When she moved here from Houston, Darlene Jett knew nothing about Oak Cliff and had no interest in being a business owner. Flash forward five years and meet the proprietor of Bishop’s Refuge Day Spa who admits she “hardly ever crosses the Trinity.”

A proud Texas native, Jett was a college student when she felt the call to become a massage therapist. She’d used massage to alleviate the pain from repeated bouts of sinus infections and strep throat, and had experienced marvelous results. As proof, she says she hasn’t had strep in over ten years. Helping others find their own healing seemed to Jett a natural result of her experiences. Jett thinks of massage as “advanced preventive” therapy. Keeping the body relaxed and the lymph moving helps ward off disease, she states; “plus, it just feels good,” she says, “and we all need more of that.”

Jett resides in the King’s Highway neighborhood and loves the “melting pot energy” and small town feel that is Oak Cliff. A huge fan of the Bishop Arts District, she was window shopping with friends one day about two years ago when she spied the space that is now her studio. Just for fun, she called about rental rates. “I wasn’t ready to open a business and I didn’t even know I wanted to,” she marvels.

Coming up with the name was easy. “We all just want a refuge,” she says. If you’re searching for a space to slow down, the Bishop area may be the perfect place to find it, whether you’re looking for a leisurely meal, a yoga class or an afternoon of shopping. Jett sums up her spa atmosphere, calling it “an experience for the day.” And over 700 customers have enjoyed Jett’s relaxing massages. Jett is further pleased with the way the area merchants support each other. “We go out of our way to let our customers know about each other’s businesses,” she explains.

Jett’s created her own experience at Bishop’s Refuge, expanding the offerings beyond massage. She recently hired an aesthetician and now clients can enjoy a full array of therapies including various facial treatments, waxing, manicures and pedicures. It’s one-stop shopping not found anywhere else in Oak Cliff, and it’s perfect for an afternoon of pampering yourself.

All spa services are for both men and women, and you can request a therapist of either gender. Choose the type of massage you want — Swedish, Thai yoga, trigger point, Lomi Lomi or myofascial release — or let your therapist select the method that addresses what you need. “It’s not just massage,” Jett asserts, “it’s healing work.”

A hot stone massage on a cold winter day is the ultimate in luxury. The spa offers complimentary hot towels and aromatherapy, along with gentle music and soft candlelight. “I want clients to be as comfortable on the massage table as they are in their own beds,” Jett says. You’ll be reluctant to come out of this cozy cocoon, but when you do you’ll be rejuvenated and ready to face the world, or to get a good night’s sleep.

When not putting in 12-hour days as the boss, Jett studies meditation, practices yoga and enjoys live music, especially jazz. When she does cross the river, it’s to cheer on the Dallas Mavericks.She’s a die-hard fan who attends almost every game.

“But nothing’s better than slowing down in Oak Cliff,” she says. She’s glad her intuition led her here, and so are we.

Bishop’s Refuge Day Spa is located at 509 N. Bishop Ave.  214-948-4881.