SPA WATCH | Elizabeth Arden Red Door

IT HAS been a frenzied early spring of spa visits for us here... a far cry from last spring with elbows deep in a start-up, simultaneously planning a backyard wedding and, er, hunched over the laptop all the while. How we cherish the fact that spa visits are all in a day's work for a beauty writer. Facials? Massages? Pedicures? YES, please, even though the end results mights not be long term unless you keep a standing appointment with your torturer therapist.

With sandal season just a few weeks out, I have started doing some serious foot repair as well. Not six months ago I was mountain climbing in the same socks for seven days, hiking, farming and swing from tree tops by a harness. And not a professional hand has set upon my feet in the meantime.


That all changed with a recent visit to Elizabeth Arden Red Door, where a brave soul sloughed and filed at my feet for what seemed like hours... days... years. The Chicago outpost is discreetly tucked away a story above Michigan Avenue on -- yet again -- the Gold Coast. There's a trend I'm finding in health and beauty in Chicago. It's a bit like a secret society. You either know about it or you don't. As a passer-by you haven't a snowball's chance in hell of just stumbling upon a beauty or fitness find the way you do in Paris, New York, London... 

Red Door felt a bit like that. You walk around the corner, up an elevator and right into a lobby with two desks that fronts the hair stations. Peel off to the right for a warren of treatment rooms and the nail chairs and stations. It's all very upscale... lots of light, mirrors, red accent pieces (pillows, etc.) and deliciously old money. I felt as if, at any minute, George Clooney would stumble in breathlessly looking for Michelle Pfifferer's mother in One Fine Day. 

I had the Champagne and Roses pedicure, a limited-edition treatment that's available from March 2010 to September 2010 in celebration of Elizabeth Arden's 100th anniversary. Champagne came by flute, rose petals in the foot tub. Works for me. 

The pedicure includes a wash, a scrub, a file, a cuticle nip, callous sloughing (and, oh my, was there a pile when she was done with me, poor thing), a parrafin treatment and a polish (Zoya is what they have on hand). I chose a deep forest green and she did a stellar polish job. It was (as it always is) incredibly difficult to not squirm or laugh as my feet are ticklish but we managed to get through it.

Champagne in hand, temporary flipflops on, I wandered to the relaxation area to dry my toenails. Sadly, the natural polish seems to take many moons longer to dry than regular polish so, after 45 minutes, they were still wet and smudged when I put them in my ballet flats. 

Still, my feet were smoother than they'd been since my last pedicure at Beauty Works West years ago...


The complimentary makeup application upon departure (must leave looking fresh, dears), the gentle yet effective callous sloughing, the expert therapist, the exclusive space (and address), the selection of magazines next to the pedicure station, the natural nail polish options.


There are no drying stations for nails (so they have to air dry, which takes a v. e. r. y. long time for natural naiil polish!), small collection of nail colours, time commitment due to drying time.


From $37 to $80 for a pedicure.

Champagne and Roses pedicure is $80.

For more information visit the Red Door site and selection a specific location.

Elizabeth Arden Red Door is also participating in Spa Week, starting April 12th. Get the following treatments for just $50 each:

  • Signature Pedicure
  • Single Process Color with Fast Finish Blow-dry
  • Brazilian Bikini Wax

Contact individual spas to book appointments.