Tikkun Repairs (and Rocks) Our World "Tikkun" is a Hebrew word that means "repairing the world." Santa Monica's Tikkun Holistic Spais aptly named, repairing the world one lucky client at a time.
According to Reiki master Niki Schwartz, who co-founded Tikkun with her orthopedic surgeon husband Charles, Tikkun is "a real healing center…beyond the fluffy robes and big comfy chairs." A tour of Tikkun's facilities - including the detoxifying yellow clay room, Himalayan salt room, hot jade room, cooling ice room, couples' suite (complete with dual massage tables, shower, Jacuzzi and heated onyx chamber) and the Balinese reflexology foot path - confirms Niki's assertion.
I was fortunate enough to receive one of Tikkun's signature Traditional Korean Body Scrub and Oil Massage treatment. This is very much like the body scrubs you can get in Koreatown, only the setting is much more private and luxurious. First, to prepare my skin for the scrub, I soaked in Tikkun's warm yet refreshing green tea Jacuzzi. Then I was escorted to a wet room, where my therapist scrubbed me thoroughly from head to toe, periodically dousing me with warm water to rinse away the dead skin. She washed and conditioned my hair, massaged my entire body, and finished up with a cucumber face mask. After a stroll down the reflexology footpath and a change of clothes, I stumbled onto 4th street feeling clean, silky smooth and, sure enough, repaired.
The Difference is in the Details Most spas are tranquil, relaxing environments, so it’s those pretty little details that push certain places up to the level of truly luxurious. When I checked in at The Spa at the Beverly Wilshire, I was greeted with a hospitable smile, a shot of fresh mango juice, and a warm towel. I filled out a medical form, and was immediately escorted to the changing area by my own personal locker room attendant. She pointed out all the amenities: steam room, showers, robe, slippers and a cute travel bag that was filled with personal care goodies, mine to keep. After I’d changed, massage therapist Sanam led me down a hallway elegantly lined with orchids and votive candles to the treatment room for my foot and calf massage and facial.
Sanam's voice, touch and manner were the very definition of “gentle.” She asked if I approved of the music, and then proceeded with a foot and calf massage and salt scrub, (all traces removed with a hot towel). I then spent some time relaxing in the Tranquility Lounge, a dim room with comfy chaise lounges and a little sideboard offering infused water and light appetizers, where I happily nodded off.
Before I knew it, aesthetician Arlene was quietly waking me for a fully customized facial. She cleansed and then exfoliated the skin using granulated coral and sea shells and a soft rotating brush. Next came extractions, a calming masque and a scalp moisturizing treatment, followed by a divine back, neck, shoulder, scalp and Calendula oil face massage. After the facial, I wondered if anyone would notice if I moved permanently into the Tranquility Lounge, considered it seriously for a moment, and then reluctantly headed for home. Special Offer:Mention Chill Out LA and receive a 50 percent discount on a second treatment with the purchase of any 60-minute service.
Solar-Powered Tanning? Go Figure. I've been curious about Sunlounge, which bills itself as a "green" tanning studio, ever since it opened down the street from Chill Out LA HQ a year or so ago. I finally had a chance to visit (conveniently timed just before a trip to Maui) last month. My visit began with the 90-minute Cucumber Mint Massage Souffle, a decadent body treatment designed to stimulate, detoxify and exfoliate the skin - the perfect prep for the spray tan to follow.
My massage therapist rubbed me down with a pleasantly tingly Cucumber Mint body wrap by Eminence Organics to gently slough off dead skin and then wrapped me in sheets to encourage detoxification while she massaged the scalp and neck. She finished me off with a rich Cucumber Mint massage souffle to provide deep nourishment and antioxidant benefits to the skin.
Next came the VersaSpa spray tan treatment. I stepped into the machine with a teensy bit of apprehension, as this was my first spray tan. But thanks to detailed instructions from the spa attendant (which were reiterated by the machine itself), I made it through the procedure with no problems and emerged with a lovely golden hue. Sunlounge also offers custom-applied spray tanning (see special for Chill Out LA readers), as well as solar-powered tanning beds, so it's well equipped to meet all your tanning needs. Special Offer: Mention Chill Out LA and receive a custom-applied spray tanning treament for only $25 (regularly $75).
If you enjoy things that feel good, then drop what you're doing and head to Aroma Spa in Koreatown for their Scrub and Calming Treatment. If you don't enjoy things that feel good, then please...carry on with whatever you were doing.
If you've never been to a Korean spa, be aware that it's not quite the experience many of today's spa-goers are used to. There's no cucumber-infused water or Zen flute tooting quietly in the background. It feels more like what spas might've been back in the day: steam rooms, showers, soaking tubs, and a bunch of naked chicks walking around (there's a men's section too).
It's important to arrive at Aroma 20 to 30 minutes before your scrub so that you can enjoy the tubs and prep the skin. I wandered into a big, tiled room to find women of all shapes and sizes showering, taking dips and chatting. After I spent some time in the hot tub, cold tub and steam room, Lee called my number and escorted me into a "wet room" filled with about 15 women receiving treatments atop vinyl tables.
Again, unlike the spas you may be used to, the treatment area is neither private nor quiet, and you receive your treatment completely naked from a woman wearing only a bra and panties. Honestly, if you are modest, you may have trouble with this experience, but if you can get over it, it is phenomenal.
First, Lee (who is much stronger than she looks) scrubbed the body all over, sloughing off the dead skin and occasionally rinsing me off with bowls of warm water, a sensation I hoped would never end. Then she shampooed the hair and applied a conditioning treatment. While the conditioner soaked in, she massaged me from head to toe, including my face. She applied a collagen mask as she continued with the rubdown and, throughout the entire process, masterfully placed hot towels in all the right places. When my hour and a half was up, I was squeaky clean, relaxed, and my skin was as smooth as a baby's...oh, you know the rest.
Here's the topper: You can soak, steam, slough and shower for as long as you like without giving a second thought to parking fees, as Aroma validates for a full five hours of parking under their building.
Spa wizard Barry Walker (who also owns El Leon Spa) has tucked his latest endeavor away on Rowena Ave. in Silver Lake. I visited The Raven on a particularly hot spring day, hoping to relax and unwind from an exhausting week. As I walked through the entryway - a Thai oasis with bamboo and wicker lounges, paper umbrellas and potted shade trees - I already started to feel a little more Zen.
The kind receptionist greeted me with a glass of cucumber water, and I quickly downed three glasses (seriously, it was hot). But I knew hydration would be necessary for my 2 1/2-hour Rock Star treatment, which combines all The Raven's signature offerings - reflexology, Thai massage, hand-and-foot exfoliation and a facial. My tiny masseuse, Thip, led me to a changing room, where I slipped into a cotton t-shirt and linen pants. She began with a relaxing arm and leg exfoliation treatment and Reiki massage, and then led me to a curtained-off bed for an hour-long Thai massage. I can honestly say this was the most thorough massage I've ever received. Tiny Thip used her super-strength hands, feet, legs and forearms to work out all my muscle lumps and stretch the bejesus out of my limbs. It was like a deep-tissue massage and yoga class in one.
After the intense bodywork was over, Thip gave me a facial using detoxifying yogurt followed by a honey/banana mask, and massaged the head, shoulders and neck with jojoba oil, leaving my skin smooth as silk. When the session ended, Thip still wasn't satisfied with a stubborn knot in my neck, so she spent an extra 15 minutes determined to stretch it back into shape.
The Rock Star is the Raven's most extravagant treatment, but considering the above-and-beyond service, and the fact that you're getting four treatments in one, it's a worthwhile indulgence if ever there was one. Special Offer:Mention Chill Out LA and take $20 off any massage Monday through Thursday.