Person Behind The Place:
The spa industry is not an easy track. No one knows better than Yuan Spa owner Zhiqin Zhang who started her life in China working in a radio station as an electrical engineer. After immigrating to the United States in 1996, Zhang found herself at beauty school learning to become an esthetician. She clocked in 900 long and hard hours before obtaining her license and entering the spa world. Zhang worked in many different spas over the years, including one in New York where clients included Kevin Bacon and Dann Florek from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In need of change, she found herself back in the Pacific Northwest where she finally opened her own small spa in Redmond. A huge success, Zhang sold the spa and headed to Downtown Bellevue in 2012 opening an 8,000 square-foot space known today as Yuan Spa.
Today, Zhang is continuing to grow her spa empire throughout the Eastside, starting with a second location in Totem Lake which will open in early November. We sat down with Zhang and discussed Yuan Spa and her favorite spots in the Heart of Bellevue.
What type of services does Yuan Spa offer?
We offer all sorts of services including massages, skincare, nail service and body treatments. Our massage service is extremely popular because it directly works on soft tissue. People feel better instantly unlike medication that takes time to make your body feel better. Massages work on your muscles and relieve your pain and anxiety. We also offer hydrotherapy, another service that people seem to enjoy. When I was a little girl, I used to go to commune bathhouses and have always wanted to open one here. The word Yuan means ‘source of’ something, and at Yuan Spa we believe our life comes from the source of water. In Asian countries, water relates to wealth, this is why the concept of our spa revolves around it.
How have you seen the spa world change since opening your first establishment in 2004?
People are more focused on their skin now more than ever. I think it’s the culture and economical change... People want to present themselves in the best way possible and now they have funds to accomplish it. Beauty and health are so important. Even the path to my career has changed. When I came here in 2004, the hours you had to work to get your license is not nearly as high as it is now. They require more knowledge, and the science behind it is growing so fast. People want to see results immediately and that’s why the products and equipment in the spa world are so high-tech now.
What’s your favorite part about working Downtown?
I love that people are highly educated here and that they believe in the health and beauty culture. They care about themselves from inside to outside. We have many members who have been with us for over 10 years. Our clients love the treatment we give them, they love our atmosphere and they love our employees. We get to make long-term connections create close friendships. Our spa business just fits into the downtown environment.
Any favorite places to dine out in Downtown?
I love the restaurants around here! They are so high-end, and the cuisine offered is endless. My favorite restaurant is The Dolar Shop in The Bravern, it’s the best hot pot around. I also love to eat at Cactus in The Bellevue Collection. And I adore Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi. Their sushi is one of the best around.
Where do you like to shop in Downtown?
I obviously love Bellevue Square but I also make my way over to Main Street time to time. There are a lot of small shops with products that are good quality and good design, it’s all worth buying.
Do you have anything else to say to the Bellevue community?
I think now, during COVID, the lifestyle has changed and so many unpredictable things are happening. People need to focus on their health. Nothing is more important. I hope people spend more time slowing down and listening to their minds and respecting their bodies. If you listen, your body will return great things to you.
Follow Yuan Spa for more updates on programming and events.
Person Behind the Place is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.
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1032 106th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004