10 Sensational Southern California Spas

Need to relax and feel pampered? Head to one of Southern California's top spas, which offer all sorts of treatments from soothing massages to yummy body wraps.

Whether you’re seeking quick solace with a solo treatment or a full day of pampering to replenish, spas abound from the Mexican border to Santa Barbara. So how to choose which one to visit? Here are 10 day spas that will relax and rejuvenate. 

Float Luxury Spa

Santa Barbara

Energy flow a bit blocked? This Santa Barbara spa’s signature Float Acu-Massage might help. It’s based on acupuncture, the ancient Chinese healing practice. During the treatment, a doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine inserts needles into your skin for 25 minutes, followed by a personalized massage focusing on your areas of pain. A friend said the combination made her feel like she was floating. If needles aren’t your thing, get cocooned in the Ultimate Body Facial, a green tea and ginger enzyme wrap finished with glycolic peppermint cream–it left me feeling refreshed and tingling from top to toe. 

Treatments: $75-$200

Info: 805-845-7777; floatluxuryspa.com

A pool at Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona, California

One of the 19 pools at Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona | Photo courtesy Glen Ivy Hot Springs

Glen Ivy Hot Springs

Temescal Valley

Calling spa lovers, water lovers, and mud lovers: Glen Ivy Hot Springs (pictured above) is for you. The day resort features a mix of 19 pools, including sulfur-rich, 104-degree geothermal springs, plunge pools, a saline pool, and lap and lounge pools, and Club Mud—a pool with California red clay mud that you slather on your body, let dry, and wash off, leaving you with soft skin. Consider signing up for the Aromasoul Elements Ritual, a combination of a full-body massage and exfoliation with volcanic ash from Sicily's Stromboli volcano. Or the Quartz Massage psammo therapy (using hot sand) on a table with a bed of quartz sand. 

Treatments: $30-$215 for treatments, plus admission fees of $52 Monday-Friday and $72 Saturday-Sunday.

Info: 888-453-648; glenivy.com

La Casa del Zorro Resort and Spa

Borrego Springs

In the dry desert heat of sleepy Borrego Springs, the spa at La Casa del Zorro (Spanish for "House of the Fox") is my go-to hideaway oasis after a hot, dusty hike or just being lazy by the pool before a treatment. It's one of my twenty-something daughter's favorite local spa getaways, just 90 miles east of San Diego. We love the Lemongrass Mimosa Body Scrub and the Espresso Mud Body Treatment, which leave you smooth, revived, and ready for a refreshing cocktail.

Treatments: $20-$500

Info: 760-767-0100; lacasadelzorro.com/spa.php

Larchmont Sanctuary

The lounge at the Larchmont Sanctuary | Photo courtesy Larchmont Sanctuary Spa

Larchmont Sanctuary Spa

Los Angeles

This neighborhood day spa in the heart of Larchmont Village is a harmonious modern sanctuary from the busy city outside. I love the Coppertino private copper whirlpool, big enough for two, then having my "yin and yang balanced" with hot and cold jade stones during the popular Jade Gemstone Massage. For inflammation and sore muscles, CBD (cannabidiol) treatments are also on the menu.

Treatments: $89-$1,200

Info: 323-466-1028; larchmontsanctuary.com

Rancho Valencia Spa

A private grotto at the Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa | Photo courtesy Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa

Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa, Relais Chateaux 

San Diego

This AAA Five Diamond resort near Del Mar Racetrack is popular with the horsey set. The spa, lush and tropical with palms and birds of paradise, makes you feel like you never want to leave. With a treatment called The Kur-a private grotto soak, a cooling wrap, and massage named for the Germanic tradition of annual weeks—long stays at holistic health retreats—it seems that Rancho Valencia doesn't want you to leave, either. 

Treatments: $195-$380

Info: 858-759-6490; ranchovalencia.com/spa

Poolside lounge at Montage Laguna Beach Spa

A poolside lounge at Spa Montage | Above and top photos courtesy Montage Laguna Beach

Spa Montage at the Montage Laguna Beach

You'll feel like a celebrity at this elegant, modern AAA Five–Diamond coastal resort spa—and chances are one of your fellow spa mates may be one. Spa Montage delivers the crème de la crème of treatments with the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop. Prices are high, but you'll get what you pay for. My dream treatment is the Seven Flower Ritual: You'll breathe in the aroma of flowers before a fragrant oil massage, which is followed by a dry petal body buffing and crystal quartz facial massage while your body is wrapped head-to-toe in petals. 

Treatments: $140-$455

Info: 949-715-6010; montagehotels.com/lagunabeach

The Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn

San Diego

The RBI Spa, in the sleepy San Diego suburb of Rancho Bernardo, is a local fave. It's a full-facility spa, with an Olympic-size saline water pool on the sprawling, manicured grounds of the AAA Four Diamond Rancho Bernardo Inn. While science-based treatments are offered, yummy-smelling treatments made from seasonal, organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers blended with yogurt or honey are the spa's specialty. My favorite? The customized Organic Hydrating facial, where your face is treated to creams made fresh daily from vitamin-rich fruits and herbs. Mine was a luscious blend of citrus and lavender. Insider tip: Spring for your treatment in a spa garden casita. 

Treatments: $150-$220

Info: 866-261-8688; ranchobernardoinn.com

Salt Cave in Santa Barbara

A lounge area at the Spa at Salt Caves | Photo by Cicero Photography

The Spa at Salt Caves

Santa Barbara

For millennia, people have rejuvenated themselves by breathing salt air by the ocean. At this hideaway featuring pink Himalayan salt, you can too. Salt Caves combines speleotherapy (breathing inside a cave) and halotherapy (breathing salty air) to reenergize and soothe guests in one of the largest halotherapy caves in North America. Before getting a Himalayan mineral facial, salt scrub, or salt stone massage, lounge in a zero-gravity chair, listening to soothing music and inhaling air infused with microparticles of salt. 

Treatments: $120-$545

Info: 805-963-7258; saltcavesb.com

The Spa at Two Bunch Palms

Desert Hot Springs

Two Bunch Palms is famous for its mineral hot springs and mud-soak bath—affectionately known as the Two Bunch Tradition—but it's the decadently eclectic spa menu of traditional and holistic treatments that keeps regulars returning. Do your chakras need balancing? Need craniosacral therapy or myofascial release? You can request massages for those. Then, it's into the mud bath for a soak. Some call it a hippy spa. I prefer the term "ethereal." Either way, you'll feel transcendentally relaxed. 

Treatments: $145-$245

Info: 760-676-5000; twobunchpalms.com/the-spa

Tomoko Spa in Beverly Hills

A treatment room at Tomoko Spa | Photo by Lexus Gallegos


Tomoko Spa

Beverly Hills

Step into Tomoko, and you'll feel like you're in modern Japan, where the rituals of daily bathing are still practiced. At the spa, known for its zen-like couple's massages (which include green tea, sushi, and sweet Japanese desserts), some treatments combine Western and Japanese and other techniques. To feel totally relaxed, soak in an Ofuro recovery bath—a meditative Japanese ritual bath. I left feeling energized and renewed after the only facial treatment offered, a Toganseibi "head- and face-shaping" facial massage. 

Treatments: $220-$1,000-plus

Info: 310-205-7300; tomokospa.com


Nicola Bridges has written about spas for a variety of national publications—and is a spa aficionado herself.


Top photo: Lounge room at Spa Montage | Photo courtesy Montage Laguna Beach

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