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The royal treatment

Young princesses and princes can relieve the stresses of youth with high-end pampering at Spa Di Da.

October 02, 2008|Lea Lion | Times Staff Writer

ON A recent afternoon, Hyatae Williams was getting her nails painted a sparkly shade of tangerine, while her sister, Ionisia, was having light-blue eye shadow brushed on her lids. The Williams sisters, swaddled in pink terry cloth robes, looked relaxed after a morning of pampering at Spa Di Da in West Hollywood.

It was the kind of scene that unfolds in countless Los Angeles spas every day, except for one major difference: Hyatae is 11 years old and Ionisia is 10.

Spa Di Da is a kids-only salon that offers everything you might find at its grown-up counterparts -- and a few things you wouldn't normally find elsewhere.

When owner Maria Botham opened the spa in May 2007, she wanted to fill what she considered to be a void in the beauty industry. Namely, high-end spa services for kids.

"I was tired of taking my daughters to my hair-cutting places and my manicure-pedicure places and my yoga classes," she recalls. "So, I opened a place where they can get high-end manicure-pedicures, haircuts and facials; all of the products are for them; the space is designed for them; the staff can educate them and have fun with them and take it seriously the way a mom's spa would."

Located on a busy stretch of Beverly Boulevard, Spa Di Da is hidden off a courtyard strung with pink and white paper lanterns. Inside, the walls are covered with a whimsical mural that evokes "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," with oversized fireflies, ladybugs, mushrooms and frogs.

A chalkboard displays the menu, which reads like a cross between a health spa and a candy store with offerings such as the Chocolate Kiss Facial, with warm Belgian chocolate and cucumber slices ($60); the ManiGirl, with a flower petal hand soak and nectarine-flavored lotion ($18); and the Pink Lemonade PediGirl, with a fizzy strawberry and lemon foot soak ($25). Of course, this is a kids' salon, which means that you can top off any treatment with an airbrush tattoo ($10) or face painting ($20).

Although the spa offers grown-up services at what many would consider to be grown-up prices, the idea is to keep everything age-appropriate, says director April Weiss.

"We want to provide quality services in a magical environment," she says, "but we are not trying to turn people into belly-shirt, pop princess divas."

The clientele consists primarily of 5- to 10-year-old girls, but they get plenty of boys as well, Weiss says. For the guys, they offer the ManiGuy ($12), which involves a pool of gooey slime, a temporary tattoo and a thumb-wrestling challenge.

"I've done full-on spa parties just for little boys," Weiss says. "They are always interested or they wouldn't be here, but they are a little hesitant because they think, am I not supposed to be doing this?"

Spas for kids of both genders are slowly becoming popular in big cities across the country. In the Los Angeles area, La Petite Party hosts spa-themed parties for kids, with facials, manicures and pedicures, at its Thousand Oaks location.

Even so, Weiss of Spa Di Da doesn't think spa visits should be a weekly affair for kids.

"I don't expect you to bring in your 4-year-old for $40 pedicures every week. This should be a treat -- birthday, straight A's."

For the Williams sisters, the day at Spa Di Da was truly a special occasion. They were attending "Twinkle Toes: A Princess for a Day," a charity event for foster children sponsored by the Jayneoni Moore Children's Fund.

After Hyatae and Ionisia got the finishing touches put on their makeup and manicure, they joined about 20 other girls, who were decked out in glitter, ribbons and tutus, for a group photo.

The girls' adoptive mother, Ronelle Williams, looked on approvingly.

"I paint their nails at home sometimes," she said. "But here they are getting the royal treatment."

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lea.lion@latimes.com

Spa Di Da, 7319 Beverly Blvd., Suite 1, Los Angeles. Noon-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. (323) 655-9555, www.spadidakids.com.

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