Ever since David Wagner shared his vision over lunch, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the Edina Juut Salonspa’s relocation from York Avenue to David Fhima’s old Louis XIII space at Southdale. The announcement arrived a few weeks ago, and I took a tour on Friday.
The move from Cub Foods strip mall to enormous three-story, glass-front sanctuary instantly upgraded the spa’s visibility and convenience. That would’ve been enough to create some buzz. But what Juut has achieved in this new space is a brand facelift (Southdale got one in the process, too).
The moment I walked in from the mall’s ridiculously crowded and competitive parking lot (which I will endure only to satiate an occaisonal PF Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps craving), I ooohed out loud. Was I still in Minnesota? Could this really be Southdale? It felt more like a Malibu retreat, a glass house on the beach.
I’m told that Wagner’s goal was to create a place for rejuvenation– rather than relaxation. So, instead of mood lighting, soft music, and muted shades of green and beige, the new Juut is white and bright and modern. There are punches of color from orchids and glass art, and dark woods to soften the edges, but it’s still rather cool. And I mean that in the best possible sense. It’s not that often that I walk into a new store, restaurant, spa, and it takes my breath away. And I walk into a lot. Juut has achieved something special.
Beyond the eye candy, there are a handful of notable features: a beauty bar that will be used for demonstrations, like how to attach fake eyelashes or create a holiday up-do; WiFi for the 25 percent of customers who need to stay connected during their visit (why, oh why?); mini-manis for $20 while you wait; and a retail shop with Aveda products as well as select Russell+Hazel merchandise, and precious hair accessories from local artists.
But what of the services, and the daymaking? A couple of friends enjoyed massages the same afternoon I visited the spa (coincidentally, not covertly, though that would’ve been kind of neat). When we compared notes, their experience differed from mine. They didn’t feel especially relaxed or rejuvenated because, unlike some spas, Juut doesn’t have a locker room or spacious, quiet lounging area, away from all of the bustle. Instead, the small waiting area, as well as the treatment rooms, were just outside the mani/pedi room. So before, after, and during their massages, the girls listened to other people’s conversations and activities. Not the best way to unwind.
Still, I’m looking forward to trying out Juut’s new hot stone massage, or to taking a seat at one of the whopping 38 hair stations. I heart my Spalon stylist, but am not loving the two inches she lopped off my locks this weekend . . .