In the harmonious town of Las Catalinas, along the Pacific in Guanacaste, where front doors are seen as gifts to the street and the surrounding ocean sings the small town to sleep each night, lives a woman who epitomizes health and beauty. A vibrant mother of two, Angie Herman and her husband Neal built their home in this new New Urbanist town that is blissfully car-free. Inspired by the adjacent Blue Zone of Nicoya, Angie’s lifestyle is not just about living longer, but living better.
In 2018, Angie opened WAKE day spa just a short walk down a cobble-stone street from her home, and she’s proud to serve the community she lives in, along with visitors to the town and hotel guests of Casa Chameleon and Santarena. The three-room day spa delivers solid spa treatments (I had the excellent Essential Facial that included a seriously good facial massage and cooling rose quartz stones) and one of the best spa boutiques I’ve come across, sourced entirely from Costa Rican designers.
WAKE is a reflection of Angie, a licensed esthetician, avid mountain biker, and student of fashion. Prior to returning home to Costa Rica, Angie spent years working as a practitioner at the award-winning Peninsula Spa in Manhattan. In addition to her work with ESPA, she held administrative roles at Cornelia Spa. Her initial training began with Christine Valmy.
You can often find Angie at WAKE, taking treatments herself after a bike race, curating her retail collection, or training with her staff. Angie and her team have created a unique space in a lovely town.
What inspired the name “WAKE,” and what is your philosophy behind the spa?
Our name, WAKE, was inspired by multiple interpretations of the word. In addition to a suggestion of awakening the senses and mental clarity, we love the image of the trail behind a boat in the ocean—the idea of what comes after, “in the wake of,” great action/activity. Going beyond the typical spa atmosphere of zen relaxation, we hope to create an inspiring place to be. Our facilities and ambiance are thoughtfully designed to include color, fun, and artistic elements that feel more social and thought-provoking than the usual spa serenity.
My lifestyle is a contrast of elements which influence a wellbeing lifestyle at WAKE. My athletic pursuits require intense recovery elements, while beach living inspires longevity and beauty.
What does living a spa lifestyle mean to you, and how do you incorporate spa wisdom into your lifestyle?
My lifestyle is a contrast of elements which influence a wellbeing lifestyle at WAKE. My athletic pursuits require intense recovery elements, while beach living inspires longevity and beauty. As a result, WAKE offers a complement to the outdoor adventures of Costa Rica and the many active lifestyles in our community. WAKE is a refuge from the elements, a place to regroup and feel clean and cool. Whether someone comes in for a targeted sports massage after a tough workout in nature, or for a relaxing 90-minute massage to relieve accumulated life stresses, or simply for a coffee and a manicure—our goal is that all guests leave feeling recharged and motivated for healthy living.
How do you keep yourself fit and healthy? What’s your regimen?
My regimen starts with a healthy diet, programmed by a sports nutritionist. I work out every day on the bike, and sprinkle in functional workouts and lap swimming. My skincare regimen is a daily process, along with massage. I also get a really great night’s sleep, rest is critically important. Above all, I surround myself with family and friends and try to have fun. That keeps me feeling great!
I love your spa boutique. Would you tell me something about the many Costa Rican designers you feature?
That means so much to me, thank you. Here are a few of my favorites:
Carmina Romero: Carmiña Romero was inspired by the antique painted flooring of iconic buildings found here in Costa Rica. Her work has been showcased in New York Fashion Week, Pasarela Larios /Málaga Fashion Week, Montecarlo Fashion Week, and many prestigious runways and magazines in Costa Rica, United States, Spain, France, Chile, Perú, and Guatemala.
Guayaberi: Guayaberi is a Costa Rican designer swimwear brand known for its great fitting, sexy cut-out one piece swimsuits. Founded by Lula in 2011, with the desire to embrace three things—a passion for design, a love affair with Costa Rica wildlife, and a motivation to better life conditions for women in her community.
John Howard: John creates a line of menswear which he describes as “slow fashion.” It is sustainable, original, comfortable, and elegant. He uses a lot of products which have an SPF Rating of 50, which is great for beach days.
Sylvia Santacruz: For more than 12 years Sylvia has been dedicated to the manufacturing and sale of exclusively Costa Rican-designed beachwear and swimsuits of recognized prestige. Sylvia Santacruz is her premium brand, with a variety of styles, fabrics, and elaboration; both for adult women, as well as for girls of all ages. She is one of the most underrated designers in Costa Rica.
Praia: Praia designs are a work of art with social awareness. The essence of the brand consists of clean elements, neutral colors, and soft fabrics, providing a sense of freedom. Each garment expresses a story of its own; simplicity inspires the magnificent designs.
You have beautiful skin, would you mind sharing your skincare routine?
Face: Cleanse, tone, exfoliate (2x week); moisturize, and mask (1x Week).
Body: I do a scrub most days, simply because I am usually covered with dirt, bike oil, or sand. Beach days, mountain biking, and life near the rainforest can be a bit grimy! I also moisturize everyday, twice a day.
Which spa pro brands are you currently using in the spa, and is there a Costa Rican line you use?
We use Biosfera for all the body treatments and June Jacobs for the facials. We like to use some ingredients from our volcanic region, and plenty of organic fruit extracts from the area. Dragon Fruit is the up-and-coming ingredient in the region, which is part of a skin firming treatment. Seems to be popular.
Please share a bit about the spa’s design. Who made that gorgeous tile in the front area, for example.
The founding partner of WAKE drove the interior design. Renate Doerry’s inspiration was found throughout the town of Las Catalinas and her travels throughout Central America. The traditional and tropical materials used are made in the region, and can be seen throughout the aesthetic of town.
Mary Bemis is Founder & Editorial Director of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com. She is a pioneering spa journalist, most recently honored as one of the "Top 30 Influential Voices Transforming Wellness." She is an inaugural recipient of Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and was honored by ISPA with its distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She is a Global Wellness Day Advisor, and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.
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