Finding the perfect massage depends on your own preferences and objectives, not to mention techniques, training and therapist in addition to considerations around budget and location. Communicating what your aims are, for example relaxation vs. deep tissue injury work, will lead to a better experience. These resort spas don't require an overnight stay or resort fee, but do offer unique selling points in addition to top-notch massage treatments.
Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn
100 Boyes Blvd.
Sonoma, CA 95476
Make it a massage with extras. The ancient source of this spa's own healing mineral waters are thermal springs 1,100 feet beneath the surface. Browse the massage menu for guidance on relieve, restore and results. Non-hotel guests booking a massage treatment that meets minimum spending (avoid Saturdays when it's higher and much busier) may plunge into a long list of facilities heated up by 98-degree outdoor pools, warm therapeutic bath, Jacuzzi, eucalyptus steam room, dry sauna, exfoliating shower, fitness room, yoga class and relaxation room. Check out the Watsu pool with underwater music. Robe and slippers are provided; don't forget a swimsuit.
Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa
3287 Mount Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA 94549
Feel relaxed before your treatment begins. With only six treatment rooms, Helena points out the distinct advantages of being smaller to deliver more personal attention. Tucked behind the French château-style hotel, non-hotel guests can enjoy comfortable chaise lounges encircling a heated swimming pool, whirlpool spa, fitness room and poolside dining. Book any spa treatment Monday through Thursday at a midweek special price. Hot stone massages are the top request, while the aromatherapy treatment includes an oil blended for your massage and bottled for a keepsake gift.
Cavallo Point - The Lodge at the Golden Gate
601 Murray Circle
Sausalito, CA 94965
Ranked as number four among hotel spas in the U.S. by Travel & Leisure, the Healing Arts Center & Spa at Cavallo Point takes the holistic health approach seriously. Come for a signature massage prepared for a face-to-face with nature encounter to kickstart peace of mind, taking in extraordinary views of the Golden Gate. Surrounded by the heady aroma of eucalyptus and pine, soak in the heated outdoor meditation pool, stretch in the garden and sip at the tea bar. Midweek massages, facials and body treatments are offered at 20-percent discount.
Nob Hill Spa at Scarlet Huntington
1075 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
Readers of Condé Nast Traveler selected this urban oasis as one of 2014's top 50 U.S. hotel spas. Overlooking Grace Cathedral, Nob Hill and the skyline, the spa provides a feng shui arrangement including indoor pool and whirlpool with adjoining (hopefully) sunny rooftop terrace and a tranquil zen room with private spaces. Couples or singles can book an experienced male or female massage therapist for deep tissue, Swedish, hot stone, reflexology, aromatherapy or acupressure massage. Choose anything from a 50-minute massage to the half-day and full-day indulgences that include meals.
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
1 Miramontes Point Road
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Big on fireplaces and coastal bluff views, there's nothing wrong with waiting for a massage appointment next to a warming fire. Get into a co-ed Roman mineral bath with fireplace, sauna and steam room after a cracking Matanzas Creek luxurious lavender body massage. There's no need to spend the night, but the sound of crashing waves, smack of the driver making contact with the golf ball, clinking of wine glasses and crackling fire pits for roasting marshmallows are pretty enticing. Did you know that a valid California driver's license for residents of the Bay Area attracts a 15-percent discount Monday through Thursday on any spa treatment? Inquire at time of booking.
Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she's writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on Examiner.com.
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