Best day spa southern california
You cast your votes in our World's Best readers' poll, and our editors rounded up their favorites.
As the late, great Jimmy Durante used to say, everybody wants to get into the act: suddenly, every hotel worth its five diamonds is opening a spa. In-room massage plus a vest-pocket gym with two treadmills just doesn't cut it anymore. By the end of the year, multimillion-dollar facilities will have been added to the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, the Breakers in Palm Beach, La Quinta Resort, Marriott's Rancho Las Palmas in the Palm Springs area, and Las Casitas Village in Puerto Rico. Other resorts—Hyatt Regency Beaver Creek, the Boulders in Arizona, Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea—are expanding existing spas. More significant still, both the Golden Door and Canyon Ranch, two of the best-known spa brands, will open new outposts. The next Ranch will be part of the new Venetian complex in Las Vegas; the Door's CitySpa branches, with abbreviated or simultaneous services geared to the busy traveler, will debut in Toronto, Miami, Chicago, and Philadelphia as part of the new Grand Bay hotel group.
Why all the action on the spa front?Peace of mind has become a precious commodity, and those who market it successfully turn a pretty profit—and help people in the process, let's not forget. Many stressed-out Americans urgently need to escape their work schedules and address such life issues as aging, dietary habits, and sexuality. What better place to do this than a haven where that willful child called the Inner Me is given center stage?
Destination spas have shed their reputation for attracting idle women who lounge around the pool trading stories about serial husbands. Now, guests—both men and women—are more likely to be trading stock tips during a kickboxing class. These stand-alone spas are best suited for those who desire a sense of community, have specific goals, and need encouragement to meet them. Everyone eats, exercises, and explores new spiritual pathways together. Destination spas are also champions of emerging techniques for self-improvement, which can be as trendy as color therapy, as gritty as rock climbing, or as spiritually minded as labyrinth walking—a meditation method for impatient Westerners who don't get the sitting still thing. Resort spas, on the other hand, represent choice. Guests might schedule an hour or two per day in the spa, sampling new treatments and classes, then pursue more traditional forms of leisure: golf, tennis, skiing, beachcombing. And if they don't feel like sticking to a strict diet, nobody gives them grief when room service delivers a cheeseburger and a side of fries.
The following spas, whether they embrace tough love or tender mercy, are the best America has to offer right now. One of them will have the right sensibility and services for your next retreat.
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa Country Club Rd., Ojai, Calif.; 800/422-6524 or 805/646-5511, fax 805/646-7969; doubles from $210, day-spa packages $130-$300. This classic California resort opened its Spanish-style spa last December—too late to garner enough votes to register on our World's Best survey. But Hollywood hotshots like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett have been coming here to hide out in the penthouse. There they can schedule treatments in a cloistered room with its own sauna, or ride a private elevator down to the stucco-and-Moroccan-tile Mind/Body Center for a dip in the lap pool and a session in the weight room. The spa can arrange horseback riding, tennis, golf, and art classes as well. Best workout: The gym is a bit small and crammed with equipment, but the Tectrix virtual-reality bikes are fabulous. Latest craze: The Kuyam ($50), an updated Chumash Indian sweat lodge where you inhale lemongrass-infused steam after being coated with cleansing mud and herbs. Top treatment: Petals ($80), a rubdown with powdered roses followed by a rose-gel shower and rose-oil massage.