For weeks now, you’ve talked about treating yourself to a nice deep-tissue massage. And the idea of a scented steam bath, followed by a manicure and maybe even a facial (why not?) doesn’t sound so bad either. Call it a staycation, call it a mental health day—however you want to rationalize your visit to one of L.A.’s heavenly hotel spas is fine with us. From luscious coffee-and-lemon body scrubs to Chinese acupuncture or mineral soaking pools, each of these hotel spas offers a slightly different twist on "aahhh." And we guarantee you’ll be impressed with the results.
L.A.'s top hotel spas
The ultra-modern (and ultra-pricey), SLS Beverly Hills is a design dream where visual stimulation and lots of luxury abound. Aside from the ultra-modern décor, two restaurants, and complementary BMW house cars, SLS also boasts Ciel Spa, a 5,000-square-foot sanctuary, where freshly-squeezed agua fresca will be waiting for you as you enter the long, Philippe Starck-designed hallway. Every detail has been considered here, and treatments are customized for anything you may need; relaxing masage, healing body work, lymphatic drainage, slimming and tightening wraps, on and on. Never thought you could fall asleep to a facial? Try one here and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Formerly a cool retreat for hot Hollywood stars and now a sister to Casa del Mar, Shutters has a relaxed but decidedly upscale style. And the freestanding One the Spa is so close to the ocean, you can almost feel your toes in the sand as you begin to unwind. Enter the nautical-themed retreat—you'll feel as though you've walked onto a boat or a swank yacht—where the understated sophistication (a lá wainscoting galore) keeps in theme with the hotel's Cape Cod style. Our favorite treatment is the Hammam Detoxifying Retreat, which starts with a coffee and lemon scrub followed by a clay wrap, Vichy shower and heated, deep-tissue massage. Emblematic of the the hotel’s relaxed, beach-forward style is the gorgeous, comfy spa lounge—a dimly-lit, votive-filled living room-like space decked out in seashells.
At LA’s tallest hotel, rooms are expectedly ritzy, though not as large as you'd expect for the price. That said, the amenities here are the big selling point: a rooftop heated swimming pool and hot tub, and the Asian-inspired NEST at WP24. But don’t assume you’ve reached the heights of luxury until you’ve tried a session at the earthy, intimate nine-room spa. Guests are greeted with a glass of champagne or the beverage of the season (in spring, it's mint lemonade freshly made with lemons from the hotel's rooftop garden), followed by some time in the co-ed Sanctuary, where flat screens overhead shuffle through nature photography. The spa also offers seasonal Garden to Glamorous treatments, incorporating herbs and produce from the hotel’s rooftop garden with top-of-the-line products. You'll savor the treatment long after you’ve left the spa. (NB: the facility is also accessible if you’re staying at the neighboring JW Marriott property; call ahead to book.)
It may have been daring for the Montage to unveil a temple to extravagance during the depths of the recession in November 2008, but if it can be pulled off anywhere, it's Beverly Hills. The rooms don't quite have the wow factor of the public areas, but they're luxurious, with plush furnishings and marble and mosaic-tiled bathrooms. Head to the third floor to discover the Disneyland of LA's spas: the bi-level, 20,000 square-foot beauty sanctuary is Moorish-themed—red-tiled roofs, earth-colored stones, mosaic tiles and grand arches set the mood. In addition to the 17 treatment rooms, a sky-lit mineral pool functions as the spa’s aqua-therapy centerpiece. There are also separate men's and women's mineral tubs, alongside an herbal steam room, dry sauna and whirlpool. For the grand finale, try the Anointing, a 90-minute massage using custom blend of aromatherapy rose essence along your chakras and Vichy shower rain therapy—it's how the 90210 does holistic.
This elite and quietly decadent Mission-style '20s hotel, a deamy getaway on 12 fairytale acres of lush landscaping, reopened in 2011 after a major two-year overhaul. La Prairie Spa, one of the newest additions, may just prove once and for all that nature and nurture can co-exist in equal measure. Set deep within the iconic hotel’s woodsy Bel-Air canyon setting, the spa evokes a tranquil indoor-outdoor vibe with lily pad–like sculptures, hand-painted florets on the walls and warm woodwork and dappled light in the relaxation lounge, where there are no trashy magazines, just velvety lounge chairs, cashmere throws and a collection of pretty picture books on nature, travel and fashion. But let’s face it: You to go a La Prairie spa for its coveted—and, yes, they’re really that good—facials and skincare treatments. You may be tempted to splurge on the White Caviar Illuminating Facial, said to brighten complexions, hands and feet. But we think you (and your bank account) will be just as pleased with a La Prairie Signature Facial, in which the therapist first examines your skin under magnified light to determine the best course of action. After your treatment, enjoy long afternoons by the pool, meandering through the gardens or subtly trying to spot which Hollywood player is sitting at the next table in the Wolfgang Puck restaurant.
One of the most memorable buildings on the Sunset Strip (it's on the National Register of Historic Places), this beautiful tower opened in 1931 as an apartment block, but it's been a hotel for years. Past the old-Hollywood exterior is the charming Cure Salon & Spa, where the town's most famous tresses are tousled and tamed. Each of the four, dimly lit private spa suites is equipped with everything you need: shower, oversized tub, toilet, sitting area with telephone and Wifi, flat screen TV, Arcona face products, Brazilian Blowout hair products and in-room dining. And even some things you didn’t know you needed, like a Cleopatra-worthy milk bath, or LED light therapy followed by a 25-minute Turkish hammam. The hotel’s elevated pool and lounge afford wonderful views of the city below, although equally breathtaking vistas can be enjoyed through floor-to-ceiling windows in the nicely sized rooms and suites.
Situated on an oceanside bluff in posh Rancho Palos Verdes, the picturesque 102-acre resort is a Mecca of relaxation and resort life. Hummingbirds dive in and out of the lush garden-lined paths, and the eight (count ‘em) restaurants feature produce grown on-site by Chef Bernard Ibarra. Accommodations range from the usual rooms and suites to larger, more luxurious bungalows, casitas and villas (and if that isn’t enough to keep you busy, there's also paddleboarding, snorkeling and horseback riding). The sprawling 50,000-square-foot spa boasts a boutique, pool, cafe and gym, with free fitness classes. Open-air spin, anyone? But it’s the oceanfront terrace we just can’t stop dreaming about: after being invigorated with a Honey Body Bliss body scrub (which uses honey from the resort’s own bee hives), you’ll emerge onto a sun-drenched balcony with straight-on views of the glittering Pacific. The soundtrack to your session will waft in on a salty breeze. We can't imagine you'll want to leave the spa afterward, so relax in one of the lounges for the rest of the day.
In a perhaps unlikely location for a four-star hotel and a grand resort, the Four Seasons Westlake Village is a secret gem nestled in the Santa Monica mountains. The mammoth, 450,000-square feet property offers 250 rooms, two pools, Chinese-style pagoda lawn, nearby golf and one of the best spas in LA, with a medical-holistic facility that offers services from energy healing to teeth cleaning. For those in need of a diet overhaul, nutritionists and dietitians are on-hand as well as a Wellness Kitchen to school you on DIY clean eating. Meanwhile, the 28 treatment rooms, the bamboo floors, and the towering pagoda in the meditation garden are sure to impress spa snobs and feel-good gurus.
The best thing about Exhale, a chain spa tucked away inside the chic Fairmont Miramar hotel in Santa Monica, is its focus on total wellness. A self-described "mind-body" spa, Exhale serves up all the traditional spa treatments—facials, massages, mani/pedis, waxing—but then enhances its menu with fitness offerings such as core fusion, yoga, private training and stretching classes. Mind-body style energy treatments include accupuncture, reiki and vibrational therapy, and there are even fertility programs and bridal bootcamps. This kind of in-depth service has been the hotel’s MO since opening in 1924.
The ornate detailing on this Four Seasons-operated gem, famous for its role in Pretty Woman, recalls 19th-century French splendor, but recent additions like Cut and the Blvd add 21st-century sophistication. The semi-hidden spa, located in the hotel’s south tower, is worth a peek: head to the twinkling steamroom, where light therapy is used from the ceiling and a crystal geode provides soothing energy to the room. Rinse off with an ice-cold rain shower—choose one of three settings: Caribbean Rain, Atlantic Storm and Cold Mist—and then head to the relaxation room for tea, fruit, nuts and house-made dark chocolate. This is Rodeo Drive, after all, so treatments like the Diamond Facial and the Diamond Magnetic are in-demand—therapists use dust made from real crushed diamonds to eliminate dry skin (a head-to-toe massage follows). Above all, the staff is gracious and the treatment rooms are blissful; though the crowd is wealth and occasionally stuffy, there’s still something warm about the place.