By Kendra Weinisch
Always one for pampering, I’ve been to many a day spa; sampling the massages, facials and scrubs like a pro. Mentally, I’ve chronicled and rated them according important from ambiance and technique to pre-treatment beverage assortment and robe texture. I’ve had the Swedish, the deep tissue, the Watsu. Heck, I’ve even received Thai massages in Thailand! You could say I’m a pro in the amateur day spa circuit”¦so you’ll understand that this spa visit wasn’t my first time at the rodeo.
The Spa at La Costa blew me away. La Costa isn’t so much a spa as it is an experience. When you make your appointment, they instruct you to arrive an hour and a half early to “begin the relaxation process.” That process first requires your decision to devote your day to indulgence, invigoration or inspiration. The three themes play out in almost every station of the spa, guiding your fragrance and beverage choices, even determining your shower gel.
The experience continues when they show you to your locker, which holds a terry cloth robe and sandals: your uniform for the day. It eventually becomes so natural that those strolling through in street clothes look foreign, bizarre. After I had had some time to unwind, I was treated to a Spanish herbal body rub, a deliciously hedonistic combination of an exfoliating scrub, thermal wrap, scalp conditioning and full-body Swedish massage. It was rapturous.
It was the point at which they didn’t escort me to the door after my scheduled treatment (as most day spas do) that I realized how special La Costa is. You are free to return to the spa’s amenities, which range from an outdoor Roman shower to gender-specific sauna and steam rooms, and stay there as long as you like. There is even a café to capitalize on the trend of “spa food.” As you stroll from the private sunning patio to the indoor hot tub, you appreciate that a well-stocked, hot shower awaits you at the end of the day, so you won’t have to slip into your velour jumpsuit before washing away the soothing aromatic oil with which they meticulously kneaded your scalp and shoulders. There is even a mini gym, though I can’t for the life of me figure out why you would couple such decadence with such torture. Nonetheless, there were people in it””probably the same people who work out in the resort’s larger gym.
You see, La Costa is both a resort and spa. Its two championship golf courses entertain those who wear plaid while its spa and vast fitness center distract those who wouldn’t dare. The resort even offers wellness programs””for weekenders as well as locals. They cover everything from skin maintenance for teens to nutrition for adults, supporting the programs with regularly scheduled fitness classes and customized consultations. Because its attributes vary so greatly, La Costa fits everyone, which is a form of pampering in and of itself. After my visit, I won’t be able to go back to mere day spas.