Balian Springs: What to Know About the DC Spa Before You Go
Updated: Oct 22
My clients tend to live a fast-paced life - always on the go, constantly networking, and trying to level up in their lives. But go-getters like you need a break sometimes - a fully indulgent and luxurious break. That's why I'm giving you the inside look at my day at Balian Springs in Alexandria. As far as spas go in the DMV, this behemoth of a facility is the top of the line in wellness and relaxation. Plus, it's an absolute heaven for content creators looking for their aesthetic fix. All that stress you carry shows on the camera, so take a day and let it go!
Perks That Made Balian Springs My Favorite Luxury Spa in DC
When you arrive:
Checking in is super easy. You're given a tote bag with a towel, a robe, and your flip flops (no outside shoes allowed!), and an access key that you can purchase food and beverages with. This is super convenient and you don't have to worry about losing your wallet somewhere.
Everyone is so friendly and pleasant, I never ran into anyone that gave "I don't feel like being here" vibes. Nobody was too salesy or pushy either, I had a lot of room to just enjoy myself.
The Spa Experience
The hydrotherapy pools are, in my opinion, the crown jewel of Balian Springs. They take up almost the entire first floor and the rooftop, and for good reason. There's plenty of space to move around so you're not bumping into strangers. There's a lazy river, massage jets, cold pools, hot tubs, and more. My favorite part: you can take your drinks into the pool!!! It's so relaxing to lay back on a massage jet with a guava margarita in hand and your favorite podcast playing in your ears.
The restaurants are healthy and DELICIOUS. At facilities this large, the foodservice is often contracted out and you basically get hospital food. At Balian Springs, real chefs developed the menus (yes girl - OPTIONS) and the food is delicious. My favorite plates so far: heart of palm cakes (tastes like a crab cake, will blow your mind), garlic shrimp zucchini noodles (for my low carb girls), and the fried green tomato sandwich (you will think differently about, well, everything).
The craft cocktails are delicious and massive. So be careful of your intake, and do not drive drunk! My favorite drink is the melon one (I can't remember the name all of a sudden) and the guava margarita.
The immersive ilounge is so interesting. I've been in it and the concept is so simple yet so relaxing. It's a giant screen with a hawaiian beach video playing. I know, it sounds corny, but the screen is so massive that it does actually feel immersive. The quietness and darkness of the room makes it a good spot to recharge before you try more things.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Spa Trip
The gold sauna and himilayan salt rooms are the most popular because they're the most aesthetic. Take your picture next to them (taking photos inside is uncouth to me) and then bop over to the slightly less popular, but just as relaxing if not more Loess room if you want more space and alone time.
The first floor is amazing, but don't get stuck down there. The rooftop actually offers the same pools and heated floors and it's less crowded. It is uncovered, by the contrast of the cool air and warm will energize you. The bar up there is pretty swanky too.
Don't go just for the pictures. It's a BEAUTIFUL facility, but there are so many wellness benefits you miss out on when you're solely focused on content. Spend your fist 30-45 minutes getting content and exploring, then dive in and stay present.
Bring some play money. It's a cashless establishment, but make sure to put at least $100 on your card so you can get a couple of drinks (they are massive) and a nice meal.
Bring your own loofah/washcloth and soap for the showers. They have shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, but using your own stuff is always nice.
Bring a water bottle so you can stay hydrated in between drinks and saunas (especially with losing all that sweat in the saunas)
Take your time. Your day pass is truly for the day, so don't rush through anything. Double back on things if you want to, there aren't any rules on how to do it, but there are helpful suggestions to help you organize your day.
Bring an extra swimsuit. I found that once I took my first dip in the pools, I wanted something dry to do my other activities in. they have a swimsuit dryer, but it still leaves you just a little damp. Even if you forget to bring a backup suit, you still have your robe and access to extra towels.
Ideas for Unique Content
EVERYBODY is recording themselves by the rain wall, so avoid that. It's boring, I'm sorry. Here are a few ideas for some unique shots that will set you apart:
taking your robe off right before you get into the pool
a panning shot of your body on one of the many chaise lounges
a 360 shot of you in the egg chairs
elevator doors opening up with you coming out (bonus points if you're holding a drink!)
a timelapse of your sushi being prepared
you thoughtfully pondering the gratitude/intentions tree
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