Whether you need to de-stress from the pressures of everyday life or just want to treat yourself to a little pampering, there’s nothing like checking into a fab hotel spa for some rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. From an urban oasis in Downtown LA to an oceanside retreat you won’t soon forget, here are seven hotel spas in Los Angeles that are well worth the cost of admission. Overnight stay not required.
Spa at Terranea Resort – www.terranea.com
So you’re looking to get away but don’t have the funds to jet over to Maui or Mexico? Forget that. For the price of an airline ticket I suggest you go get pampered all day at the Spa at Terranea Resort. I spent a weekend here last summer and I am still dreaming (and saving) for a trip back. The drive alone, going through the lush green turns and rugged rolling hills feels like you’re en route to a faraway land.
Probably the most exhilarating spa experience I’ve had in LA (well, LA County), this spa is huge. Like 50,000 square feet huge. But it’s not the kind of huge that’s sterile and makes you feel like you’re going to get lost. It’s airy and serene. And there’s even a little juice shop, salon and shop in the main lobby area where I bought my first pair of Toms. Anyway, there are 25 treatment rooms, a pool, outdoor hot tubs and three private VIP suites named after the elements: Earth (redwood sauna and shower), Fire (cozy fireplace) and Water (copper tub and the most incredible views of the Pacific). I got a massage in the Water suite. One word: OMG. Yes, the massage itself was fine, but what really made it so unexpectedly memorable were the sea lions playing in the ocean right outside my door! It might not be practical to open those French doors during the winter months (and I don’t know what the sea lions’ schedules are like), but let me just say that no New Age background music could ever compete with the sound of those noisy blubbery rascals lulling me into total bliss. Treatments (called Rituals) start at $190 for 60-minute facials and around $195 for 60-minute massages and wraps.
Spa at Four Seasons Westlake Village - www.fourseasons.com/westlakevillage
Much like everything else about the sprawling Four Seasons property in Westlake Village, the spa here is big. How big? Try 41,000 square feet big. A stark contrast to some of the more intimate spa experiences I’ve had, this place is ideal for a girls’ day out, bridal showers and birthday parties, a few of which I saw when I was here. That said, it’s not overwhelmingly big. It actually gives a sense of serenity because you realize you have so much space to just relax.
There are 28 treatment rooms (each with their own little walled-in outdoor garden), 30 face and body treatments and 12 types of massage. Another good feature is the big outdoor pool area lined with chaise lounges and cabanas that you can reserve. Body treatments start anywhere from $150 on up, and if you can get away during the week check out Wow Me Wednesdays. Designed with the busy parent in mind, the package includes a 50-minute massage or facial of your choice + up to four hours of complimentary child care for $99! Almost worth having a kid just to get this deal. Almost.
Spa at Four Seasons Los Angeles - www.fourseasons-spa.com
Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you gotta do is call the Spa at the Four Seasons for one of the best pampering experiences in LA. The spa isn’t the biggest nor the slickest, but that’s what I find charming—it kicks it old school yet stays on top of all the high-tech treatments. Case in point: The Ultrasonic Resurfacing facial, which is similar to microdermabrasion but uses ultrasonic waves instead to exfoliate, smooth and brighten your complexion. (Trust, I’ve tried it and love it.)
Derek the spa manager and his staff will make you feel like a VIP and the ridiculously talented and hilarious esthetician Dallas Port really works wonders for the skin. (No wonder so many celebrities love her. She’s like a therapist, comedian and body healer all in one!) As for the body stuff, definitely try the Punta Mita Retreat, a margarita scrub detoxifying massage with tequila (!) and sage oil. Love it. A 60-minute Ultrasonic facial is $260 and 90-minute Punta Mita Retreat is $260.
The Huntington Spa Chuan Body + Soul – www.pasadena.langham.com
The only luxury hotel spa in LA that offers treatments based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Huntington Spa at the elegantly old-school, very Downton Abbey-ish Langham Pasadena is now among one of my favorite hotel spas. The recently revamped spa features Chuan Body + Soul treatments based upon the five elements, breathing rituals and acupressure. (Anytime a new treatment is added it comes directly from their TCM director in Hong Kong, so it’s always legit.)
There is just about every treatment you can imagine (I did the Chuan Harmony massage) and a few you probably would not … like ear beading! Yes, ear beading. Ear beads are these super tiny little metal-looking beads that are placed along the pressure points of the ear and stay on for up to a week and are said to help with everything from weight loss to stress reduction. This spa is all about a holistic approach, which I love, and I really like that before you have your treatment you fill out a card based on how you’re feeling that day and it helps determine what ‘color’ and element you are so they can better serve you. Treatments start at $165 for a one-hour Chuan Harmony massage.
Hotel Bel-Air Spa by La Prairie – www.hotelbelair.com
Did you know that the ultra-luxe Hotel Bel-Air didn’t have a spa until its recent revamp? Imagine that. Thankfully, even if you’re not among the 1% who can actually afford to stay here (rooms start at like $475 a night) you can still pamper yourself. The spa is located waaaaay in the back of the property, which is a good thing ‘cause you can take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the swans, the fountains and all the beautiful, lush landscaping.
The spa itself is spacious but maintains an intimate feel with subdued accents and warm tones. There are seven treatment rooms including my favorite, a private couples/group suite with a tub, lounge chairs that double as mani/pedi stations and outdoor courtyard. Aside from the fab facial I got here (with those signature La Prairie eye patches), I love the twinkling lights in the steam room … it’s kind of like spa-ing beneath the stars. Facials start at $210 for 60 minutes.
Sea Wellness Spa at Casa Del Mar - www.hotelcasadelmar.com
When I think of a spa at a beachside hotel I assume it’s going to be very airy, bright, even nautical. But the Sea Wellness Spa at Casa Del Mar goes against the grain with a very low-lit, wood-friendly space that has the Zen vibe on lock. (It was designed by Etta Designs who incorporated eco-friendly design that are in keeping with the spa’s holistic treatments and mind & body fitness programs.)
I love this spa for all the options offered including yoga (I did an outdoor session once and loved it) and the HydraFacial, a non-invasive, 30-minute treatment that helps with hydration and anti-aging. No discomfort, no downtime, just all around good feelings. Try the Sea Pampering package for $195 per person ($340 value), which includes a Swedish or deep tissue massage and HydraFacial. Complimentary parking included. Monday-Thursday, valid through 8/31/12.
Ritz-Carlton Spa Downtown LA - www.ritzcarltonspa.com
As much as I love nature, I’m a city slicker at heart. And that’s part of why I love the Ritz-Carlton Spa in Downtown LA. There aren’t any aerial views (it’s on the second floor) but who cares? The space is very cool and has more than enough amenities to enjoy. My particular fave: The eucalyptus steam room, which is outfitted with the prettiest, most comfortable ergonomically shaped chaise lounges. Why doesn’t every spa have these?!
I also love the minimalist-meets-Jetsons aesthetic with all the white, shimmery gold accents and comfy lounge area with sofa beds. Also, major bonus points for using organic products in their treatments like the signature Champagne and Shimmer Body Treatment that uses all-natural scrubs and creams infused with real 24k gold. (It’s $155 for 50 minutes and totally worth it.) Book any 80-minute treatment Monday-Thursday or any Spa Day package Friday-Sunday and get access to the rooftop pool, whirlpool and fitness center. (That’s where you’ll get the views overlooking the city.)