Self-care retreat: Russell day spa helps locals prioritize comfort, rejuvenation

·4 min read

May 26—Story by Mark Williams — Photography by Rachael Layne

The world today is ripe with strife and stress. From the ongoing Covid pandemic and threats of war abroad to our collective struggles to make ends meet, there is seemingly no escape from the demanding pressures of the daily grind. In tough times like these, self-care rarely ends up on our to-do list. However, one new business in the Tri-State wants to change that.

"It is incredibly important for people to take care of themselves," says Jordan Hall, manager at The Nest, a new full service day spa located in the burgeoning heart of downtown Russell, Kentucky. "I tell people all the time, I don't care what you're doing, one day out of the month, come get a massage. Come get a facial. Do something for yourself, and look forward to that day. You can do for others all you want, but if you're not really taking care of yourself in the process, you're not really giving them the best you."

Housed in a fully renovated and transformed 100-year-old bank, The Nest is a much-needed escape from the chaotic outside world. Offering treatments like couples massages, mud and seaweed wraps, hot stone massages, a variety of facials and Halotherapy (a unique form of salt therapy), the one-stop day spa is built on the ideas of comfort and rejuvenation. Cushy lounge couches line the Relaxation Room, where guests can have a light snack and drink before starting their chosen treatments. Ambient music gently echoes down the hall to the Tub Room, where two heated Hydrotherapy tubs equipped with 42 jets and aromatherapy pods await. The Nest also features medical services like Botox and medical grade facials, making it the only full service day and medical spa in the Tri-State area. Before The Nest, many seeking these kinds of services were forced to travel outside the area to places like Lexington and Columbus. Building The Nest in the Tri-State was paramount to the founders.

"I'm from Russell, born and raised, as is the owner, Tracy Frye," Hall says. "This is our hometown. And we wanted to do this here, to be part of the revitalization that is happening. I went away for around eight years, working in spas throughout Kentucky, and through those different experiences, I think we found what works in spas and what doesn't. We probably could have opened a place somewhere like Lexington or Louisville, but we didn't want to. We wanted to do it here, and to be part of our own hometown community."

A licensed and practicing massage therapist for over 13 years, Hall was running her own private practice in the area when owner Tracy Frye approached her with a concept.

"Tracy's mom would make her a nest out of blankets and pillows on the couch when she wasn't feeling well," Hall says with a smile. "It was the safest, warmest place, a place where she felt comfort. And it came to her, that this is the feeling she wanted to give to others."

Together, Hall and Frye ran with the idea. Only seven months later, in the summer of 2021, The Nest officially opened its doors. Now staffed with over a dozen employees, including nurse practitioner Erin Quillen and lead esthetician Sabrina Wells, The Nest is constantly booked with clients from all over the area and beyond. The reception has been positive, to say the least.

"I think we hit the perfect storm," Hall says. "We opened this place at the exact right time. A time when so many people have been thinking about doing that self-care that they've been missing for the last two years. And the community response has been amazing. I've never seen anything like it. The support has been incredible. We've been welcomed with open arms."

Quite ironically, The Nest's founders aren't ones to rest on their success. Driven by high demand and the support of the community, The Nest now has expansion plans.

"We'll soon be adding 2,600 square feet to the facility," Hall says. "We plan on adding 10 new rooms, a cute little outdoor courtyard with twinkly lights, it's going to be really cool. In all, it will be a 5,600 square foot day and med spa. We've outgrown our current facility really fast, which is honestly the best problem to ever have."

Though the facilities may be growing, don't expect The Nest to sacrifice any of its serene ambiance or homegrown intimacy.

"We pride ourselves on quality over quantity. The last thing you want to feel at a spa is rushed. We want it to be more personable. We want to have relationships with our clients. No matter what, it will always feel homey, the way a nest should feel." a