AAA Magazines

10 amazing spas in Southern California that offer unique treatments

Sunstone Spa pool Sunstone Spa pool. Photo courtesy Agua Caliente Casinos

By now, most of us are familiar with farm-to-table cuisine. But have you ever indulged in a garden-grown facial or a sea-foraged hydrotherapy soak? At hotel and resort spas in Southern California, you’ll find treatments that go beyond basic Swedish rubdowns with oils that could’ve been made anywhere in the world.

Drawing inspiration from the Golden State, these 10 venues incorporate locally crafted balms and time-honored traditions for one-of-a-kind spa experiences with a sense of place.

1. Miramonte Resort & Spa, Indian Wells

Miramonte Resort & Spa body scrub

Miramonte Resort & Spa body scrub. Photo courtesy Miramonte Resort & Spa

At The Well Spa at Miramonte, nothing is more homegrown—or packed with Vitamin C—than the Seasonal Body Scrub and Massage (50 minutes, $180). The treatment incorporates fruits from Miramonte’s own citrus groves for a series of sumptuous indulgences: a papaya-pineapple-bamboo body polish, a body oil made on-site with pressed orange blossoms, and a silky-smooth citrus lotion. When used in harmony with one another, the salves exfoliate and moisturize to make the skin glow. (442) 305-4500.

2. Rosewood Miramar Beach, Montecito

Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito Manor House

Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito manor house. Photo courtesy Rosewood Miramar Beach

At this manor-like resort, the Sense, a Rosewood Spa, offers a well-curated menu of treatments inspired by flora found along the coastline and the ocean’s nutrient-rich waters. The Montecito Sage Purification (90 minutes, $450), for example, is a salt mineral body scrub made with indigenous sage, pine, and juniper that calms and soothes the skin. The effect is as refreshing as a dip in the Pacific Ocean. (805) 900-8388.

3. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara spa pool.

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara spa pool. | Photo courtesy The Ritz-Carlton Bacara; Santa Barbara

Inspired by nearby Goleta’s history as a hub for commercially grown oranges, lemons, and mandarins, the spa menu at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara features a Citrus Avocado Body Scrub (50 minutes, $245) that uses mineral salts blended with citrus, avocado, and safflower oils. An invigorating Swiss shower removes the scrub, and a full-body application of citrusy lotion tops off the treatment. Afterward, guests can relax in the spa’s facilities, which include a private indoor hot tub and sauna. (805) 968-0100.

Read more: 10 charming Central Coast towns where you can relax and recharge

4. Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Anaheim

Miwok Tenaya Stone

Miwok Tenaya stone. Photo courtesy Disneyland Resort

After tromping around the Disneyland Resort, guests can unwind at the themed Tenaya Stone Spa, which opened in September 2021 at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. An ancient stone gifted by a Miwok tribal elder is the focal point of this woodsy relaxation lounge that feels like a magical forest. Treatment options include 3 types of foot massages and an Aromatherapy Massage (50 minutes, $175) that utilizes organic essential oils infused with plants, wildflower blossoms, and gemstones to bring balance to the mind, body, and spirit. (714) 956-6425.

5. The Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla

The Lodge at Torrey Pines pool

The Lodge at Torrey Pines pool. Photo courtesy The Lodge at Torrey Pines

The Craftsman-style Lodge at Torrey Pines, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, features a spa that takes cues from nearby Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve’s sea-kissed vistas and abundant native plant life, particularly sage. (The reserve is home to 17 varieties of the inflammation-reducing herb.) The spa’s Signature Ritual (140 minutes, $355) starts with a soak in a hydrotherapy tub sprinkled with coastal sage and lemongrass bath salts and is followed by a sage scrub and a massage. (858) 777-6690.

6. Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai

Spa treatment room

Spa treatment room. Photo courtesy Ojai Valley Inn

Ojai’s first inhabitants, the Chumash people, relied on the area’s available natural resources—plants, animals, fish—to subsist and thrive. Their environment influenced their beliefs and their way of life. The 31,000-square-foot Spa Ojai, located at the Ojai Valley Inn, pays tribute to the traditions of these early settlers with a detoxifying treatment called the kuyam (the Chumash word for “a place to rest together”). For the experience—which can be done individually (60 minutes, $250) or in a private group (60 minutes, $125 per person)—guests rub desert clay infused with essential oils on their skin while seated in a heated chamber decorated with Moroccan tiles. Other signature treatments at Spa Ojai include vibration and sound therapies, which focus on harmonizing the flow of energy. (855) 697-8780.

7. Calamigos Guest Ranch, Malibu

Spa Calamigos pool

Spa Calamigos pool. Photo by Joe Kim

Bathed in natural light shining through 2-story-high windows, the freestanding Spa Calamigos is situated within Calamigos Guest Ranch’s 250 undulating acres, deep in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Malibu Made Scrub and Wrap (80 minutes, $250) employs local maker C & The Moon’s beloved scrub—Kim Kardashian is a noted fan—to exfoliate and hydrate. Spa Calamigos, which is open to day guests Monday through Thursdays, will soon also offer outdoor treatments in a newly built pergola situated beneath a canopy of trees overlooking the serene spa pool. (818) 575-9069.

8. Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage

Sunstone Spa at Agua Caliente Blue Sage Desert Mud Wrap treatment

Blue Sage Desert Mud Wrap treatment. Photo courtesy Agua Caliente Casinos

The 10,000-square-foot Sunstone Spa at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage is named after the lustrous gems believed to posit positive energy with the individuals who carry them. Several treatments incorporate the custom-carved, heated stones. Essential oils are infused with the stones to help repair skin and boost optimism. One of the spa’s most restorative offerings, the Blue Sage Desert Mud Wrap (60 minutes, $170), combines locally sourced blue sage and arnica—a type of sunflower known for its soothing properties—to help relax muscles. The wrap is followed by a neck and scalp massage done beneath an infrared sauna dome, which helps increase circulation. (760) 202-2121.

9. Park Hyatt Aviara, Carlsbad

Park Hyatt Aviara's adult pool

Park Hyatt Aviara's adult pool. Photo courtesy Park Hyatt Aviara

The Carlsbad Strawberry Company has been growing the juicy red fruit in the area for 4 generations, since the 1950s, to the delight of u-pickers. So it’s no surprise that strawberries are the inspiration for the Strawberry Fields Hydrating Facial (50 minutes, $200) offered at the posh 15,000-square-foot Aviara Spa at the Park Hyatt Aviara, which completed a $50 million renovation in 2020. The botanical hyaluronic acid derived from vitamin-rich strawberries and used in the treatment purports to plump and hydrate the skin. After indulging in the fresh and fruity treatment, relax in the indoor solarium lounge or in one of the whirlpools, saunas, or steam rooms. (760) 448-1234.

10. Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano

Couples's spa room

Couples spa room. Photo courtesy Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano

The day spa at the recently opened Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Autograph Collection has a variety of soothing treatments inspired by the adjacent Spanish mission and its olive trees, which were planted in the early 1800s. The olives were used in cooking, as well as in healing balms and medicine. Paying homage to that history, the spa produces its own olive oil (in partnership with Nuvo Oil) and incorporates it into its offerings. A worthy splurge is the Lavender & Olive Oil Indulgence ($265), a 90-minute treatment that includes a head-to-toe lavender and olive oil massage. Afterward, spa-goers can lounge on the patio with a glass of bubbly while admiring the lovely view of the mission across the way. (949) 503-5700.

Follow us on Instagram

Follow AAA Explorer and Westways for the latest on what to see and do. 

Read more articles

You'll find more of the articles you love to read at AAA Insider.

Travel offers & deals

" "

Hot travel deals

Get the latest offers from AAA Travel’s preferred partners.

" "

Travel with AAA

See how we can help you plan, book, and save on your next vacation.

" "

Entertainment savings

Save big with AAA discounts on tickets to your next adventure.

" "

Travel with confidence

Purchase travel insurance with Allianz Global Assistance.

back to top icon