Best spas in LA: Top massages for every budget
Rest your head and unwind at the best spas in LA for cheap, mid-range and splurge-worthy rubdowns.
Photograph: Courtesy The Spa at Terranea
We've scoured the city to bring you the best spas in LA for massages—from celeb-studded luxe oceanfront hotels to Thai joints on the Eastside where you unwind by getting walked on (literally). Pair your morning hike, intense workout or even post-work happy hour outing with an relaxing rubdown that will alleviate your muscles. Take a deep breath, and check out our guide to the best massages, plus exclusive discounts, spa tips and the most requested spa therapists.
RECOMMENDED: Best spas in LA
- Price band: 2/4
Inside Melrose Avenue's boutique hotel hides a private room where you can get the city's best Thai massage experience... for cheap. Check in at the front desk and make your way upstairs to a charming, Americana-meets-English countryside sitting room. Don't get too comfortable—when the massage therapist greets you, you'll find yourself in a private room all to yourself. Opt to disrobe or slip into the provided Thai fisherman pants before resting your head on the orchid-adorned bed, another swoon-worthy detail. Get pulled, stretched and loosened, and soon, you'll be ready to brave the retail-warrior shopping nearby.
• Tip: Forget circling the block—park in the hotel guest parking underground.
***Book a Time Out-special offer: 90-minute Thai massage + Thai fisherman pants = $70.
- Mid-City West
- Price band: 2/4
If you liked to be pulled, punched and stepped on, this is the place for you. Thai massage isn't for everyone, especially when it's done so traditionally (read: aggressively). You're not there to be pampered (okay, they do massage you with oil for a bit, and the head and neck massage is also quite nice). You're there to be worked on. And walked on. You'll be taken to one in a double row of treatment areas, sectioned off by heavy curtains. Each has its own changing vestibule, where you'll strip down and pull on a pair of loose Thai fisherman pants. You'll notice strips of fabric hanging from the ceiling above you, which is what your therapist will hold onto while she works on you with her feet. Your treatment will be half-ecstasy, half-exorcism, and if you're into that sort of thing, it's pretty great. Afterward, you're rewarded with a bottle of water and a candy bowl to grab from on your way out—it's a little more Halloween than healthy living, but hey, we'll take a fun-size Snickers anytime. The best thing about Pho Siam—other than it being one of the few good massage spots on the Eastside—is that it's pretty cheap: $75 for a 90-minute massage is a damn good deal.
• Tip: Make sure to specify "feet" or "no feet" before your treatment begins. Foot phobias are respected, but only if you speak up at the beginning!
- Echo Park
- Price band: 2/4
Smack dab in the middle of Hollywood (on bustling Highland, no less), this newly opened urban oasis offers a full menu of spa services from massages and facials to detoxifying mud body treatments and alphabiotics (hands-on body alignment that's chiropractics-meets-stress relief). The former house was restored by Jeff Widmann, who also owns Golden Bridge Yoga across the street. The result: a homey feel that's part cathedral (lofty ceilings, stained-glass windows) and part living room (fireplace, comgy lounge chairs). Massages range from Shiatsu and Thai ($70 for 60 minutes) to traditional Swedish ($85 for 60 minutes). There are four treatment rooms for singles and couples, and the entire spa can be reserved for group parties.
• Tip: Pull up to on-site parking, unheard of in this part of town.
- Price band: 2/4
Located in a Marina del Rey shopping center, this traditional Thai spa is a diamond in the rough. The tiny space only has five treatment rooms, including one with two beds for couples massages. Each treatment room is portioned off by sliding doors, so you can hear anyone who walks into the reception area during your treatment. As a precaution, plan to visit during the week at non-peak hours so that your relaxing treatment remains uninterrupted. Keep in mind that this is a no-frills type of spa—as are many other Thai massage spas—however, the beauty here is in the cleanliness and professional staff. You may encounter a language barrier, but you'll find every staff member to be helpful. Opt for the one-hour massage ($50), which combines Thai, Swedish and deep tissue massages catered on your body's needs. It's the best of all worlds. Each treatment room has a metal bar bolted on the ceiling which your therapist will use for stability while walking on your back. The skilled massage therapists will switch from standing on your back to using their elbows and hands—knowing exactly which body part to use to open up your tense muscles. For full relaxation, and if you have many knots and tight muscles, you may want to book the extended 90-minute session.
• Tip: The biggest draw here is the cheap price for a body-melting massage. Be sure to check the website for specials, including the current one-hour foot massage for $30. If you really love your first visit, opt for buying a 10-pack and you'll get a free massage.
- Marina del Rey
- Price band: 1/4
Westsiders in need of a tune-up head to downtown Culver City to get their tired and sore muscles repaired and recalibrated. With an auto repair shop theme (the sign outside reads "we fix bodies"), this massage haven is open until 9:30 p.m. daily for massages on the cheap. Don't expect zen and plush robes—it's straightforward massages in a no-frills space. More than 40 massage therapists rotate between the 8+ rooms. Try a Test Drive ($32, 30 minutes), get a major Overhaul ($74, 90 minuets) or go for a standard Tune Up ($48, 60 minutes).
• Tip: Road ragers can come in for regular TLC with a five or ten-series pack ($225 for five 60-minute sessions, $440 for 10 60-minute sessions).
- Culver City