Passion Points: Spa/Wellness
Esthetician Danuta Mieloch was born and raised in Warsaw and has studied at elite technical institutions in Paris and New York City. After twenty years in the industry, she’s been face to face with a range of remarkable individuals, cultural disciplines, and fascinating cities; she’s also snagged a few Art Deco furnishings and vintage posters along the way. Now, she has taken what she sees as a natural step: starting her own spa in downtown Philadelphia. Here, the founder of Rescue Rittenhouse Spa (255 S. 17th Street, Second Floor; 215-772-2766; www.rescuerittenhousespa.com), situated just off of leafy Rittenhouse Square, shares her insight into Polish history, her tips to finding the “green lungs” of her country’s wetlands, and where to get the best Polish food in Philly.
How has your Polish upbringing influenced your skincare practice?
Polish women have not had an easy history. We had to learn how to look our best with less. Polish women have gained a reputation for having beautiful skin and have learned how to make the most with what they have. This influence inspires me every day as I help women look their best.
You’ve had hands-on experience with many types of people in well-known cities. Have you noticed any common differences between the beauty regimens of New Yorkers, Philadelphians and Parisians?
While the desire to look beautiful is universal, European women do seem to have a deeper culture when it comes to skincare and beauty regimen. No one looks more natural than the Parisian. Plastic surgery is rare in Paris. I have witnessed however that in the last ten to fifteen years, New York women have started to recognize that regular skincare maintenance takes you far. A once-a-month facial for a New Yorker is now a norm. Since opening Rescue, I have developed amazing relationships with the women of Philadelphia and have been blessed to be a part of the time they are willing to spend on taking care of their skin.
You incorporate old-world ingredients into some of your treatments and promote their healing powers, while you also offer modern techniques like electric currents. How do you stay on top of global trends in skincare?
I have traveled extensively throughout Europe (Switzerland, France, Italy, etc.), attended anti-aging conferences and learned there are no shortcuts to beauty. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercise, balanced diet, and regular consistent skincare and body care are a must. Elegance takes time and maturity. Learn to be yourself. Don’t allow yourself to copy anyone else’s look. This is the secret to true beauty.
What are some of your favorite beauty or skincare tricks for traveling?
Wear comfortable, yet stylish clothing. Avoid drinking alcohol on the plane. Drink lots of water and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
What are some of your favorite spots to visit in Warsaw? A once a year visit to Poland for me is a must. Warsaw is an urban, cosmopolitan city that is constantly changing and is always exciting. I always try to go to the Koto Bazaar (sometimes called Bazar Na Kole, at 99 Obozowa Street), which is Warsaw’s best flea market. Arrive early to snag art deco furnishings (my personal favorite), glass lamps and clocks, and Communist memorabilia. I collect vintage Polish posters and always find some there.
What would you say is the most under-visited destination in Eastern Europe?
I love the Biebrza River (Suwalki region), in the northeastern part of Poland. The river, which is about 100 miles long, and the national park surrounding it, is renowned for vivid wildlife and is inhabited by hundreds of endangered species. It’s a great trip for eco-travelers, with the park around the river designated as a wetland site of global significance and under strict protection. The region is actually referred to as “The Green Lungs” of Poland.
When in Warsaw, where are some great, easy places to travel to?
The most popular destination outside Warsaw would be Krakow, which is Poland’s cultural capital. Krakow did not suffer as much war damage as Warsaw and boasts a rich mix of architecture: Renaissance, Baroque, Gothic, and Modern. Another short jaunt from Warsaw would be Zelazowa Wola, the birthplace of Frédéric Chopin.
How do you orient yourself when you arrive in a new place?
Take a fast walk, try to adjust to the time change, or enjoy a massage.
Where can we find the best Polish food in Philadelphia and New York?
Besides my apartment on Christmas Eve, the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia has some great authentic Polish restaurants and grocery stores. In New York, I love Teresa’s on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights (80 Montague St,; 718-797-3996), where you can eat pierogis steps away from a promenade overlooking Manhattan.
If you could tell the world one thing they probably don’t know about Poland, what would it be?
I think a very interesting Polish political fact that most people don’t know is that Poland and the American colonies were creating very similar Constitutions at the same time in history. The US Constitution was ratified first, while Poland’s was adopted on May 3rd, 1791 and is claimed to be the first modern constitution of Europe.
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