Salon and Spa on Gamble Bay brings relaxation, rejuvenation — and no cell phones

Janice Stewart recently opened the Salon and Spa on Gamble Bay. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Janice Stewart recently opened the Salon and Spa on Gamble Bay.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

PORT GAMBLE – Janice Stewart has one rule for her Salon and Spa on Gamble Bay: Leave your cell phone at the door.

“When you walk through that door it’s all about you. Nothing from the outside,” said Stewart, grinning, wearing a flowing, ankle-length teal dress.

It’s Wednesday morning and walking into the spa, located in the heart of Port Gamble, light scents of lavender and vanilla linger in the doorway. Soft music carries throughout the spa’s many rooms.

Although Stewart said she’s 54 her “well preserved” looks are deceiving, as a local doctor would attest to a recent visit. He was confounded by the age she wrote down and daintily asked her if there was some mistake.

There she knew if her looks could fool a doctor, her time in the spa was as close as she’d get to dipping her toes in the fountain of youth.

“At least on my outside,” she said, laughing.

Stewart has years of experience working in salons and spas and previously taught beauty school. She’s still a credentialed teacher.

Prior to opening her own business she worked at a salon for 12 years on Bainbridge Island’s Madison Avenue.

Although she has yet to hold her grand opening — set to take place Sept. 5 — she’s already taking customers and becoming a frequented favorite in the town.

“Everyone here is so wonderful. You couldn’t ask for a better environment to start a business,” she said.

Her secret: making other people happy, “energized and ready to face life,” she said.

Stewart said both men and women need to relax and be pampered between the stress of daily work life, the laundry and the vacuuming that still needs doing.

“If they haven’t been to spas before and are leery, a pedicure is a wonderful way to start; or massage is terribly, terribly important,” she said. “It’s a revitalization of the whole mind and soul.”

Walking through the spa there are separate rooms for each treatment. Clients can enjoy personal space without feeling intruded upon by others’ presence.

Relaxation is a personal feeling, she said. Her spa services — manicure, pedicure, hair, makeup, massage, and champagne baths — can help lead clients to that point.

“It’s a feeling down deep inside,” she said. “If you are at home, set the table, put on pretty music, light candles, use your best tableware, and use it as a reflection to get ready for the next day or to come in for a spa treatment,” she said. “No one is going to spoil you if you don’t spoil yourself.”

One of her more luxurious treatments is the champagne bath.

“As far as I know it’s the only one like it in the area,” she said. “It aerates — it mimics the bubbles in a champagne flute, rising to the top and caresses your skin. The bath water is infused with lavender oil.”

If that doesn’t ease people into the idea of spa treatment, she said there are ways people can relax at home or get ready before coming into her salon.

First, she said, put on some soft music and light scented candles. If it’s morning, she recommends vanilla scented. “They make people think of sugar cookies.”

If it’s afternoon, the scent of lavender is best. “It has a universal calming effect and reminds some people of their grandmother’s house.”

Unlike home treatments, in her spa clients have no stresses to focus on besides relaxing. It’s a total escape from home, family and work, Stewart said.

“Here, people are surrounded by candles. They don’t have to prepare anything and they don’t have to clean up. That is the job of the salon,” she said.

Stewart said future goals for the spa include allowing beauty students to practice at her salon and gain hours for their credentials.

Stewart estimates only 3 percent of students who graduate beauty school are in the business 10 years later and successful.

“A lot of people think it’s the easy choice, going to a vocational or technical school,” she said. “You have to have a passion for it and you have to be patient.”

Although Stewart has experience in other vocations, her Spa and Salon on Gamble Bay is her first and foremost love. Her passion, she said, is giving clients that hard-to-find, always-elusive, fleeting feeling of relaxation.

For more information or to book an appointment call the Spa and Salon on Gamble Bay at (360) 297-2909, or stop by its location at 32199 Ranier Avenue NE, Port Gamble.

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