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  • Health and beauty
  • Paddington
  1. Venustus six hand massage
    Photograph: Milly Mead
  2. Venustus staircase
    Photograph: Milly Mead
  3. Venustus facial
    Photograph: Milly Mead
  4. Venustus studio
    Photograph: Milly Mead
  5. Venustus staircase and brick wall
    Photograph: Milly Mead
  6. Venustus studio
    Photograph: Milly Mead

Time Out says

Far more than a beauty salon, this Paddington spa draws on ritual healing practices from around the world to massage your body and soul

Picture the fanciest massage parlour in Sydney, then multiply that image by ten. That’s exactly what awaits you at Venustus Beauty and Body Lab. 

You’ll find Venustus hiding on one of Paddington’s busiest strips, its presence subtly marked by a solitary ‘V’ on the door. As you step inside and take that first deep breath, it’s pretty clear that some serious relaxation is in store.

Founder Jeannie Bourke radiates warmth and smiles as she welcomes you into her brand-new treatment space, which is conveniently located just next door to her previous studio of more than three decades.

Venustus 2.0 is an image of luxury, and we’d quite honestly pay for a tour of the space alone. Your healing experience begins from the moment your feet touch the floor, with a sacred underground crystal grid already working its magical mojo. Bourke worked energetically from the ground up, embellishing the property with a salvaged sandstock clay brick feature wall and a three-metre staircase – made from 5,000 kilograms of metal – which acts as a direct portal to the sun and moon.

However, the magic truly unfolds within Venustus’ noise-resistant, egg-shaped treatment pods. Here, you can restore the equilibrium of your body, mind and spirit with an East Coast massage and energy healing; melt pain and release tension with an Osaka to Sydney massage; or leave it up to the gurus with an intuitive body massage. If you’ve got $1,000 to spare, then you could go all in with Venustus’ six-hand body massage, which is the pinnacle of luxury, choreographed by Bourke to lengthen and sculpt your body in perfect sync.

Beyond the massage menu, Venustus offers an extensive collection of facials that cover everything from sculpting and defining, to cocooning, healing and even lymphatic treatments. 

Simply put, Venustus is more than just a beauty and body lab, it’s a way of life. You’ll walk away feeling lighter and brighter, and dreaming of your next visit.

Read on for our review of Venustus from 2019.


By Emma Joyce

You know the tingle you get when a hairdresser massages your scalp? Imagine that sensation but over your whole body – that’s what it’s like to receive an intuitive body massage at Venustus Beauty Lab, and there’s no awkward small talk.

Before our massage, owner Jeannie Bourke is burning white sage and wafting the smoke around the room. We’re seated, shoes off, with our feet placed on a large white crystal, and Bourke is asking gentle but probing questions about how we’re feeling about life at the moment.

Bourke has built her spa as a sanctuary that draws on healing and calming practices from all over the world. There’s influences from Hawaii, India and Japan, but our modern-day shamanic healer also calls on images of the waves rolling in from the ocean as you stand with your feet in the sand. (Jeannie would like us to do more of this in our lives, and we’re happy to receive this order).

There’s a vulnerability and openness that comes from consulting with Jeannie ahead of your time on the massage table – and it’s a compulsory introduction to her beauty lab. We’re building trust, and Bourke and her team – Fleur and Haruko in our case – will use elements of our conversation and energy to help inform their intuitive body work later on.

The $245-body massage is one of the most popular ones with Venustus clients. There’s a sense of handing over the mental load, not feeling the pressure to keep up conversation, or running through your medical history.

Our therapist, Fleur, explains that the massage will largely be conducted in silence. She breaks that promise only briefly to guide us through some of the more unusual practices. Eyes closed, we hear the transcendent sounds of singing bowls moving around us. Our feet are massaged with oils before being wrapped in a heated, weighted slipper. Hot rocks are carefully placed on our lower back, and latter on our chest. We’re feeling comforted, warm.

We’re also given an intuitive personalised facial. The $245-treatment is like the body massage – mostly in silence, and performed with a respectful and sensory embrace. Hot towels are wrapped around our jawline, before cooling jade rollers are used to massage in a house-made serum, ‘Om’, which is organic, plant based and created without animal testing.

Each intuitive body massage is entirely different, of course. Bourke’s team draws on remedial, shiatsu, reflexology, reiki and trigger-point massage, among other rituals and health practices. When Bourke suggests we take home a selenite crystal to hold each morning with our eyes closed as we think about what we feel grateful for, it reminds us of our grandparents who were always advocating gratitude diaries. When Bourke suggest we keep a journal, it reminds us of friends who use those tools for mental health management. It’s familiar, and feels safe, even if those home ceremonies might fizzle out with time.  

Venustus, which means ‘to love and care for’, is not a beauty salon in the common sense. It’s more like therapy for the body and soul. You may walk away with a quartz crystal, but you’ll most certainly come away feeling nurtured, truly heard and deeply rested.

Keep relaxing at our pick of the best day spas in Sydney. 

Melissa Woodley
Written by
Melissa Woodley


Opening hours:
Tue-Fri 10am-7pm; Sat 9am-6pm
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