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Spa retreat featuring salt room, infrared sauna opens in Waterside Place

La Chic Bohème perseveres through construction delays to offer a unique experience.

Every space in La Chic Bohème is artistically designed, such as the tile.
Every space in La Chic Bohème is artistically designed, such as the tile.
Photo by Jay Heater
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Nobody was more excited for the Grand Opening of La Chic Bohème than its owner, Holly Sharpe

The new Waterside Place business is billed as "a luxury spa and style house that includes a spa retreat with four luxury treatment rooms, a med spa, salt room, infrared sauna, permanent makeup room, lash lounge, and wet room with vichy rain shower."

But Sharpe promises that her dream spa is much more.

She said it is a space that people can go when life gets too fast, and when there is a need for emotional well-being.

Sharpe's dreams of launching her luxury spa at Waterside Place in Lakewood Ranch came with some challenges after she signed a lease in February 2023. At the time, she was running a smaller spa in Sarasota, and planned for a seamless transition.

Then came delays, and delays, and more delays on the construction side. Eventually, Sharpe's lease at her previous space came to an end and she was left without a space to operate her business. This nine-month closure was not only hard on Sharpe and her family, but on her employees as well. Being sympathetic that her former employees needed to work, Holly gave them her blessing to move forward with their careers elsewhere.

She and her husband, Aaron Sharpe, a commercial pilot, had to put their savings on the line to pay mounting bills, and she eventually hired a contractor who delivered on his promises.

"For a while, I was on an emotional rollercoaster," Sharpe said. "Every day I was met with a new obstacle and, being a woman of faith, I prayed that the right people would come into my life and help me bring the project across the finish line."

With a new contractor, Sharpe began to see her vision come to life. On March 9, she was able to open the doors to her new space which promises to be a retreat for its guests.

Holly Sharpe's La Chic Bohème at Waterside Place has a warm, relaxing feeling throughout.
Photo by Jay Heater

"We are about the complete experience," she said. "It is so amazing to combine the interior design and aesthetics. I didn't want it to be cold and sterile."

It is anything but.

The front of the spa is light and airy with window decorations that seem to welcome customers to a place where they can leave their worries behind.

The different rooms, even where it calls for darker surroundings, are warm and inviting. And when the patron lays back and looks up toward the ceiling, Sharpe has decorated it with artsy wallpaper.

"It is all too common these days to visit a spa and be rushed through the service,” she said. "There is no focus on the relaxation benefits. My vision is that our guests are receiving much more than a facial, or a massage, they are on a journey to overall well-being."

All treatments in the day spa retreat begin in the Himalayan salt room and sauna, and are followed by an herbal foot soak so guests can release any tension before the main treatment begins.

Sharpe said when has gone elsewhere for a massage it easily takes her 30 minutes to relax before she actually could clear her mind enough to enjoy that massage. She said it takes some time to disconnect the stresses from the outside world and that their concept allows for this decompression prior to the guests massage even begins.

"Our intent is to bring a 5-star experience, similar to what you would expect at a luxury hotel, and I believe we have achieved that here." Sharpe said.

"We purchased new equipment and fixtures," she said. "Everything in here is high quality and thoughtfully created to create a calming and inviting atmosphere."

From the time a person enters the 2,000-square-foot La Chic Bohème, they can tell they are going to have a different experience. Sharpe has her own fragrance circulating through the air conditioning.

"I like 5-star hotels, and we bring that service," Sharpe said.

It took Sharpe some time to get on a career path that would take her to La Chic Bohème, which caters to both women and men. She developed an early love for both the beauty industry and interior design, but in her early years was unable to make the connection on how to make a living doing what she loved.

La Chic Bohème has an infrared sauna and a salt room.
Photo by Jay Heater

She and Aaron moved to Sarasota in 2010, and she started to pursue businesses after she became pregnant with her son, Finley, who now is 12. 

Her first stand-alone location was in a small bungalow in downtown Sarasota but she soon outgrew that space and moved into a larger space on Hawthorne street where they would operate for the following five years

Her challenges followed with the building of La Chic Bohème, but that is now behind her.

She has 10 employees at her new spa with nine women and one man. 

"This feels homey," she said of her new location. "This is a full sensory experience."

"Making a space beautiful and joyful is all about mixing the things you love, and La Chíc Bohème is full of the things I love," she said. "They are things that make me smile, … ornate mirrors, gorgeous wallpaper, grounding colors and inviting scents. It’s about finding balance and tranquility so that our guests can come in and zen out."

She said all 10 of her employees share all the various duties at the spa, to keep everyone involved in many aspects of operations which is paramount in building the careers of her employees.

"I want to create a family here," she said. "There is excitement because we all share a common goal and a shared love for this industry. We all got into this business to help others find balance, and we help each other find that balance everyday.”

"I sit here and smile, because I have people who I can trust on my team."

She said their goal is "to treat the whole person, to be an escape for them from whatever stresses they have in their daily lives."



Jay Heater

Jay Heater is the managing editor of the East County Observer. Overall, he has been in the business more than 41 years, 26 spent at the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay area as a sportswriter covering college football and basketball, boxing and horse racing.

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