WESTBROOK—Chances are, you’ve never seen anything like Craft Estética in town.
With features like a Himalayan salt room and a soak lounge, the new, upscale day spa at 17 Ash St. brings a unique business to the city, and to Greater Portland.
The gleam of the new spa, with a glass facade just feet away from the riverwalk and the Presumpscot River, fits right in on the ground floor of the office building that’s also home to Ethos/VONT, a marketing company whose vision for the revitalization of downtown Westbrook is shared by spa owner Kathleen Shaw.
Shaw, an aesthetician and owner of Craft Estética, said work on the space began in July, when the ground floor was still one large room. Over the last few months, it was transformed into a state-of-the-art spa specializing in holistic treatments, including the area’s only salt room.
“It’s nice that it’s finally come to life,” she said of the long process toward opening. “It was worth it.”
Craft Estética officially opened on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
Shaw, a Gorham resident, said she had been looking at other places for her spa, butafter finding the Ash Street location, she “fell in love with the space, and the riverfront.” Building owner Rob Mitchell’s attitude was “contagious,” she said.
Mitchell, who began developing the property in 2014, designed the building to face the river, which he believes should be a focal point for the city. Craft Estética’s ground floor space also features an outdoor patio.
“This gave me the opportunity to start with my own vision, and make it fit here,” Shaw said of the location. “I love the energy here.”
The spa’s signature service is it’s Himalayan salt room, which according to Shaw, is a first in Maine.
On Monday, Shaw described the room as normally hosting five to six people at a time, where customers sit in “zero-gravity,” lounging chairs while therapeutic salt is blown into the room. Blocks of Himalayan salt also line the walls.
Shaw said the salt essentially acts like a sponge, absorbing bacteria or mucus from a person’s airways. Salt treatments, she said, are also known to boost the body’s natural immune, nervous and lymphatic systems.
“It’s also very relaxing,” she said of the treatment.
Shaw said she wanted Craft Estética to take a broader approach to health and wellness, which led to adding elements like the salt room. She said she and her husband tried a salt room in Florida last year, and were sold on the experience.
The soak lounge, in its own nook with views of the Presumpscot River, offers customized foot soaks and massage. There are also separate rooms for other skin and body treatments.
“We try to approach things from an inside-out point of view,” she said. “If you’re healthy on the inside, it comes to the outside.”
Shaw said she has three employees, with the spa also offering specialized services for oncology and maternity clients.
For Westbrook, the business represents another significant investment in the downtown, something that the city and its downtown organization hopes will catch on.
Abigail Cioffi, the coordinator of the Downtown Westbrook Coalition, called Craft Estética this week “a great addition to the downtown.”
She said businesses like the spa are important from a coalition perspective because they create a diverse range of businesses downtown.
“We have many terrific restaurants, and it’s important to have non-restaurant businesses so visitors have multiple things to do,” she said in an email Tuesday. “This business also fits in well with our goal to promote Westbrook as a creative haven that serves both newcomers and longtime Westbrook residents.”
Craft Estética is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 am.-2 p.m. Over the last week, the business has had a soft opening, but Shaw said she plans to have a grand opening or open house after the holidays.
“We’re definitely ready for people to come in,” she said.
Craft Estética owner and aesthetician Kathleen Shaw mixes a customized lavender body lotion at the new state-of-the-art spa on Ash Street in Westbrook.
Craft Estética offers face and body treatments, a soak lounge and halotherapy in its Himalayan salt room, a first for Maine.
The Himalayan salt room at Craft Estética in Westbrook.