We all know life can get hectic at times. Between work, family, school, household obligations and finances, its easy to feel like everyday functioning is stressful business.
One of my favorite remedies is an excellent spa treatment. What could be more relaxing than a luxurious spa day where someone else pampers you from head to toe? And where better to indulge than in SoCal, the perfect relaxation destination? And while there are a number of larger, well-known Southern California spas, there are also a number of unique one-off locations that offer can a memorable experience and much-needed perks.
Address: 3206 Los Feliz Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Neighborhood: Atwater Village/Los Feliz
Although this spa is located right on busy Los Feliz Blvd., once you step inside it is an oasis of quiet serenity. This nook has been featured on The Ellen Show, The Voice, and other television shows and local networks, and offers exquisite massages in a peaceful ambiance. The spa’s décor is a mix of Asian influences—featuring a double waterfall and a Buddha statute—with the loft-like rustic charm of exposed brick and wooden beams ceilings.
The massage rooms are open, airy, and comfortable. But the relaxation “atrium” is the real winner, where you can indulge in fresh baked chocolate chip cookies or brownies (or partake of healthier fare like fresh or dried fruit and organic teas, if that’s more your speed), while reading a magazine on the numerous chaise lounges. “Our goal is to create a positive feeling in our clients with every visit,” said Karyn Lee, Spa Director.
The flowing waterfalls in the background will instantly calm you, and the top-notch services will keep you at peace. I have received a deep-tissue massage, and a soothing skin body wrap, where I was lulled into such a blissful state that I fell asleep multiple times. I have also gotten facials using dtox’s private-label products, and they left my skin and pores feeling clean and refreshed. All in all, it made for a perfect day of unwinding.
To add to the relaxation, the spa’s dressing rooms have both wet and dry saunas. And if you want to take home products their skincare line features all-natural, paraben-free, botanical skincare products for purchase. And for locals who are worn out on a Friday night, R.S.V.P. for dtox’s Friday Happy Hour they host every other month, serving organic wine and appetizers, featuring a live DJ playing music, and you can enjoy $39 mini-treatments, including hand and foot scrubs, calf and foot massages, and neck and shoulder massages.
Insider Tip: Although dtox doesn’t serve alcohol itself, you are allowed to bring a bottle of wine or champagne that they will keep on ice and serve for you. Photo courtesy of Dtox Spa.
Address: 23725 Arlington Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501
Neighborhood: Torrance/South Bay
This unassuming location looks compact from the outside, but DuBunne Day Spa proves you should never judge a book by its cover. DuBunne (pronounced Doo-Boo-Nay), features numerous nooks for a pleasurable experience, including a co-ed lounge, separate men’s and women’s serenity rooms, and an outdoor patio with side-by-side Ofuro tubs for which guests can make reservations.
This spa is also perfect for both a bridal party and a couple’s retreat, the spa has both indoor and outdoor couples’ massage rooms and soaking tubs big enough for two both inside and outside. A wet room allows for both wet and dry body treatments and their locker rooms feature delicious smelling body scrubs to sample in the showers.
Not only have I indulged in solo and couples’ treatments at DuBunne, but I have hosted a bachelorette party a few years ago at this location for a bride, her mother, and several friends that were visiting from out of town. There was plenty of space to accommodate all members of the party (not to mention the other patrons of the spa), with multiple treatments going on simultaneously and they left raving about the service and the facilities. And the best part: Each guest receives two complimentary mimosas, champagnes, red or white wines, or beers to sip between or after treatments.
Insider Tip: For the frequent spa lover at heart, DuBunne offers both Platinum, and “Spa Lifestyle” (lifetime) club memberships. Photo courtesy of DuBunne Spa.
Address: 5617 Paseo Del Norte #200, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Bella D’Ora means is “beautiful hour,” and they claim that’s what they offer their guests, a “time for pampering.” They live up to their name.
This spa is pure magic. Located in a strip of stores and restaurants near the Carlsbad Premium Outlets, this is a hidden gem with a full service salon, along with the spa and boutique. I have good friends (both men and women) who rave about this place and recommended it as the must-try spa in Carlsbad, a suburb about 30 minutes north of San Diego.
My masseuse, Gina, was a miracle worker when she performed the La Vita Bella (The Good Life) massage. I highly recommend everyone try La Vita Bella massage, as it is perfection, combining aromatherapy, along with any level of pressure you prefer, and complimentary hot stones and towels. Gina is a master of discerning exactly where to focus her energy and time in your trouble areas, as she even loosened the muscles in my hips, which is perfect for anyone with a desk job. But before the massage even started, we did deep-breathing exercises with aromatherapy oils while on the table. She instructed me to breathe in positivity, then breathe out negativity and tension. It set the mood straight away and I immediately felt my muscles release and any worries about the outside world fade away.
From the minute we walked in Bella D’Ora, we were pampered with complimentary Bellini’s from the spa’s drink menu. And the dimly lit quiet room features massage chairs for additional relaxation. But in all honesty, after my massage with Gina, I didn’t even need it. Any time you are in the San Diego area, be sure to check out this hidden haven.
Insider Tip: The La Vita Bella massage allows you to have the best of a plethora of different services, including deep tissue and hot stone massages. And even if you are with child, Bella D’Ora has special massage tables that will allow the mommy-to-be to lie flat on her stomach for her pregnancy massage. Photo courtesy of Bella D’Ora Spa.
Address: 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Orange County—of the original ‘Real Housewives’ series fame—is synonymous with luxury. And the Spa at this Four Diamond Hotel will offer a day of luxury and star treatment.
The menu is extensive, featuring Lomi Lomi and Balinese massages, along with more traditional options. There is even an option for the Island Volcanic Detoxifying Therapy, which uses volcanic clay to detox and energize the body.
One of the acclaimed masseuses at The Spa is Saiko, who has worked on the likes of superstar basketball player Kobe Bryant, and has worked for well-known circus chain Cirque du Soleil. Even when getting a deep tissue, the massage feels relaxing and calming and it loosened up some of my most knotty and troubled areas.
The Ilike skincare products they use for facials, along with the Darphin Paris and SkinCeuticals products they sell at this location, are top-notch and I still use a facial scrub I purchased there to this day. But the real treat is booking and retiring to one of the hotel’s relaxing rooms with bay views from the balconies. The rooms are quite spacious with soft beds and luxurious robes, all while overlooking the ocean.
Insider Tip: Check out deals on both the hotel and spa, as sometimes they appear on sites like Travelzoo at a great discount. Photo courtesy of Island Hotel.