BubbleGum Spa's interior. Credit: Jenna Bloom

With mani-pedis, spa robes and optional limousine transportation, the new BubbleGum Spa in Rockville offers a luxury pink space for tweens to celebrate their birthdays at prices ranging from $700 to a cool $5,000.

“This is a place for you to feel like a Barbie,” said Haily Washington, a party host at the venue opening this weekend.

BubbleGum, at 1680 E. Gude Drive, is the latest party option to enter a market with plenty of kids, disposable income and venue options including cookie-decorating, nerf battles, glass fusing and lots of trampoline jumping. The Kentlands’ Cutesy Celebrations and Boutique, another event space for tweens, offers spa, tea and other themed parties (such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s or 1950s) for $395 to $699, according to its website.

At BubbleGum, the basic spa party ($700) includes edible chocolate facials, a foot soak and massage, and different shimmery make-up options. The luxury package ($5,000) adds limousine transportation, a La Mer gift set, and all planning, décor and cake.

Owner Valarie McCalla of Germantown said she was inspired to open BubbleGum after noticing how much her young daughters, age 7 and 9, wanted to go to the spa.

“And I figured, why not create a space where they can be comfortable… and that’s luxurious for them?” McCalla said.

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McCalla said the luxury package offers a “truly extravagant experience” for guests and includes a Dior/Prada Authentic mini bag – which typically costs at least $1,000 – for the guest of honor.

All packages are priced for eight guests including the guest of honor, with fees for each additional guest. BubbleGum has booked one luxury party so far, slated for November, McCalla said.

BubbleGum offers additional theme options including High Tea for $650, as well as Slime Party or Cupcake Decorating – $750 each.

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McCalla said she’s interested in expanding to adult customers, for events such as bridal showers or bachelorette parties.

The venue consists of five pedicure chairs, two manicure stations, five vanity mirrors and a TV/microphone set up for karaoke.

Said Washington, the party host: “Other spots don’t have the sparkle that BubbleGum brings to Maryland… when I first walked in, my inner child was just jumping for joy.”

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BubbleGum has booked around 10 parties for this month, McCalla said, and she’s looking to expand the business even more – with hopes to open two new locations: one in Tysons Corner, Virginia, and the other in Crofton, in Anne Arundel County.

While spas are typically destressing and relaxing for adults, nail technician Candice Martin said BubbleGum wants to be the opposite with “upbeat, fun, great music, great ambience.”

Martin said that Covid was difficult for many people, children included, and this is an opportunity for people to connect with one another and be in each other’s spaces again.

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“We’ve been needing that for a couple years now,” she said.

For recommendations on children’s birthday party venues, see Best of Bethesda’s selection here.