NILES, Mich. — Behind an oversized counter, Susan Sakara greets customers to Lipstick Jungle Spa with a warm smile.
The snowflake chandelier above her casts the reception area in a soft white light, enhancing the soothing effect of walls painted in underseas blue, a color chosen by Sakara for its calming tone.
The air is filled with the scent of Nag Champa incense, an Indian fragrance containing frangipani and sandalwood known by some for its meditative and spiritual qualities.
By the time a customer sits down for a pedicure, it is likely he or she is already feeling the stress of daily life slip away.
“We want people to have an experience of pure relaxation,” Sakara said. “It is such a fast-paced world out there that people really need a place where they can escape that and totally relax.”
Sakara opened the spa/hair salon in 2005 at the historic 1926 Four Flags Hotel, located at the corner of Fourth and Main streets in downtown Niles, Michigan. Built in 1926, the hotel served as the cultural center of Niles for most of the 20th Century and is reputed to have hosted Al Capone, Eleanor Roosevelt, Knute Rockne and Truman Capote, among others.


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