Come for a coif — stay for the Botox. Lofty Salon and Wellness Center, which celebrated its grand opening Friday evening, offers a wide variety of health and beauty services under one roof. Everything from hair and nail care to deep-tissue Swedish massage and acupuncture is available, as well as cosmetic surgery and yoga and pilates.
"The spa industry has evolved very much over the years," said Heather Long, the center's director of business development, pointing to the popularity of day spas in the 80s and the emerging trend toward medical spas, such as Lofty.
"Part of the reason for the merge of the two businesses is that people are looking for a place they trust and a place they can get all their work done," she said. "The blend of the two is what's going to set us apart."
"Doctors are more and more interested in this business," said Mona Harb, the business owner. She also noted that women may prefer to say they went to the spa than to say they went to their plastic surgeon.
Prior to opening Lofty, Harb was a co-owner of Elle et Lui Salon and Day Spa, also in Vienna. Her specialty is hair care, she said, and she has already set up a hair salon that dominates the building's lower level. The upstairs, which is expected to be finished by early January, will house the medical facilities, as well as provide space for yoga and pilates.
Harb said she has been a hair stylist for about 28 years. "I'm very artistic, and it turned out to be something I really love to do," she said.
She has also turned her interest in art toward decorating the interior of the center with an eclectic array of pottery, pastel still lifes and knick-knacks from various cultures. "I will be traveling a lot and bringing interesting things from overseas," she said.
"It's like a home," Long said of the center's interior. "It's unbelievably beautiful and just comfortable."
During the grand opening, artist Christine E. Coviello was in the alcove that will become the nail salon, working on another still life, of which she has several hanging around the building.
"I plan to help people that have talent, and they can be part of Lofty," said Harb.
Another artist in attendance was the center's plastic surgeon and medical director, Dr. George Bitar, who is a painter and photographer in his spare time. He said he uses his artistic skills to guide his cosmetic surgeries and to come up with his own procedures.
One of these is the neck lift, which he can perform independent of a face lift and about which he is writing a book. Another of his original procedures is a temporary solution to the problem of "gummy smile," achieved by injections. Bitar said he also specializes in scar management, using a "scar and tape" system he learned when studying in South Africa.
Another rare service Bitar offers is anti-aging formulas based on a patient's DNA. This is a new line of research that came out of the Human Genome Project, he said. The patient submits a urinalysis for DNA testing. "This will show what genes are deficient, and what nutrients, and then we'll supply those nutrients," he said, the idea being to "give the DNA what it needs so it doesn't repeat mistakes when replicating."
But these are only his specialties. "I do everything from forehead lifts to calf liposuction and everything in between," he said.
Harb pointed out that Bitar was recently named one of the top plastic surgeons in the tri-state area by Washingtonian magazine. Bitar has operated in the area for four years and has offices in Manassas and Fairfax.
Among other specialists employed at the center are two fitness instructors, a nutritionist, a massage therapist and an image consultant.
The image consultant, Diane McFarland, teaches clients how to dress, wear their hair, carry themselves and project confidence. This is a complimentary service for plastic surgery patients, to help them complete their new image.
"I do believe what's going to be very big up there [on the medical floor] is going to be the Botox and Restylane," said Long, referring to two injectible anti-aging treatments. She also noted that about 25 percent of their clientele for those treatments are men.
Among other services offered at Lofty are teeth whitening, laser hair removal, body wraps, body scrubs, facial rejuvenation and reflexology — massaging the bottom of the feet.
For the holiday season, said Long, gift certificates are available for many of the center's services. Also for sale are skin care products and much of the artwork that is on display.