Posts Tagged ‘Larchmont Village’

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

Eating good in the Larchmont neighborhood with Vernetti restaurant

Vernetti salumi platter

Vernetti salumi platter

Larchmont Village isn’t a Los Angeles neighborhood that I frequent. It’s small and never really held a big draw for me, despite its cute, small-town feel. But now I know about Vernetti restaurant (and having Portland-based ice cream shop Salt & Straw nearby isn’t too shabby, either).

Chef Steve Vernetti and his wife, Joanna, took over the old Girasole space on Larchmont Boulevard a couple of years ago before reopening as Vernetti earlier this year. They’ve done their best to keep a neighborhood feel at the Italian restaurant while making some upgrades, including some gorgeous brass light fixtures and a better restroom situation (customers used to have to walk through the kitchen to use the toilet!).

When it comes to the food, start with some crostini — the deviled egg version with white anchovy is my favorite — and a salumi platter featuring prosciutto, porchetta, bresaola, spicy calabrese salami and house-made giardiniera pickled vegetables.

Crostini: deviled egg (front), ceci bean and roasted beet

Crostini: deviled egg (front), ceci bean and roasted beet

Then move on to pasta. The preparations are straightforward and satisfying: pappardelle con funghi (sautéed wild mushrooms, cream, parmigiano), rigatoni spuntature (braised short rib ragu, marrow, crispy greens, roasted tomatoes, breadcrumbs) and linguine alla vongole (manila clams, white wine, garlic, crushed red pepper).

Pasta: mushroom pappardelle (top), rigatoni and linguine

Pasta: mushroom pappardelle (top), rigatoni and linguine

The one savory dish I really didn’t take to was the seared yam and sage polenta cake, which is offered as a side dish. I didn’t understand how it was supposed to complement the other food, and it was kind of boring on its own.

But the desserts made me smile. Panna cotta with strawberry compote, cannoli and tiramisu. All classic and well-executed.



So next time you’re driving through Mid-City, consider stopping at Vernetti restaurant. You’ll get a satisfying meal of classic Italian dishes.

Note: This meal was hosted. 


08 2015

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.


01 2012

Pilates kicks (my) ass

Gia Marakas doing the Pilates hundred

Gia Marakas doing the Pilates hundred on the reformer

I love Pilates, especially the kind that uses machines. So when I was offered a personal session with Gia Marakas, a private Pilates instructor based in Larchmont Village, I jumped at the chance.

I used to take lessons at Pilates Plus in downtown Los Angeles, and I loved using their proformer machines for added resistance to many classic Pilates moves. I did it three times a week and was getting in pretty good shape. Then I got a new job and never signed up for classes closer to my new office. A year goes by. And then I get this offer from Gia. Perfect!

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