Archive for the ‘Spas’Category

Larchmont Sanctuary Spa offers luxe experiences in neighborhood setting

I’ve been to large chain spas and luxury hotel spas, but sometimes a smaller, more intimate-feeling spa is just what the doctor ordered. That’s where Larchmont Sanctuary Spa comes in.

larchmont sanctuary spa outside

Centrally located in the always-cute Larchmont Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, the spa is housed in a converted bungalow on Larchmont Boulevard within walking distance of all the shops and restaurants in the area. Because it’s in a house, there’s a backyard where you can get treatments outside — a unique experience perfect for beautiful LA weather.

larchmont sanctuary spa cabana

Larchmont Sancutary Spa, which used to be called Le Petite Retreat before new ownership took over a few years ago, has just about everything you would be looking for in a full-service spa, with the exception of a wet sauna and a communal hot tub. However, there are now new Himalayan salt treatments, including a stone massage, scrub and inhaler available for purchase, and all spa products are now organic and cruelty-free. The spa also has a special ergonomic copper hydrotherapy tub that can be booked as part of a package.

As part of the ongoing improvements, the spa plans to update many of the common areas, including the Relaxation Room and the locker rooms.

“It’s all very exciting, and we can’t wait for everyone to be able to enjoy the new ambiance,” said Scott Buss, co-owner of Larchmont Sanctuary Spa. “We are [also] one of the few spas in Los Angeles with therapists certified in oncology treatments to enable individuals that are going through, or have gone through, cancer treatments to safely enjoy the benefits of a massage or facial.”

My experience

I got a Himalayan stone massage from Vivian, a very nice young woman. Because I have been suffering from neck, shoulder and upper back pain for over a year, I asked for medium to firm pressure, and boy, did Vivian deliver. She used a combination of deep tissue and sports massage, targeting my problem areas and stretching out the muscles that needed it. The salt stones were heated up and used to target those stubborn knots, loosening them up. I felt good afterward for almost a week, which is a big deal when you’ve been dealing with pain almost every day for more than a year.

I would definitely go back to Larchmont Sanctuary Spa, and I’ll probably ask for Vivian again, now that I know her massages are sure to make me feel great. The spa also has super comfy robes and luxe sheets on the massage tables. And being a smaller operation means you get more personal attention, which isn’t always the case at some of the bigger spas. There are reasonably priced memberships, too. So next time you’re going to YogaWorks or getting some Salt & Straw ice cream down the street, stop by and check it out.

Note: This visit to Larchmont Sanctuary Spa was complimentary.


07 2017

Travelogue: Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Tucked away in a northern San Diego County suburb, Rancho Bernardo Inn is a hidden gem. Wind your way through a sleepy upper middle class neighborhood, and at the end you’ll find a resort complete with a golf course, spa and plenty of dining options. The vibe is perfectly Southern Californian with its laid-back elegance and beautifully manicured grounds (21 fountains!) — perfect for a weekend getaway.

Rancho Bernardo Inn has an 18-hole golf course, a spa, three pools and four eateries. It’s an intimate property, just big enough to make you feel as if you’ve escaped from the real world for a while.

I was recently invited to stay at Rancho Bernardo Inn as its #INNfluencer of the month. I was treated to a day at the spa, and my husband and I enjoyed dinner at the resort’s fine dining restaurant, AVANT. We stayed with the resort’s Spa + AVANT Package, which includes a 50-minute hydrating facial or organic signature massage and two-course dinner at AVANT with a glass of on-tap wine or beer for $175 per person.

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11 2015

Travelogue: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort in Scottsdale, Arizona

Fairmont Scottsdale room

Fairmont Scottsdale room

I recently visited Scottsdale, Arizona, and had the opportunity to stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort. Located in North Scottsdale, it’s a little out of the way, but that may just be the whole point.

The Fairmont Scottsdale is a sprawling resort complete with multiple pools and eateries, as well as a two-story wellness spa, for maximum desert-style relaxation.

First, the rooms. Our room had ample space, with a walk-in closet, desk, seating area and private balcony. The bed was comfy, and the bathroom had both a stand-up shower and a tub, as well as Le Labo bath products. No complaints.

View from our room

View from our room

Welcome amenities at Fairmont Scottsdale

Welcome amenities at Fairmont Scottsdale

Amply stocked minibar at Fairmont Scottsdale

Amply stocked minibar at Fairmont Scottsdale — with my fave Macallan 12

Fairmont Scottsdale bathroom

Fairmont Scottsdale bathroom

As Scottsdale is known for its luxurious spa experiences, I naturally partook in a treatment at the resort’s Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa, which offers everything from traditional spa treatments and a rooftop pool to aerial yoga classes and nutrition and fitness consultations. I opted for a full body scrub and light massage with natural Body Bliss and Naturopathica skin products, all of which are derived from natural and/or organic ingredients. My provider Mistie made me feel comfortable right away and explained everything to me. And with access to the open-air pool, grotto waterfall, steam room, Swedish dry sauna, eucalyptus inhalation room, Swiss shower, hot whirlpool and cold plunge pool, as well as a full spa cuisine menu, you can easily spend a full relaxing day here. Oh, and fitness classes are included in your booking. Score!

Aerial yoga

Aerial yoga

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06 2014

O Hotel keeps scoring with Bar + Kitchen, Oasis City Spa

O Hotel lobby. Photo from Orbitz.

O Hotel, a downtown L.A. boutique with 67 modernly styled rooms, recently celebrated its 5th anniversary. And with the addition of lauded barman Matt Biancaniello to its restaurant Bar | Kitchen, and a 6-month old day spa, O Hotel has lots to be happy about.

While I haven’t seen the hotel’s rooms, I have visited Bar | Kitchen and Oasis City Spa, both of which offer some pretty impressive amenities for such a small hotel. The spa has some St. Patrick’s Day weekend specials for those of you who partied too much (or for those getting ready to party): a signature organic facial with green herbal mask for $100, green tea mint scrub for $55, and a mani/pedi for $40. If you can’t make it this weekend, Oasis also offers a $25 mini facial and esthetician consultation, the cost of which can be applied toward a future facial or spa products. Prices are reasonable, and the facility is simple yet elegant.

Bar | Kitchen is no slouch, either. Chef Vahan Tokmadjian has created a well-executed, seasonally appointed menu with gems such as shrimp and grits with Spanish chorizo sauce (this is one of the better S&G dishes around town), mushroom bread pudding and pork cheek hash.

Shrimp and grits

Shrimp and grits

Pork cheek hash with quail egg

Pork cheek hash with quail egg

And Biancaniello, whose moves have been closely watched since he left Library Bar last year, has brought some of his best-known cocktail recipes, including those for Last Tango in Modena (gin, muddled strawberries, balsamic vinegar and St. Germain foam) and Kentucky Bubble Bath (bourbon, Cynar, lavender simple syrup and lemon), which I could drink all day!

Kentucky Bubble Bath

Kentucky Bubble Bath

Given the hotel’s combo of good food, drink, decor and spa amenities, I would recommend a stay here for those looking for a downtown hotel with some style.


03 2013

Travelogue: The Oaks at Ojai

The Oaks at Ojai

The Oaks at Ojai

Ojai, a sleepy agricultural town nestled in a valley in Ventura County, Calif., has become one of my favorite local getaways. There’s an overall feeling of community with an emphasis on small, local businesses that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. And no place does that better than The Oaks at Ojai, an all-inclusive wellness spa situated right in the middle of downtown.

The Oaks offers traditional spa amenities along with fitness classes, meals, wellness activities and overnight accommodations all for one incredibly reasonable price (rates start at $199 per person per night, but you may have to share a room). As the focus is on wellness here, your daily caloric intake is limited to 1,000 calories a day via three meals, snacks and beverages. Chef Christine Denney creates high-fiber, no-sugar and no-salt menus that will help you lose weight and generally feel better.

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09 2012

Relax at Larchmont Sanctuary Spa

Le Petite Retreat Day Spa

Larchmont Sanctuary Spa

Sometimes going to a spa isn’t as relaxing as you’d like. Sometimes there are just too many people, too much foot traffic. If you’re looking for a truly relaxed spa experience in a more intimate setting than, say, Burke Williams (no offense, Burke Williams; I like you just fine), Larchmont Sanctuary Spa, formerly Le Petite Retreat Day Spa, in Larchmont Village might just be the spot.

While Larchmont Sanctuary Spa is small, it doesn’t skimp on amenities. The robes are über comfy, the communal waiting room is cozy (fireplace, fountain, complimentary drinks and snacks), and the treatment rooms are appropriately relaxing. I got the signature Jade Stone Massage Therapy treatment, which incorporates the use of rubbing alternating hot and cold jade stones over your body with Swedish, Shiatsu, Thai and deep tissue massage. The hot stones relax your muscles, and the cold stones help reduce inflammation. This is no wussy massage; the therapist, who was about half my size, worked me over! But that just meant I left feeling totally relaxed.

Larchmont Sanctuary Spa offers all kinds of facials (including a caviar serum), scrubs (Ionic Detox Foot Bath, anyone?) and even eyelash extensions. The spa also caters to couples with various couples treatments and a champagne bath for two as an add on, where you’ll lounge in a copper tub surrounded by flickering candles sipping champagne. Not bad, huh?

I originally wrote about this place for Gilt City. Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll find another deal for Larchmont Sanctuary Spa soon!

Note: Updated to reflect the spa’s name change.

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01 2012