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REVIEW: Having a fabulous time at Anatomy Day Spa and Boutique

SAN DIEGO – University Avenue is a very busy main street that runs through a very popular and edgy neighborhood of San Diego called Hillcrest. As such, it sees businesses come and businesses go, but there are many staples here that have stood the test of time.

Anatomy Day Spa & Boutique is one of them. Anatomy has been open for business in the same Hillcrest location for 18 years. However, they are currently undergoing a face-lift (pun intended) and expanding their services to include cosmetic medical procedures, which will result in a grand reopening on Sept. 15. More on that later.

It’s been about 12 years since I’d walked through Anatomy's doors for a facial that I am embarrassed to say I barely remember. I had also heard it recently converted from an Aveda brand spa to one using Dermologica products, which focus on skin care, so I decided to stop by, get a more current perspective and even indulge myself for a half-day spa experience.

Manager Jenny Aguirre greeted me with her bright smile as I breezed through the double-glassed doors this visit, and escorted me to a changing area, where I traded my day clothes for my spa clothes: a robe, a wrap and slippers. I remember thinking, I'm gonna remember this.

My first service was a pedicure with Dan; yes, Dan. Just Dan, in fact. This was not the typical pedicure room; this was Dan’s pedicure room. Dan is a Michigan native who moved to San Diego in 1998 and began working at Anatomy that same year. He really enjoys what he does, and it shows.

“Obviously this is not the career my mother expected me to have,” he joked while prepping my soak tub. “I think they thought this was my way of coming out to them.”

Nope, Dan is as straight as they come, but he truly is an expert at this style of pampering. He’ll make the right woman the dream of a husband someday.

I am not exaggerating in the least when I say this was, without question, the BEST spa pedicure that I have ever experienced. I’ve had hundreds of pedicures over the years; this was the best, hands down.

Oh come on, a pedicure is a pedicure you say? Not here. Not with Dan.

Forget about those chop-shop sweat-shops we’ve all come to know and love – where we bury our heads in magazines, trying to read above the din of chatter in a foreign language. You will never go back.

After collapsing in the most comfortable chair ever – an overstuffed La-Z-Boy recliner - I knew I was in for something special. I practically melted into the chair as Dan began working on my feet.

The recliner is a dream scenario, and Dan makes it seem as if the chair was built specifically for the experience. He uses the foot-rest to its full advantage, and with a huge metal bowl of hot water and glass beads on the bottom serving as backdrop, I was in absolute heaven. Who needs an automated lumbar machine, anyway?

We quickly and easily dropped into non-stop conversation about our shared interest in cable TV shows, favorite episodes, Andrew Cunanan and other current events, while he deftly took care of my every toe. At one point, I suddenly realized that I felt like I’d known Dan for my entire life.

“Are we supposed to talk this much?” I said, feeling somewhat embarrassed, and wondering if I was hampering the experience in some way.

“Doesn’t matter, some do, some don’t; some even go to sleep,” he responded with a smile, keeping the focus on my feet.

I sat back again, relieved. To me, everything was perfect. I’m not one to “chit-chat” in those situations, so the fact that we jumped right in and didn’t stop for an hour and a half said a lot to me.

Dan worked like a surgeon as we continued on, and I was in awe of the absolute care he took with my feet; but there were no surgical gloves on those strong hands. They were all Dan.

Days later, my feet are still smoother than they have been in years and look like they’ve walked hundreds of less miles than they actually have. I literally can’t wait to give them another session and I wish I could afford to give all my close friends gift certificates for a trip to Dan’s chair. Thanking him at the end, felt, well, so inadequate.

I literally floated down the hall as Dan then led me to a room where a surprise lunch awaited me, and then he quickly disappeared.

Anytime you come for a full or half spa day, you are treated to a fabulous gourmet lunch, brought in from a neighboring restaurant. My lunch consisted of a delicious chicken & roasted veggie Panini, carrots, herbal tea and tiramisu.

The privacy and tranquility of my little lunch room gave me some time to eat, relax, reflect and take notes on my experience so far. Note: The spa packages vary or you can create your own.

Next I was treated to a 30 minute massage with Julie. Although not the firm, deep tissue massage that I generally put myself through, Julie’s massage was very comfortable and soothing; a perfect fit to my afternoon of pampering.

The final leg of my experience was a mini-facial with Michelle. Again, I must say that I’ve had dozens of facials and paid a lot of money for some of the most involved facials there is – but this was the best mini-facial I have ever had. A “mini-facial” generally means “no-frills” but this certainly didn’t feel that way.

My skin felt amazing afterward. I definitely recommend the Anatomy mini-facial to everyone, especially if you have never had a facial before but have always wanted to. It is the best of everything and my skin felt amazing afterward.

Sad to see my afternoon come to an end, I was already planning my return visit. I’ve already decided I’m going to quit my massage membership elsewhere, give up on the chop-shops and make Anatomy my future home when my body needs some pampering. You should, too.

Anatomy Day Spa & Boutique
1205 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 296-6224

Grade: A+++

Grand re-opening

The new Anatomy Day Spa and Boutique will be holding a grand reopening on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at their 1205 University location.

Food, refreshments, free 15 minute massages, giveaways, specials, live entertainment and the art of local gay artist legend Jeffrey Wynne will be available.

Stay tuned as we bring you more information next week about Anatomy and the grand reopening that you won’t want to miss.

Morgan Hurley is the Copy Editor for SDGLN. She can be reached at (877) 277-5446, ext 710 or via eemail at morgan@sdgln.com.