Busy entrepreneurs Diana Danieletto and her partner Alain De Braekeleer learned to slack the reins somewhat and relax during their many travels to exotic places. Demanding as they are, however, they had never experienced an extraordinary and above all complete and high-quality wellness experience at a reasonable price. That’s why they decided to create it themselves. The result is KODO, a breathtaking, Japanese-inspired beauty salon with a zen attitude and extensive foot spa that opened in Sint-Genesius-Rode last April. Simply the best beauty salon we discovered the past year…
Text Anja Van Der Borght – Pictures WOWwatchers.com
“When this space in the immense corner villa – that used to be our real estate office – became available, we were just a crazy dream away from the ideal cocoon to pamper body and mind”, says Diana Danieletto, business manager of KODO. “That ideal had to be done in a qualitative space through olfactory journeys: combining care, treatments and original massages of face and body with natural products in order to evoke (youth) memories. Scents play an important role in my life. For five years I worked in a perfumery where I could enjoy scents that reminded me of my childhood; bringing to mind again those wonderful moments when I played with my brother around our fig trees in Italy. ‘KODO’, the name of a Japanese art that honors perfume, was obvious. At KODO, we combine fragrances with rigorous and personalized treatments inspired by that specific touch and approach practiced in Asia for centuries.We combine this unique physical touch with Swedish and Balinese massage techniques, but also with protocols from the brands that we use and sell. For example, we are an exclusive sales point in Belgium for the French organic brands Kos and Codage and the French top range for children Ouate. The latter brand is synonymous with a level of personalization that few brands offer and allows us to tailor a treatment using different serums. In addition, the combination of active ingredients and fragrances really attracted me to Codage.”
At KODO, we combine fragrances with rigorous and personalized treatments inspired by that specific touch and approach practiced in Asia for centuries.Diana Danieletto, business manager of KODO
The two beauticians on duty, Abigail and Laetitia, urge us to get up from the cosy, velvet seats at the reception where we were enjoying our tea and start immediately with our treatments. Via a sales corner with beautiful products and a wall full of different exotic Japanese tea blends and accompanying accessories (all for sale), we pass the nail bar and the extensive foot spa with six luxury chairs designed by Gharieni. It is here that we can take a seat for our medical pedicure with semi-permanent nail polish from the Belgian nail care brand ProNails. Our wellness partner on duty opts for the spa pedicure. We brief Abigail that we don’t like a treatment which involves extensive working between our toes and she clearly understood that. At no point does removing calluses, excess skin or nail feel painful. Not even the filing. Unfortunately, we often had a different experience. We consider a pedicure to be just about the most sensitive treatment, so it is an ideal barometer to feel how the beauticians do their work. And here at Kodo they deliver a perfect job. Yet we are not numb either. That one moment when Abigail goes flat with the file on the soles of our feet, we too can’t suppress a tickly feeling. My wellness partner is a lot more sensitive in this area and usually can’t bear to be ‘worked’ on his feet, but he likes to come back for the beneficent and velvety hands of Laetitia. The pedicure is concluded with a gentle massage of the feet with Babassu Butter from Kos Paris. “It’s a butter made from the coconut that is a real boon for dry skin,” says Abigail. “It is also very suitable if you suffer from eczema or psoriasis. Everyone should have a big pot of this at home. I can immediately see on the skin of my customers whether they have lubricated theirs with Babassu Butter or not.”
We experience massage techniques that we have never experienced before; not even in fancy five-star hotels abroad.Anja Van Der Borght, wellness specialist
Care for kids
At Kodo they also offer facial treatments for children. As we tend to be extra careful in what children put on their face we want to know more about this. “Of course the intention with children is that the whole thing remains playful”, says Laetitia. “We are not going to apply masks or the like, after all, a children’s skin does not need that. After a cleansing with a whipped cream ointment, we move on to a cleansing with an eau micellaire, followed by a massage with an oil and finishing with a light moisturizing cream, all from the French childcare brand Ouate. It is our intention to teach children that taking good care of themselves is important and fun.
On our walk to the duo massage cabin, we notice a separate cabinet in the corner with a separate outer door. “It is our intention to offer our customers the best service and best results”, says Diana. “That is why we also work with the famous Samir Karam, a Lebanese cosmetic surgeon who has already made his mark in our country, Italy and Lebanon. He takes care of the micro-surgical procedures for which the customer does not have to be hospitalized, as well as injecting muscle relaxants, fillers, hyaluronic acid, PRP treatments, intensive peelings, etc. We attach great importance to quality. With us, the human being takes precedence over the business.”
We continued our journey and don’t know where to look first, from the green wall of plants, to the original lighting, the artwork and decoration. Diana and Alain had an eye for the tiniest details and spared no expense. They wanted to create a real zen cocoon where you lose all sense of time and space, undisturbed by resonances or outside noise. They therefore placed acoustic panels everywhere, matching also the Japanese Zen interior with their round openings and the wooden cabinets of the Leuven furnishing specialist Equipal. The result is no ordinary beauty salon, but a very luxurious space with eleven treatment cabins in which you get the feeling of being embraced. “We wanted to be able to receive customers from A to Z with a total program,” says Diana. “Every facial treatment also starts with a thorough skin analysis in which we gain insight into the condition of the client’s skin, but also get to know his/her habits.”
In addition to the relaxing ‘Cérémonie des huiles’ (Balinese massage) where the body is treated and massaged with soft, slow movements for mental relaxation, you can also opt for a Deep tissue massage or the firmer sports massage that acts more on the muscles to relax them.Diana Danieletto
Unseen massage movements
After our skin analysis, we are taken care of for a good two hours for a test of the Codage facial care and Cérémonie des Huiles – customized body massage. From the wide range of fragrances for massage oils (from ‘Fig of Provence’ to ‘Eucalyptus’ or ‘Ambre with tonkabean’) we choose ‘Monoï’. It is now just a matter of immediately dreaming away on the massage table to an exotic island. But first the facial care. The first product, the Baume Démaquillante, with its delicious scent that combines almond, vanilla and jasmine, is an instant hit, just like the mask that Abigail applies to our face in the middle of the treatment.
While the mask is setting, our feet are massaged with a melting shea butter.
Circular, fan-like movements, squeezing movements, an original tjik-tjak movement whether it concerns our face or our body, we experience massage techniques that we have never experienced before; not even in fancy five-star hotels in the city or during our five-star tented camp massage in the Thai jungle. At some point we are massaged in such a way that the movement of our bodies and the stroke of Abigail’s arms along the massage table make us feel like we are floating on an air mattress gently rocking on the sea waves.
Her technique of removing residual peeling granules with a cotton pad as if they are feathers is heavenly, and then there are those ‘pilou-pilou’ microfibre washcloths with which she cleans our faces. What a thrill! This was by far the best facial annex body massage we’ve ever experienced with an effect that we still felt the next day. We were as zen as Kodo’s beautiful Japanese courtyard garden ! A real must for added value seekers in the field of wellness with a wide choice of massages. In fact, Kodo in Sint-Genesius-Rode was the revelation regarding beauty institutes of 2021 for us.
Info Kodo, Skin Care & Beauty Center, Drève de Linkebeek 46, 1640 Rhode-Saint-Genèse, tel. 02-898. 32.30, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.kodo-ji.be