Aroma Spa and Sports
Scrub & Massage, $85
3680 Wilshire Blvd.
As soon as we arrived at this Koreatown sports club with a reputation for affordable but incredible body treatments we were whisked away to the spa’s common treatment area. As we lay naked on the table, our aesthetician (who was wearing, oddly, a bra and boy shorts—we assume because of the room’s heat) attacked our skin with a textured hand mitt, shampooed and conditioned our hair, massaged our scalp, and applied grated cucumber to our face. A rubdown with mineral oil left our scoured skin smooth. We were put off by the spa’s low-budget lotions, but we couldn’t argue with the results.
The Beverly Hills Hotel Spa by La Prairie
Diamond Perfection, $275
9641 Sunset Blvd.
As hotel guests flip-flopped past us on their way to the pool, we checked into the hushed spa with its ivory leather club chairs. After a steam and sauna, we climbed onto a heated massage table lined with sheepskin. There our therapist used brisk strokes and a grainy scrub to exfoliate us all over before applying a tingly firming mask. After rinsing off, we stretched out on two rows of hot stones. The warmth penetrated our muscles while our therapist rubbed various serums and creams right down to our feet. They call this hotel the pink palace; we certainly felt like royalty.
Gina Marí Skincare
Head to Glow, $250 and up
9201 W. Sunset Blvd.
Beauty connoisseurs to the core, we rarely get excited over spa menus. But Marí piqued our interest when she led us into a room filled with high-tech equipment. To dissolve our flakes, she performed head-to-toe microdermabrasion, then applied a glycolic wash. Next, she placed us under a body-length LED light machine to speed cell turnover. By the end, our ashy cast had been replaced with a healthy glow that lasted for three weeks. Impressive, indeed.
Lulur Day Spa
Lulur Body Treatment, $145
642 ½ N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood
A Buddha sits at the door of this tiny day spa, which takes its name from a beauty ceremony for Indonesian brides-to-be. Our aesthetician Thomas rubbed away dead skin with a grainy tumeric-and-rice mixture and removed the yellow stain with full-fat yogurt. After soaping us with jasmine oil, she began a deep, 35-minute massage using jasmine-frangipani lotion. Stripped of our itchy winter skin, we left with a body so smooth it gleamed. Too bad the only aisle we’d be walking down that night was at the supermarket.
Ole Henriksen Face/Body
5-Step Body Treatment, 75 minutes, $140
8622A W. Sunset Blvd.
When Charlize Theron and Renée Zellweger crave pampering but can’t spend all day at the spa, they come to Ole Henriksen for the 5-Step Body Treatment, “a little of everything in an hour and 15 minutes,” according to aesthetician Barmash. Our session began with hand-and-foot reflexology, followed by a shoulder-and-scalp massage. After a thorough mineral scrub, Barmash smoothed a creamy body mask from our neck to our toes and left us dozing in a cocoon of Mylar. We emerged with glowing skin…and a much more mellow attitude toward the traffic on Sunset.
Ole Henriksen Face/Body Spa
African Red Tea Spa Ritual, $225
8622A W. Sunset Blvd.
We usually roll our eyes at spa treatments that promise to transport us with exotic ingredients. But this blissful ritual delivers, beginning with a steamy rain shower and a bracing scrub of red tea and sugar. Our therapist placed fresh orange slices all over our body and cocooned us in a warm wrap, leaving us to stew in a citrus fog while she administered a heavenly scalp massage. After a second shower, we were kneaded into glorious delirium. One quibble: The spa menu promises a hand-and-foot rub, which our therapist skipped over. And yes, we realize that feeling shortchanged after so much pampering deserves an eye roll, too.
Ole Henriksen Face/Body
Head to Toe Treatment, $155
8622A W. Sunset Blvd.
Our mind had been overloaded lately, so we were thrilled to discover our treatment started with serious head pampering. An acupressure-point scalp massage released tension, and then a hydrating orchid conditioning treatment was applied to our hair while reflexology took care of our feet and hands. After an invigorating full-body salt scrub, Swedish strokes with a lavender-scented body oil and a gentle pressure-point face massage using black-currant oil sent us home silky, stress-free, and very clear-headed.
The Peninsula Spa at the Peninsula Beverly Hills
Gemstone Revival Treatment, $195
9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd.
We had been feeling a little out of sorts, so we checked in to this spa for its healing gemstone therapy. Our therapist invited us to choose a body polish (we liked monoi-and-gardenia) and an oil infused with gemstones (we picked emerald, which promised “stability and strength”). Then she got to work, scrubbing our back, legs, and arms. Next, we succumbed to a full-body massage performed with the vetiver-scented oil. When it was over, our aura was as sparkly as our skin.
Spa Soleil Treatment, $200
17401 Ventura Blvd.
The Spa Soleil Treatment asks a lot (for one, you’ve got to show up three days in a row). The first session was a blur of exfoliation, thermal wrap, and self-tanner. The next day we lounged under the “Niagara,” a tunnel of water that turns muscles to mush, before another round with the tanning spray. And on day three, we graduated to a tinted self-tanner. Apparently, the treatment that asks a lot also delivers a lot: Our well-basted bronze lasted a month.
Lymphatic Drainage Body Therapy for 30 minutes, $65
415 N. Crescent Dr.
When we booked the Lymphatic Drainage Body treatment, we knew it was official: We’re gluttons for punishment. The owner touted it as an alternative to liposuction, saying it would eliminate toxins and tighten flab. The treatment came in two parts: something they called “Vacuomobilization,” to suction the surface of the thighs and smooth out the skin, and “Pressotherapy,” to tone. While the Vacuomobilization just plain sucked (imagine being pinched repeatedly by big rubber suction cups), the Pressotherapy was surprisingly invigorating: Warm boots tightened around our legs (like a blood-pressure cuff on the arm), and we immediately felt our circulation buzzing. We didn’t lose inches (that takes up to five sessions), but our legs looked firmer.
The Spa at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel
The Scrub Bar, $175
9500 Wilshire Blvd.
Almost always gruff and gritty, body scrubs are more of a necessity than an indulgence. Not so at this sprawling and opulent spa. The staff suggested arriving early to lounge in the steam room or pool (we didn’t have to be asked twice and chose the former). By the time our aesthetician coaxed us out, the tension in our neck had turned to vapor. Using a feathery touch, she polished our back and limbs with micro bamboo cream, then expertly rubbed our hands and feet. If this is roughing it, we’ll gladly be back for more.
Thibiant Beverly Hills Day Spa
Tahitian Milk Bath and Massage, $160
449 N. Canon Dr.
Our strong, silent massage therapist seemed typecast. She poured white cream into a tub and rubbed the kinks out of our neck and shoulders while underwater jets melted the knots from below. Afterward, we lay on a heated massage table as her thumbs acupressured away the soreness from a yoga class. Milan may have looked familiar, but this delightful treatment truly broke the mold.