Beauty Break: Rheal Day Spa

When I hear Maine, I think L.L. Bean, clambakes and moose. Foliage if it’s fall, with some outlet shopping thrown in. Or preppy seaside retreats with crisp nautical motifs. Day spas? Not so much. Until I saw photos of Rheal Day Spa in Rockland, Maine, owned by esthetician Rhonda Nordstrom.

I first learned about Rhonda’s Rheal product line, the sunscreen specifically, from Sharon Kitchens at Delicious Musings. (Sharon, a conflicted fashionista dedicated to living the green life, had met Rhonda when she was living up in Maine.) I’m going to be writing an article about Rhonda’s amazing new eco-friendly home later this year. But in the meantime, I wanted to show you pictures of her new spa. Designed by architects Carrie Shores and Josh Larson from the architecture firm Larson + Shores, it’s fresh, clean, airy, and eco-conscious.

Rheal Nail Rm

This is the nail room. Carrie handpainted the design on the wall, after tracing it using a projected image. Rhonda calls the design a sea flower; it’s the spa’s logo. Notice the curtain on the left? It’s an almost perfect match, and from IKEA. The floors are rubber and the textiles from recycled fibers.

RhealexteriorRheal is on Main Street in Rockland, in an old factory building. Rhonda calls Rockland “a pretty urban, hip little town.” (I’ll get back to you on that; I’m visiting next month.) Nevertheless, Rhonda says, “When people walk in, they say it’s like walking into a whole other world. Which is good,” she adds, “since it’s a spa.” Recently, she had a client from Manhattan who said Rheal was like any other spa she would go to. It certainly looks the part. I’m guessing the treatments are heavenly too. After all, Rhonda learned her trade at Grettacole, back in the early days. She says, “Gretta taught me how to shape eyebrows; I will be grateful to her forever.

Rheal front_room

They used a lot of eco-friendly materials. The floor in the reception area (above) and the other rooms without water, are cork.

Rheal ocker_entryThis is the locker room, with the meditation room beyond. The chair is Japanese and rocks gently. Carrie found it in San Francisco. I’ll have to ask her where. The fabrics are made from recycled soda bottles. The sconce shades incorporate grass reeds.

pediDetail of the nail room.

treatment rm1This is one of the very peaceful treatment rooms. You can see her private line of skincare products, which Rhonda describes as “clean, healing, authentic.” The line started as an anti-acne line, but now includes “graceful aging” products. She touts the Lip & Face Serum in particular. The spa also use Dr. Haushka products, which Rhonda loves.

Rheal showerSink and shower in the locker room. The countertops are made from recycled paper, by a company called Paperstone. They’re beautiful and don’t absorb any water.

Rheal dressing roomDetail of sink in locker room.

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Author: StyleCarrot

Marni Elyse Katz is a design writer and editor who lives in Boston and Cape Cod with her husband, two sons, and a cat. She blogs about design at

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