LOS ANGELES: THE SPA AT THE BEVERLY WILSHIRE
The Spa: The Spa at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, California.
The Environment: Sleek, state-of-the-art and serene, this ultra-modern spa is located on the second floor of the Beverly Wing at Beverly Hills’ venerable, nearly 80-year-old, historic hotel. A water wall, an enormous amethyst geode, subtle fragrances and soft music accent this 8,000 square-foot spa. For privacy, curtains can divide the seating in the earthy-toned Tranquility Lounge.
The Distinction: The sophisticated Beverly Wilshire Hotel has played host to many Hollywood celebrities and high-profile functions. Although it is played down, it has become somewhat of a tourist attraction since the filming of Pretty Woman. The East Meets West menu, includes Balinese, Thai, Swedish and Ayurvedic treatments offered along with Swedish, reflexology and the usual suspects.
The Experience: After five days of non-stop touring L.A.’s culture scene, I arrive tired and only thinking about making it to the airport on time. Then, I enter the dimly lit spa. The receptionist takes my luggage hands me some fruit, a glass of guava juice and ushers me into the locker room. What a cool place! The sinks are transparent blue bowls. “You must take try our combination Aromatherapy Crystal Steam Room, Ice Fountain and the Experience Shower,” says the receptionist.
Who am I to argue? Before entering the steam room, I have my pick of aromatic cloths, “soothing,” “energizing” and “restorative.” I choose “energizing,” enter the steam and dab myself with the cloth as I sweat my guts out for ten minutes. Next is the Ice Fountain -- a dousing of shaved ice. Enough of that. I turn on the Experience Shower, which automatically changes temperature three times. I can’t believe how invigorated I feel when I am done.
Thoughts of the outside world are dissipating as I spend about 15 minutes skimming Architectural Digest in the Tranquility Lounge. Soon it is time for my Swedish massage. “Do I have knots and tension?” asks my therapist.
Is she kidding? I have been going non-stop for the past five days and have had little sleep. I lay down on my back. She places one warm towel under my neck and begins by rubbing my arms and legs with another warm towel. Mmm! It feels great. For the next hour she massages my scalp, my face and my body. She diligently works to remove the knots in my upper back and neck. I don’t want this to be over, but I do have a plane to catch. I drag myself out and await the airport shuttle. It is amazing what a difference two hours makes. I am totally relaxed.
Accommodations: The Beverly Wilshire’s newly renovated guest rooms include 42” plasma TVs, state-of-the-art technology and marble bathrooms. Prices begin at US$435 per room, per night. For reservations, telephone (800) 427-4354 or visit the web at; www.fourseasons.com/beverlyswilshire
What to eat: The hotel has three restaurants. Located close to the spa is the Pool Bar and Café. It is the place for a light lunch or a smoothie served in a shot glass. Wolfgang Puck’s The Cut features a minimalist décor and succulent steaks. To see and be seen, visit The Blvd on the lobby level. Hollywood movers and shakers often dine there.
The Extras: The ESPA spa products used during treatments as well as gift cards are available for sale in the reception area. If you can’t drag yourself away and have the urge to splurge, rent a poolside cabana which comes with, among other things, a Cabana Butler, flat- screen TV, ceiling fans - all for a price tag of US$250. The pool itself was patterned after the one at Sophia Loren’s villa.
The Cost: Opulence doesn’t come cheap. The average hourly treatment rate is $160 U.S., but prices range from $100 U.S. for a 30-minute exfoliate treatment, to US$990 for a day package which includes five hours of therapy and lunch. Gratuities are not included.
Beyond the Spa: The Beverly Wilshire is about a five-minute walk from Rodeo Drive. Although mostly frequented by tennis-shoe clad tourists taking pictures and window shopping, the three block area is known as “the place where the rich and famous shop.” It is lined with A-list designer shops and famous jewelers like Tiffany and Harry Winston.
What I liked best: The personalized service and the combination Aromatherapy Crystal Steam Room, Ice Fountain and the Experience Shower. It was a unique experience.
Words to the wise: The experience isn't inexpensive, so to get maximum value arrive early and indulge in all the facilities. The Spa is opened daily from 8am to 9pm.
For more information: www.fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire/spa.html