Our LA Spa Day was on and we would come from up, down and all around to see one another.
We’ve traveled thousands of miles (me from Wisconsin, her from Montana) for out trip to get to sun-dappled Los Angeles for the weekend. Ours is the kind of friendship that easily cuts through the miles, thanks to late-night phone calls and handwritten cards. And now, here we are, in the same zip code and in real time.
On day two of the trip, traffic jams—lots of them—stand between us and the wide, expansive beaches of Malibu. Even after we’re reclined on our towels on the sand, gazing out at the Pacific Ocean, my shoulders ache. My frustration is high.
I can already hear the siren of an LA spa day.
At the entrance to the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills two days later, calmness swoops in and takes over. A flirty statue of Marilyn Monroe greets us when we hop out of an Uber. We’ve just strolled up and down Rodeo Drive, asking clerks at boutiques to pull out handbags we can’t afford, just to drool over the soft leather, snapping selfies and soaking up the Southern California sun. All with no apologies—this is a girlfriends’ trip, after all.
Our trip starts with lunch in Cabana, the poolside cafe in a quiet, shaded courtyard on the hotel’s fourth floor. Topping my antioxidant salad of black kale are goji, pomegranate, berries, pistachio, bee pollen, pumpkin seeds, balsamic and a filet of salmon.
Slipping into chairs at the brand-new spacious Nail Suite, my feet soak in warm, sudsy water and the remnants of summer (dry soles, chipped polish) are replaced with smooth, soft skin after buffing and a cool coral hue applied for polish.
If I turn to the left, an aerial view of lush Beverly Hills is all mine via multi-pane French windows that open up out to the outdoors. The suite is light, bright and spacious and could easily hold a small group. It also gives us the chance to properly catch up, given the privacy.
After, I’m ushered into a treatment room for the 90-minute Mayurga body treatment ($270), which kicks off with a scrub of Himalayan crystal, rose and lemon to rid the body of toxins, followed by a shower rinse and a 60-minute full-body massage. My therapist Bethany, a transplant from Seattle who has worked at this spa for 15 years, is refreshingly different, with tattooed arms. (Would I expect anything less than offbeat in La La Land?) Instead of hot stones for the massage, woven sacks that have been warmed and filled with herbs are applied to different points of the body.
Change is afoot at this tony hotel. New this year, the spa and pool is now open to non-hotel guests for the day each Wednesday, with a “Wellness Wednesdays” package ($298) folding in a massage, lunch, valet parking, and a manicure/pedicure.
Before hopping back into an Uber, post LA Spa Day, for shopping at the nearby Beverly Center, we meet two girlfriends for “Crudo Hour” (Happy Hour) at The Bar at Culina. It’s held weekdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m with $7 cocktails and carafes of wine, plus $6 crudo (raw fish) and cicchetti (small plates). Sipping a spicy cocktail in the dimly lit space suddenly feels miles away from rush-hour traffic.
Before getting into wine, she co-authored The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Coffee & Tea (Alpha Books, 2006). What she likes best is an opportunity to immerse herself in a community, whether it’s lunch with Mennonites in Belize or hanging out with winemakers in Bordeaux.
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