Saturday, March 7, 2015

New service for travelers: Book a massage at your hotel (or home)

As I lay on the massage table, I mentally drifted into a happy place while the therapist knead away ever-present tightness in my back and shoulders (from sitting at my computer and writing every day). I thought how wonderfully indulgent this felt.
Barkwell adjusts her table for in-home massage. Therapists
supply all necessary equipment.
Billie Jean Barkwell, a massage therapist with 10 years experience, had arrived minutes before to set up her massage table in my home. Barkwell had recently begun working with Soothe, a service new to Austin that’s finding a warm reception among wellness-oriented residents and travelers to the city.

I love a good spa session, but this was even better. Soothe is a massage-on-demand service currently available in Austin, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix/Scottsdale, and Miami. With launches planned soon in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York (and other major U.S. cities within the next two years), it will be easy to get a relaxing massage on short notice, especially welcome if you’ve just arrived in a city or need to relax after a hard day of business or touring.
Merlin Kauffman, founder and CEO of Soothe says, “When I realized that after a long day of stressful traveling I wanted a massage but wasn’t able to book an appointment at a spa on such short notice, a simple idea was born. What if an independent massage therapist with free time could help me relax with a massage at my hotel?”

Turn your hotel room into a spa.
Kauffman created an online and mobile app that connects people who want to book same-day, in-home massages with skilled, licensed massage therapists. In fact, I went online at 9:00 a.m. and booked a massage for 11:00 the same day. Therapists have the option to respond and accept an appointment if they are available or to pass if it doesn’t fit their schedule. All therapists are vetted, insured, and willing to travel to a client’s destination.

“With text messaging and a GPS, this has become the Uber of massage,” Barkwell says, referencing the popular transportation service.

“We’ve made it super convenient for a person to book a spa-quality massage via their mobile phone or computer with as little as 60 minutes advance notice,” Kauffmans says. “Soothe’s uniqueness lies in its ability to connect the client to an available therapist who can quickly come to the client’s location and deliver a 5-star service at an affordable price. We have removed all the hassle for the customer, including the issue of paying the gratuity and taxes which are included. Guests at hotels can also use this service.”

Massages are available from 9:00 a.m. through midnight each day, and clients can choose Swedish, deep tissue, sports, or couples massage in 60, 90, or 120 minute sessions. You can also select the gender of your therapist. Regardless of the type massage selected, prices of $99 (60 minute), $139 (90 minute), and $169 (120 minute) per person are the same and paid via credit card online.
“The ease of experiencing this new affordable luxury leaves our clients feeling very soothed and satisfied,” Kauffman says. I couldn't agree more!

Book 24/7 online at or via the downloadable Soothe iOS app  Or call 800-960-7668 during business hours.

Photos by Larry Burmeier



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