The spa and salon arena in Austin is competitive. Consumers have their choice between large establishments that can easily provide a day’s worth of pampering, and smaller venues that excel in a particular set of services.
Many spas offer the familiar facials and massages, so most customers ultimately end up basing their loyalty on the finer details.
With two locations in the Austin area and another dedicated salon location at the Arboretum, Milk + Honey has the details down, with critical acclaim that testifies to their excellence.
Dipping My Toes in Downtown
Milk + Honey’s downtown presence used to be split between two locations, until December 2012. The spa and salon are now conveniently co-located at the corner of Guadalupe and Cesar Chavez, at 100A Guadalupe. As someone who manages long work days, I appreciate the fact that Milk + Honey is open until 9 PM every day of the week.
I was invited to experience a Luxe Massage at Milk + Honey’s new downtown location. Though I arrived between the end of the work day and the beginning of the nightlife bustle, I didn’t take into account the possibility of an Austin City Limits Live event at the Moody. Finding metered parking took some work, but Milk + Honey does offer detailed parking instructions for those with more foresight than me!
After an enjoyable walk through the 2nd Street District of downtown, I entered Milk + Honey’s shop. Going beyond offering traditional hair and beauty products, the shop also featured unique local jewelry by Anna Gieselman at Bee Amour and other niceties.
As soon as I was ready (and juggling a camera and an iPad…my spa experiences for the Austinot are a bit odd), I was ushered into the luxurious dressing room. I traded in some of my equipment for a large robe and those uni-sized spa flip flops that we all love, and I made my way into the lounge area.
Milk + Honey’s large lounge could be a destination all on its own. I honestly wish I could’ve spent more time decompressing there. With a wealth of cushioned bench seating, decorative pillows and shadowy lighting that signals nap time, you won’t mind waiting for a while either. Infused water, tea and healthy snacks like fruit and almonds are available as well.
Luxe Massage at Milk + Honey
Shortly after my appointment time, I was greeted by masseuse Jeanne Louviere. I spent a few minutes getting to know Jeanne before she began my 75 minute massage. She’s been with Milk + Honey for four years, with six years of experience before that. I asked her how she liked the new location compared to the old one. She said that the staff enjoyed the old location like a “comfortable shoe,” but they’re enjoying their upstairs lounge at the new location, as well as design features that were installed to make their jobs easier.
I normally experience massages purely for the relaxation and stress relief, but on this particular visit I actually had some irksome pains that I asked Jeanne to keep in mind. I had just received a tetanus shot in my left arm, so I was extremely sore from that. I also had neck pain from eagerly gazing down the hockey rink at a Texas Stars game the night before. Jeanne listened carefully and was incredibly attentive to the needs that I had specified.
It’s no wonder that Milk + Honey manager Summer Langhorne describes Jeanne as one of her “all time favorites.” Jeanne was the face of my first Milk + Honey experience, putting me at ease and making my needs the center of her attention. She was even kind enough to continue my massage fifteen minutes past closing time to ensure that I received the full Luxe Massage experience (I had asked a lot of questions before we got started)!
I always love getting the behind the scenes view of a business, and Summer provided me with a lot of insight into Milk + Honey’s company culture:
“We’re very proud of our reputation in the community as “best place to work.” We take a lot of pride in that title and know that our clients feel that when we walk in the door. It’s a trickle down effect – we take great care of our employees, so they can take great care of our clients. You can really feel the vibe of a business as soon as you step foot inside, and my hope is that clients walk through the door and can feel the love and positivity that holds this place together.” -Summer Langhorne, Milk + Honey Manager
Though Milk + Honey’s most popular service is the massage, there’s also a rush for bikini/Brazilian waxing in the warmer months.
In addition to massages and waxing, Milk + Honey also offers facials, body treatments, salon services and nail services.
When it comes to nail services, Milk + Honey chooses to avoid the toxic ingredients in traditional nail products and provide natural nail care. Says Summer, “Milk + Honey takes a very firm stance on providing quality products to our clients and to the people who work with their hands in the products for 6 hours a day. We have a choice in ingredients and while clean ingredients cost more, Milk + Honey believes that it’s worth the price.”
I mentioned in my intro that Milk + Honey has earned critical acclaim: the business was awarded the 2011 Best Day Spa in Texas at the International Congress of Aesthetics and Spa. Along with this award, customer testimonials and my own personal experience, I definitely recommend that you experience Milk + Honey downtown or at their Galleria location. Exceptional customer service, a lovely and relaxing venue, and attention to detail during every part of your visit – these are the finer details that make Milk + Honey excel.
Have you visited Milk + Honey yet? Are there any other spas and salons in town that you think I should visit?