I discovered O’Kari on a cold, wet winter day when all I really wanted to do was hibernate. Instead I started looking for spas around my neighbourhood to see if there was something appealing that I could make a quick run to without exposing myself too much to the climate. O’Kari seemed like a nice option as it was a couple of hundred meters away located right in the centre of Paris. It is a spa only for women that also sells some incredible oils, soaps and other products that do wonders for your skin and hair.
I ordered a full autumn package with hammam, dipping pool, healthy cocktail, body scrub, hair treatment and massage. I’ve always been wary about trying body scrubs as I have sensitive skin and also I have never felt that I needed it. The previous times I tried it I felt like someone was rubbing sand paper all over me. This time I was pleasantly surprised though as the scrub mixed for me was perfect.
Walking down the tiny Parisian street which O’Kari is on I passed by it by accident as it wasn’t an obvious venue. You walk inside a courtyard that has a yoga studio on the right and O’Kari on the left, a good match I must say. Upon entering I was greeted by a pleasant Moroccan lady and I was entranced by the feeling of having entered a different country with exotic smells.
The whole package is a sensorial journey and from the second you walk in to the second you walk out you are in a different world. The staff does not make you hurry and they actually encourage not looking at the time. If you do have an appointment after though like I did, they will make sure that you will make it on time in the most gentle way.
The first step is the changing room where you can find all you need to remove your make-up, hair dryer, mirrors, private changing rooms, water and lockers. For the journey you are given a robe and a disposable string, although you can choose to wear a bikini. In O’Kari, nobody is telling you what time your appointments in your package are and you can take your time.
Next, you go to a peaceful steam room to prepare your skin and relax your body. It is the place where you feel the Paris stress start to melt away while breathing in softly scented steam. After a while a spa practitioner comes to cover your body in black soap before you enter the steam room again.
During my first visit to O’Kari the next step was unfamiliar to me as in spa’s I am used to treatments that are in private rooms. Here there are tiled slabs upon which you lay while you are being washed by a spa practitioner who then commences to scrub your body. As mentioned I have never been a fan of the scrub treatments so I asked the practitioner to be gentle. It turned out to be an excellent experience compared to my previous experiences of being plowed by a lawnmower. The scrubbing was pleasant and relaxing with the scents of O’Kari mixed beauty treatments all around. The hair treatments change per season, but whatever they put in your hair you feel like you want to eat it. This time I was treated with honey mixed with black seed oil and cream. They also have a face mask of pomegranate skin powder. While they are scrubbing you feel like they are scrubbing your worries away.
Afterwards I was led to the massage room where I relaxed until the massage therapist quietly entered. At this point in the journey your body is already like jello so I sometimes fall asleep before the massage therapist even arrives while at O’Kari. Which is why I can only say that “the massages were great” as I was dazed, halfway asleep and just enjoying. After the massage they let you rest. The first time they left me there without a word, I didn’t know if the treatment was over. It’s because this is a timeless space and you can leave when you want.
I managed to wake myself up and move out to the lounge where there is a little healthy bar with Moroccan patisseries, light food , juices and tea. I didn’t know who I was anymore at this point because from entering O’Kari to this moment I went from being a work zombie to riding on a unicorn in the sky. I just remember the owner of the spa approached me with a big smile saying that I looked radiant and glowing. That’s the “O’Kari Effect”.
By Maiken Lorentz
Photos, courtesy of O’Kari