Exhale at the Fairmont Miramar
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The best thing about this 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 coaches are available to guide guests through nutrition and wellness goals. Even fertility programs, accupuncture for weight loss and bridal bootcamps are available. Although set inside a luxury hotel, a visit to Exhale is decidedly less about the sort of posh frills one would expect from, say, the spa at Montage Beverly Hills or the Peninsula. The staff here is efficient and friendly, but not fawning or overly solicitist. The therapists are down-to-business. The basic Exhale True facial starts with a cleansing and moisturizing—accompanied by a steady stream of nurturing steam—followed by extractions, an eye-opening rehydrating mask and more moisturizing that made our skin feel perky and glowing (and no puffiness) all day long. While waiting for various masks, lotions and potions to soak into our skin, the therapist took the extra time to rub lotion into our tired feet, hands, neck and shoulders. A newer addition to the spa menu, the Glow Body Scrub and Massage, begins with a full-body dry brushing, followed by a soothing scrub that sloughs away dead skin without being painful, finishing up with a lovely massage, soaking fresh skin in hydrating, moisturizing lotion and giving your body time to relax. Relaxation is the second half of the wellness equation here, and Exhale doesn't disappoint.