Ahh, Spas: L.A.’s Best Beauty and Wellness Sanctuaries
Whether you’re old enough to remember those old 70’s Calgon commercials or not, you probably find yourself saying “take me away!” a lot these days. Traffic, work, family, social media, COVID, politics… modern life is a lot, especially in a big city like Los Angeles. And let’s face it, a bubble bath doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you need a real escape, even if it’s only for a few hours. Spas make for the perfect wellness break and in L.A. there are lots to discover– from relaxing Korean spas where you can strip away your clothing and your troubles, to hotel hideaways big on luxury, to boutique spots focused on fixing specific body or beauty woes. Read on for info on the best local spa destinations for detoxing, facials, pools, or just a little rest and reset.
Wealth of Wellness
Burke Williams might be the best known day spa in town. It remains a fail-proof gift certificate idea that provides a little bit of luxury to ladies and gents who want to feel pampered. Theresa and Bill Armour opened the resort-style spa in the 1980s, actually coining the term “day spa.” The family-operated locale now has ten locations across California servicing massages, skin treatments and other body healing and honing services. They also do manicures, pedicures, baths and aromatherapy. The co-ed lounge has a cozy fire, seasonal teas, and fruit flavored waters, while the separate spa amenities for men and women offer whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, misting areas, private showers, rooms for quiet and meditation, and vanity areas to prepare for your reluctant return to reality. Check out their Valentine’s Day packages for the one you love. Various locations. Burkewilliams.com
Upscale hotels offer a plethora of spa offerings and you don’t need to be a guest to enjoy them. One of our favorites is The Spa at Edition Hotel. As we mentioned in last year’s cover story, Checking In: L.A. Hotels– From New Boutique Stays to Iconic Favorites, Edition is the hottest place to stay on the Sunset Strip. Their spa offers a serene yet sleek environment with a 6,200 sq ft space, hip to the latest trends in wellness and beauty. Its “innate and holistic focus on inner health” touts locally-sourced and plant-derived products for facials, massages and more, such as their Nano-Infusion Facial for tightening and brightening. The surroundings are modern and calm with neutral decor and green foliage throughout that’ll make you forget the chaos outside. 9040 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. editionhotels.com/weho/spa-and-fitness
Also on the Strip, Ole Henriksen Face/Body Spa is another well-known name in beauty and self-care that deserves note. After a facial here recently, we felt refreshed and revitalized. Vance Soto, who started as spa manager for Henriksen himself, now owns the place. With a background designing treatments for some of the largest day spas in California he’s become a respected name in the business, creating a little oasis at the Sunset Plaza that attracts celebs and locals looking for a splurge. He just debuted a new skincare line, VSOTO, which beauty media has likened to a “spa in a jar,” but we recommend an IRL visit to experience its meditative relaxation area and wet rooms for a true taste of tranquility. 8622 W Sunset Blvd Suite A, West Hollywood. olehenriksenspa.com.
Whether you’re looking for peace or prettying, Olympic Spa has you covered. The women-only Korean spa was refurbished and upgraded a couple of years ago, fusing the “East and West” in its design and treatment menu. It’s a popular place for girls’ night gatherings with multiple lounging areas. Mineral water soaks, sugar scrubs, red clay sweat rooms and more bring a nature-minded approach to rejuvenating the body and mind. 3915 W Olympic Blvd. Koreatown. Olympicspala.com
A Korean day spa for women, Hugh Spa, references the Korean word hyu-ga which loosely translates to “take a break and forget your troubles.” This self-proclaimed “detox sanctuary” touts exfoliating scrubs to expel body impurities, and rooms with infrared magnets, charcoal and herbal steams “to help strengthen your uterus” (maybe Gweneth Paltrow was right?). Beyond the Goopiness, it’s a great little getaway for an hour or more. 1101 S Vermont Ave., Pico-Union area. hughspa.com
Voda Spa is a co-ed, all-ages facility offering a pool, jacuzzi and saunas (swimsuits required) plus a host of body services. Most come here for massages and follow them up with pool and hot tub soakings or drinks and snacks from the bar and restaurant. The group known as Secular Sabbath hosts events here performing ambient music, breathwork, and bodywork in the healthful surroundings. 7700 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood. vodaspa.com
At Beverly Hot Springs, the uniqueness is in the water. This is the only spa with natural spring water in LA. With beautiful rock-swathed surroundings it feels like an island paradise. Services include facials, massages, micro-needling, waxes and more. They even have “vajacials” which are perfect after a bikini wax. Patrons are allowed two hours of spa usage with treatments. 308 N Oxford Ave., East Hollywood. beverlyhotsprings.com.
Anytime is a good spa time at Century Day & Night Spa. For 25 years now, Century has welcomed Angelenos looking for a peaceful excursion and escape during the day and after dark. The traditional Korean Spa has men’s and women’s areas where you can go nude as well as “Jim Jil Bang” co-ed areas with suits, plus services such as facials, massages, scrubs, wraps, etc, many with great smelling ingredients like honey, sugar and essential oils. There’s also a fitness center, swimming pool and restaurant. 4120 W Olympic Blvd. centurydayandnightspa.com
Enjoy body treatments, revitalizing massage, facials for all skin types and an inviting spa environment at Spa Palace, a family-friendly facility with a Jim Jil Bang area and thematic saunas featuring himalayan salt, ice, gold and soil. Try a seaweed wrap, aroma therapy session or their “ritual” experience: a lavender salt scrub, aroma massage and vitamin C mini facial. Food and beverages available. 620 S Union Ave, Westlake. https://spapalacela.com/laspa/
Well Around The Clock
You can pack a lot in at Grand Hour 24 Spa. Like others here, the facility has separate men’s and women’s areas with saunas, massages and facials. There’s a Jim Jil Bang here too, plus a tanning room, nail salon, barber shop, retail, Korean restaurant and a karaoke room too! It might not be the biggest spa in town but it’s one of the busiest. If all that stuff’s not your bag, there’s also lounges and a sleep room. 2999 W 6th St., Westlake. Grandspala.com
Though people outside of L.A. only know about it due to a 2021 controversy over a trans guest (it’s too messy to go into for a round-up, but you can read about it and the protests that ensued here), Wi Spa seems to have gotten past it. It still tops most spa enthusiasts lists for its range of services and size of the facility, even if more modest types don’t love all the nudity– bathing suits are not allowed in most spa areas. The 24 hour venue offers massages, scrubs, facials, mani/pedi’s and more. It has two floors (one for men, one for women)- each has hot and cold tubs, dry saunas and steam rooms, showers, and grooming areas. There’s also a co-ed floor (JJB), which makes it a nice couples date place (swimsuits required there). Their sauna game is on point: the Bulgama, a high-temp oak wood room in which guests lie on the floor and sweat out toxins; the Salt room, with mineral walls known to help the respiratory and immune system; and others rooms with clay, jade and ice for restorative improvement of skin, muscles and mental well being. 2700 Wilshire Blvd. wispausa.com/the-wi-spa-experience.
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