauty regime natural is a priority. From $75. 1015 Burrard St., 604-684-2772.
Putting your best face forward means some skin pre-prep is in order. Trust your visage to the staff at Spruce who conduct customized facials in the clean, quiet serenity of their modern spa environment. You’ll cozy between soft sheets in a warm bed while an aesthetician cleans and exfoliates your face and performs any necessary extractions. Next, relax with a shoulder and neck massage while a hydrating mask works its magic. For long-lasting results try the gentle, French-created Milk Peel: four treatments over eight weeks take the guess work out of your pre-wedding skin prep routine and include all the products necessary for guaranteeing radiant skin on your big day. All those Parisian women can’t be wrong. Facial from $110; peel $560. 1128 Richards St., 604-683-3220.
The luxury Fairmont hotel chain does nothing by halves and its Willow Stream spa treatments are testament to that. Show up early for your facial in order to don a cozy robe and decompress in one of the rooftop hot tubs with peekaboo views of the North Shore mountains, or in the infrared sauna, or the steam room, or just to sit in the lounge, nibble spa treats and read magazines. Your facial will take place in a softly lit room beneath high thread-count linens, where a therapist will assess your skin’s needs before selecting the right product line for your face. It’s almost impossible not to drift off as your skin is cleansed, gently exfoliated and moisturized, leaving it bright and smooth. From $149. 1038 Canada Pl., 604-695-5300.
When it comes to bad brows, Alisha Noon has seen them all. “Upside-down hockey sticks, Ronald McDonald brows and what I call the ‘sperm brow,’ which is thick at one end and really narrow at the other,” she laughs. The trick, she shares, isn’t to pick a shape you like as much as to find one that best suits the shape of your face, which is where her expertise comes in. And let’s be realistic: If having brows that complement your face make you look younger and fresher, you’ll find a way to love the shape. $52, 604-218-6000. email@example.com.
The talented ladies of this brow operation are quick to sculpt your eyebrows from furry critters into a balanced frame for your face using a tried-and-true Indian method known as “threading.” By twisting a piece of thread into a double strand, they move it quickly back and forth to remove hairs at the root, resulting in a very clean line. Tweezing and bridal parties also available. From $23. Three locations.
A hot and steamy hammam and gommage experience that could only be trumped by your wedding night, this South Granville spa is inspired by traditions of the Middle East. Ease back in the “hammam,” a marble eucalyptus steam bath before being scrubbed head-to-toe with black Moroccan soap and a loofah (the “gommage”). Fully cleansed, drift over to a candle-lit room and select an essential oil for your full-body massage. After, recline on massive cushions in the quiet, peaceful lounge, nibble baklava and savour chai mint tea. The down side: You will have to go home, eventually. From $112. 1495 W. 6th Ave., 604-733-5151.
Ease onto a soft massage table beneath fleece blankets and heated pads and prepare to unwind. Registered massage therapists at this Yaletown retreat are highly experienced. Translation: Under their healing hands you will completely loosen up. You will also learn tricks and tips for stretching your muscles in order to relax yourself. And because they’re RMTs, your dreamy massage could be covered by your benefits, meaning more money for you to spend on your honeymoon. From $100.