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There's nothing like strutting around naked. American society is far too hung up on going "au naturel." Still, many women are uncomfortable baring it all in front of men, while many males can likewise feel embarrassed under the scrutiny of the fairer sex (especially if it's cold). If only there were a warm and inviting place where men and women could free themselves of the shackles of clothing and let it all hang out in segregated male and female locales — an oasis in which to swim and lounge and let the cares of the world melt away. There is such a place, it's in the Fairfax County community of Centreville and it's called Spa World.
Spa World ( 703-815-8959 or spaworldusa.com ) is a 50,000-square-foot relaxation destination. After entering and paying the absurdly cheap fee of $35 per adult (children 2 to 12 are $20; children under 2 are free), you are given a cotton shirt, a pair of shorts and a key on a wristband. The key is first used to open a small locker to leave your shoes in the main entrance hall. It's hygienic and also symbolic: You are leaving the old world behind. Here, men and women separate into individual locker rooms, where the key is next used for a clothes locker. After disrobing and taking a quick shower, it's time to slip into the pool. The men's and women's areas each feature identical Bade pools, saunas and steam rooms. The Bade pool has nine stations with unique whirlpool jets and showers for different parts of the body — a powerful neck shower, a back massager, a leg and calf station, and a floatation bath that elevates your body on a current of water. You can either work through all of the stations or go back and forth from various hot tubs and saunas and a steam room to the pool. It's recommended to spend at least an hour in the pool area, but you could easily spend almost all day there. The entrance fee is good for 23 hours as long as one stays within Spa World. However, the Bade pool is just the beginning.
After returning to the locker room and drying off, don the loose-fitting shorts and shirt and enter the coed common area. Large straw mats are strewn upon a heated ceramic floor in an airy atrium with patrons sitting, reading, stretching and sometimes napping on the mats. The communal space opens to a variety of poultice rooms. These heated chambers differ from a sauna in that radiant heat, not heated air, provides the warmth. Each poultice room uses a different radiated mineral, which, it's claimed, imbues a special healing property. (The charcoal room, for example, allegedly improves blood circulation.) The best room, by far, is the red-clay room. A foot-deep layer of marble-sized clay balls coats the floor. Lying down, the balls conform to the shape of your body for a truly magical experience. There is also an ice room for chilling out and closing the pores after all of the heat. Bring a towel to sit on so your backside doesn't freeze on one of the marble stools within the room, which looks like the inside of a frosted-over freezer.
If pools, saunas, steam rooms and poultice rooms aren't quite enough to relieve the stress of modern life, Spa World also offers shiatsu and deep-tissue massages, reflexology, body scrubs, facials, and a salon for manicures and pedicures, plus a well-equipped fitness center and a gift shop that sells jewelry and cosmetics.
The on-site cafe and juice bar serves Korean dishes and sushi. The locker key also works as a credit card for making purchases within Spa World. Off site, Panino Restaurant ( 703-335-2566 or girasole-panino.com ) in nearby Manassas serves fresh and organic produce and grass-fed beef from The Plains, as well as Alaskan salmon, truffles from Italy, and French and Italian pastries. The Italian-style menu is created by chef Louis Patierno. Be sure to enjoy the artwork on the walls painted by the chef's brother, Pennsylvania artist Robert Patierno.
There are separate men's and women's hostel-type sleeping rooms within Spa World. Access is included in the $35-per-person entrance fee, making it cheaper than any hotel. For a romantic escape with a bit more privacy, try the Bennett House Bed and Breakfast ( 800-354-7060 or virginiabennetthouse.com ) in Manassas. The inn features only two guest rooms, making it perfect for getting away from it all.
Rev your engines up as you return to the real world at Allsports Indoor Kart Racing ( 571-434-9566 or all sportsgp.com ). The track, a bit less than 300 meters, is modeled after the Gran Prix racecourses in Monaco, and the carts can reach top speeds of around 35 mph. Finish your lap fast enough and your time may qualify you for the best of the day, week or month lists, not to mention the all-time top 50. Your first race is $24.50 for nonmembers, with rates dropping for subsequent trips around the track.