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Margarita and a manicure

By Lindsey Ramsey
Budget Travel
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(Budget Travel Onlineexternal link) -- It used to be that women would get dolled up at home and then head out for a night on the town. But these days, spas and salons are hoping women will bring the party to them.

"There's a demand for an alternative to the typical day spa," says Michael MacLachlan, an owner of Nitespa in Los Angeles. "People want to be able to relax, and what better way than to receive spa treatments with a glass of wine in the company of good friends?" New services range from a free glass of wine with a haircut to elaborate blowout bashes -- literally.

In South Boston, champagne flows and tunes spin all day at the chic Shag Salon, where Sandy Poirier and his staff specialize in hair coloring and edgy cuts. Hardwood floors, high ceilings, contemporary furniture, and large windows that overlook Boston's skyline give Shag a loft-like feel. Women sit around a communal table and sip wine or cappuccinos while their color sets. Cuts are done at separate stations, but the salon is cozy enough that friends are never seated too far apart to chat over the sound of hairdryers (840 Summer St., 617/268-2500, shagboston.comexternal link).

With its Roman-style columns and marble floors, there's more of an old-world feel at Pierre and Carlo European Salon & Spa inside Philadelphia's Park Hyatt hotel. Along with the usual array of services such as facials and massages, the spa offers manis and pedis that include a free cocktail. Customers receive free mimosas on Fridays and Saturdays. They can also be arranged for groups upon request on other days of the week (200 S. Broad St., 215/790-9910, pierreandcarlo.comexternal link).

At Chicago's Strange Beauty Show, near Wicker Park, the '50s rock-and-roll vibe extends from lime-green walls to an extensive collection of vinyl. The salon hosts private BYOB prepping parties for $55 per person, where up to six women get gorgeous with full makeup applications, false eyelashes, blowouts, extensions, and updos -- all while sipping cocktails and listening to their own music through an iPod hookup (1261 N. Paulina Ave., 773/252-9522, strangebeautyshow.comexternal link).

"It reminded me of when I was in college and all my friends would get together to get ready for a night out," says Erin Leigh Crump, who lives in the city and recently attended a party at the salon. "And all the stylists are young, so they know what looks are fun and trendy."

Blondies the Beauty Shop, in Denver's Cherry Creek neighborhood, stays open until 10 P.M. once a month for Cocktail Cuts Night. Customers are served drinks and hors d'oeuvres while they get their hair cut and styled (563 Detroit St., 303/377-5313, blondiesdenver.comexternal link).

Part of the thrill of visiting Ted Gibson in Manhattan's Flatiron District is trying to catch a glimpse of regulars like Angelina Jolie, Keira Knightley and Gabrielle Union. But you don't have to be a celeb to receive special treatment: Groups of six or more get wine, champagne and cupcakes with one of the famous blowouts, as well as a hand-and-scalp massage and an Aveda lip gloss to take home (184 Fifth Ave., 212/633-6333, tedgibsonsalon.comexternal link).

Not surprisingly, the reigning king of party spas is in L.A., just a couple of blocks off Venice Beach. Open noon to midnight, Nitespa caters to groups of any size with any request (490 Santa Clara Ave., 310/396-5122, nitespa.comexternal link, private party from $110 per person).

"We throw a good party -- and birthday, bachelorette, and 'girls' night out' events are very popular," says co-owner MacLachlan. "Concierge service includes assistance in planning, exclusive use of the spa, private off-street parking, catering, cocktails, music, 15 percent off all products and anything else we can do to make the evening a memorable one!"

MacLachlan and his staff will even bring the party to your place -- whether it's a house or a hotel room -- with a service that they've named Nitespa-a-Go-Go.

Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.


© 2006. Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.


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