Gitika Desai sat barefoot in a plush leather pedicure chair and surveyed Whole Foods’s liquor department from her perch inside the store’s Milk + Honey spa, marveling at the coexistence of beauty services and spirits.
“It’s like a fishbowl a little bit. I can look at all the great wines,” the South End mother of three said as a nail esthetician wrapped her feet in heated towels.
Desai, who lives nearby, was among the first appointments Friday at Milk + Honey, the in-store spa at the new Whole Foods. She already has planned to return for a facial.
“It’s urban, but it has a suburban feel because it’s so spacious,” she said.
The spa, nestled in a corner of the 50,000-square-foot store at 300 Harrison Ave., is intended to draw as many male clients as female ones. Along with nail services and private rooms for facials and waxing, there are two shoe-shine chairs and three barber shop seats.
“Who doesn’t want a hot shave?” quipped general manager Kelley Wagner, who said the spa has been testing the concept on the construction workers building the apartments in the Ink Block development next door.
“These burly men come out smelling like lavender,” she said. “It’s the gateway for men to the spa.”
Like the rest of the new Whole Foods, the spa incorporates newspaper elements — the location is the former site of the Boston Herald — and the effect is . . . curious. Dark wood walls juxtapose with a floor whitewashed with news print. A row of vintage-style colored windows along the barbershop wall may be a nod to the bright lights that run in a printing press room, but seem mismatched with the modern decor.
But Desai, a jewelry designer, found the decor “fascinating.” She didn’t mind that Whole Foods shoppers, in search of quinoa or organic tomatoes, could watch the foot treatment through the windows.
“I like all the light and bright,” she said. “But it depends on the service. They’re not doing facials out here.”
Jill Radsken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org