By Andrea Toochin

Banyan is neither the green lovers paradise with streaming meditation music nor the upscale spa, decorated with stark, modern furniture. This inviting SoHo spa, designed by Alan Chan, offers a Zen-like ambiance, and separate floors for men and women. The relaxing environment is a result of Eastern-inspired design, best exhibited through the leaves painted on the walls and the imitation hut ceiling in the steam room, where all patrons are welcome to shower and lounge after treatments.

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The treatment everyone is raving about is the Traditional Thai Massage. Though this isn’t new to the local scene, it is an authentic treatment and that’s hard to find. The masseuse at banyan uses traditional exercise and massage techniques, and employs hot compresses made of lemongrass leaf, camphor, and kaffir lime.

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In addition, another specialty treatment is their Herbal Sesame Facial, which helps reveal a uniform complexion via the use of a black sesame and herb compress. But, banyan also offers basic treatments, sprinkled with their personal touch. A prime example is the pedicure. While soaking your feet in warm water, you’ll notice the pedicure tubs have been sprinkled with rose petals and slices of lemon.

But, the best addition to this relaxing locale is the March opening of the men’s floor. New to the 5000-square-foot space, the basement will be devoted solely to men’s treatments.

So, if you’re trying to justify dropping a few Franklin on another spa treatment and your roomie, partner, or parent isn’t buying it, why not offer a tour of banyan. It might be the perfect place to purchase a gift certificate; after all, one card will satisfy both parties

Banyan CitiSPA is located at 474 West Broadway just south of Houston

For more information on Banyan CitiSPA, please go here

Originally published March 2006
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