The first thing you notice when entering Golden Reef Boutique and Body Spa at 555 First Street in downtown Benicia is the tropical beach atmosphere.
“I had one customer say, ‘I just really feel like I’m on vacation when I’m in here,’” said the spa’s owner, 1996 Benicia High School graduate Natalie Mortensen. “Everything in here is going to be fruity and tropical and organic as much as possible.”
Golden Reef has two back rooms, the spa room where “we do the body work” and the surfer girl room where the spray tan booth is located. Men are allowed in the surfer girl room for their spray tans.
“Our signature treatment in the spa room is the aroma therapy steam canopy and body detox treatment,” said Mortensen.
According to Mortensen, the therapy is designed to rid the body of toxins and has the added benefit of helping women lose water weight and aids in cellulite reduction as well.
Mortensen lights up when she talks about the spray tanning work she does at the spa and, if clients prefer, at private homes. “You make people feel happy,” she said.
According to Mortensen, a spray tan isn’t a stain but a derivative of sugar molecules that reacts with amino acids in dead skin cells causing the cells to turn brown. The tans last five to 10 days depending on how fast a body sheds the skin- a never ending process in humans.
Mortensen, an esthetician by training, works one day a week at a medical office where she does advanced skin care. Golden Reef is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. and by appointment. Mortensen encourages her clients to book their appointments online.
Mortensen took two years off from her skin care work to learn the art of spray tanning. She particularly likes working with wedding parties. “Everybody laughs and has a good time,” said Mortensen. “When I’m finished everyone looks like they just got back from Tahiti.
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