Bostonians know the value of finding hidden gems in the city - those that transport you to another place, without having to purchase airline tickets or reserve hotel rooms. We seek out the serene among the chaos, be it through bike rides along the hidden trails in Lexington or a little pampering at a neighborhood spa that evokes an aura of tranquility rarely found in our daily lives.
Good news Bostonians: a new haven is now open in Harvard Square. Part of The Charles Hotel, Corbu Spa & Salon is the new kid on the tony block, bringing a farm-to-spa concept to Cambridge and offering everything from salon services to custom-created spa rituals.
I had a sneak preview of the spa last week before it opened, and was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere of the space. Corbu is located just across the courtyard from Rialto and Henrietta's Table at the Charles Hotel. Through one set of doors you'll enter the tranquil space, decorated with oversized seating and bamboo adornments. The smells of lavender, jasmine, and citrus immediately relax your mind and before you can walk the three steps to the check-in desk, you'll find yourself quite simply, a bit calmer.
The 4,000 square foot spa hosts seven treatment rooms including one "Room for
Two” equipped with a Swiss shower. If you're in a hurry, you can opt for a 30-minute treatment (which includes massages, facials, hand and feet masks, eye rituals, and more), or spend half a day getting pampered. The price list at Corbu is comparable to any other spa you've likely visited. Massages range from $40 (30-minutes) to $160 (90-minutes), facials can be booked in 30- or 60-minute intervals from $55 to $110, and special packages can be put together for small events or celebrations.
There's a full-service salon with a three-chair manicure station, four-chair pedicure station, hair cut and color services, and waxing services for men and women. The locker rooms have individual lockers, a sauna, rainforest shower and full array of amenities.
The spa capitalizes on the farm-to-table concepts mastered by The Charles’s Chef Peter Davis of Henrietta’s Table and Chef Jody Adams of Rialto. Corbu’s Spa Director, Pamela Baldwin Adami, took a cue from the famed chefs and is constantly developing new treatments, homemade salt scrubs, sugar scrubs and lotions. Adami told me she uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create these unique spa items based on what’s in season, and what looks good when she visits the local farmers market.
The French-inspired, all-organic treatment menu features ingredients handpicked from the hotel’s gardens, and seasonal treatments inspired by Chefs Davis and Adams. For example, the Hot Herbal Poultice Journey includes herbal poultices and traditional massage techniques, as well as the Vanilla Mocha Slimming Treatment, which blends coffee and cocoa. The Winter Solstice treatment is hydrating and energizing for rough skin in cold weather, while the Summer Solstice is a nourishing treatment, and the Autumnal Equinox uses scents and lotions that create a balancing and relaxing effect.
The best part: In addition to the farm to spa table concept, Adami has crafted a special section of the treatment menu called "Spa for Humanity.” As part of Corbu’s commitment to the community, the spa has partnered with local organizations to design this program and offer packages that donate five percent of the proceeds to select charitable organizations like Partners in Heath, MSPCA, the EcoLogic Development Fund, and the Steppingstone Foundation. Treatments range from $190 to $350, and vary based on your needs.
In the spirit of full disclosure: After a little coaxing from the spa staff, I took a seat in one of the salon chairs during my visit for an impromptu haircut. Corbu stylist, Diana Suarez, was less concerned with my slight paranoia of hair cuts, and more focused on making sure I wouldn't be late to my next meeting (and that I looked good when I got there). She cut while I took notes, and 45-minutes later, the end result was a look I'm happy to say I don't pull back in a clip everyday.
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