Travel

10 Surprisingly Affordable Spas in Nashville

The best spas in Nashville won't break the bank.

Holiday Salon & Bathhouse
Holiday Salon & Bathhouse
Holiday Salon & Bathhouse

Many of Nashville’s downtown luxury hotels feature expansive spas with long menus of massage, health, facial and body treatments at premium prices, which is all fine and dandy if you’re travelling on a vacation budget or an expense account. However, by the time you add the cost of parking in a hotel garage to your spa bill, these spots might be out of reach for most. Fortunately, some local spa operations provide many of these same services at more affordable prices. So, here are some options if you’re looking for a little self-care in Music City.

N2Skin

Music Row/Demonbreun
For locals who deserve a little pampering or tourists who might want to relieve some of the aches left over after a night out on Lower Broad, N2Skin is conveniently located right in the middle of the action on Music Row. In addition to bargain massages starting at $80 for an hour, they also offer indulgent sea scrub treatments to scrape off some of last night’s sins and airbrush tans to make it look like you got in a little pool time instead of sleeping until the afternoon.

Holiday Salon & Bathhouse
Holiday Salon & Bathhouse
Holiday Salon & Bathhouse

Holiday Salon & Bathhouse

East Nashville
You can feel the peacefulness settle over you as you step inside this Finnish-inspired bathhouse. Built within a century-old building, Holiday Salon is available for private hourly rental by groups, which also allows for a “swimsuit-optional” policy if that’s what you’re into. Enjoy a Himalayan salt sauna, steam room and a large saltwater soaking pool before adjourning to two locker rooms to clean up and face the day invigorated.

Spa Haus Nashville
Spa Haus Nashville
Spa Haus Nashville

Spa Haus Nashville

Berry Hill
Spa Haus is an independently-owned facility just a few miles south of downtown Nashville. A dozen treatment rooms feature massage therapy options ranging from a basic relaxation rub to prenatal and couples massages. Other spaces within the salon feature skincare treatments like HydraFacials and body wraps plus a full suite of lash and waxing services. For a far out experience, try the Seven Senses Crystal Energy Healing Bed with LED light therapy, full-spectrum light treatments, vibration therapy, magnetics, and an infrared amethyst biomat.

Nashville Sports Massage
Nashville Sports Massage
Nashville Sports Massage

Nashville Sports Massage

Downtown and Green Hills
Sometimes, all you want is an efficient sports massage to treat something you tweaked by working out too hard or, say, bending over to pick up a quarter off the sidewalk. Nashville Sports Massage is just the trick for that sort of treatment. With locations in the Green Hills and Downtown YMCAs, you don’t have to be a member to sign up for really affordable massages ranging from a half hour to 120 minutes. YMCA members do get an even better discount, but anyone can sign up for massages that range from intentionally aggressive deep tissue to trigger point therapy and facilitated stretching to injury massages that gently target specific ailments.

Adagio Nashville
Adagio Nashville
Adagio Nashville

Adagio Massage Co. & Spa

Music Row
For more than three decades, Adagio has catered to local clients who book periodic appointments with massage therapists and estheticians whenever they feel like a little “me time.” Adagio’s talented brow specialists are experts at waxing and tinting, and you can add a face or foot massage to any treatment for $55 for a half hour of bliss.

Mana Salon + Spa
Mana Salon + Spa
Mana Salon + Spa

Mana Salon + Spa

Berry Hill
Mana is a full-service salon that offers the gamut of hair and skin services along with full-body and foot soaks, body wraps and several different styles of massage, along with more esoteric services like tarot card reading, hypnotherapy and past life regression. The ultimately discreet staff promises not to reveal that you were Anne Boleyn in a previous life or that you get your hair dyed and extensions added.

Spavia Day Spa - Bellevue
Spavia Day Spa – Bellevue
Spavia Day Spa – Bellevue

Spavia Bellevue

Bellevue
This day spa sees itself as a destination for when you need some time to relax, recenter and renew with a few hours of pampering. Chill out in their retreat room before and/or after treatments or stack a few back-to-back so that you can melt under the hands of a talented massage therapist before touching up your eyebrows or treating yourself to a Fijian warm oil scalp treatment. “Spalebration” packages are available for parties of four or more looking to share in a day of luxury or book a massage/facial package just for yourself, because you’re worth it.

Bucca Foot Spa
Bucca Foot Spa
Bucca Foot Spa

Bucca Reflexology

West Nashville
Bucca doesn’t claim to be fancy, just efficient. While the treatment area is attractive, the emphasis isn’t on ethereal music or dim lighting to calm your nerves. Instead, a team of talented Chinese reflexology therapists will sit you in a luxurious leather chair with a comfy pillow and an eye mask, draw an herb-filled bath at your feet and proceed to blow your mind with reflexology by massaging various pressure points on your feet that are connected to any number of body parts and organs.

Float Nashville
Float Nashville
Float Nashville

Float Nashville

Berry Hill
Float Nashville is a different kind of spa, one that concentrates on you focusing on yourself while you drift away in a tank of warm water that has been super-saturated with salts to create a neutral buoyancy atmosphere to support your body. This isn’t one of those sensory deprivation experiences. Floaters have full control over the lighting inside the tank, and an open tank is available if you’re feeling anxious about being closed in. Lie back and let your mind go, and the hour will pass faster than you can imagine before it’s time to clean off in the shower within your treatment room and take on the rest of your day centred and relaxed.

Salt and Soles
Salt and Soles
Salt and Soles

Salt and Soles

12 South
Proponents of salt therapy say that it is very effective for treating allergies, and in case you haven’t noticed, Nashville is sitting in the bottom of a large geological bowl filled with pollen. More importantly, reclining in a zero-gravity chair listening to peaceful music inside of a beautiful cave carved out of Himalayan sea salt and breathing in microscopic particles of NaCl for 45 minutes is said to be beneficial for all sorts of maladies. The spa also offers reflexology treatments to reach your soul through your soles.

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Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink, and travel writer based out of his hometown of Nashville. Find him on Twitter @CeeElCee.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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