When I went to Chicago for a trade show last spring, who would have guessed that I would be sitting in one of Chicago’s up and coming day spas, getting a manicure from Princess Diana’s former personal manicurist? Certainly not me.

After a hectic day on the trade show floor, what better place to go than the spa? And what better spa to go to in Chicago than Kiva? Located at Water Tower Place, adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, this upscale day spa has already, in its first year, received numerous awards and recognitions.

Upon entering, I immediately was drawn to the circular set-up of the room. After being offered a cup of hot tea, I was led back to the nail area – home to the three manicure stations and two European pedicure stations, which are on the first floor in the salon (along with hair design and makeovers). Gentle music and soothing smells helped to set the mood as I prepared to receive my manicure. (The floor is even heated so pedicure clients don’t get cold toes!)

“Do you love your nails?” asked Robert Bill, the lead nail technician, who formerly traveled with Princess Diana and now calls several more celebrities his clients. “You have to love your nails if you want them to be beautiful.” As the lead nail technician, Robert has been with Kiva since its opening, and also helped to develop the hand and foot therapies that kiva offers.

Love my nails? This is something that I don’t think about on a regular basis, but I was willing to give it a shot for the next hour. First, each client receives her (or his) own sealed packet of instruments, which have gone through an autoclave. Then the client can choose from three custom spa hand and foot therapies.

My Blended Beauties manicure arrived via waiter and it looked good enough to eat. (A botanical blend of papaya, pineapple, and yogurt – this all-organic hand treatment could just as well have been my breakfast.) As Robert treated and massaged my hands, he explained the intricacies of the salon with me.

The name Kiva comes from the Native American Indians, referring to an underground ceremonial chamber that is usually round, to which members of the Anasazi tribe descended in search of self-renewal. (So that is where the circular set-up comes in …) The philosophy behind Kiva is “the whole body nurtured.”

After my rejuvenating manicure, Robert finished me off with their most-popular “Kiva Combo” polish – a combination of two light pink OPI polishes. So now do I love my nails? My answer has to be a resounding yes!

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Kiva. Lead nail technician Robert Bill took extra special care of me, and when I left I felt just like a princess (who loves her nails).

The uniformity of the nail stations, as well as the hand and foot therapies, ensures that Kiva’s nail clients will always receive the same service, no matter who their technician is. The floor of this room is heated so pedicure clients don’t get cold feet during their service.


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