New Bathing Rituals to Refresh Your Body and Soul

Soak in a host of products and remedies across The Golden State



Bathing has always been more than just a means to an end. We bathe to detoxify, relax and to pamper ourselves. For those who flock to natural hot springs, it’s a communal activity; for others looking for a way to unwind at the end of the day, it’s a solitary act of renewal. Rituals like alternating hot and cold dipping pools, saunas, steam and bathtub soaks tweaked with endless combinations of essential oils, flowers and milk are only part of the story. And while the practice itself is as old as time, it seems that recently there has been an explosion of indulgent bathing options, from elite hotel spas to mineral-rich nature spots.


Sweet Release
The Couples Relaxation Retreat at Monarch Beach Resort’s Miraval Life in Balance Spa (from $275 per person/90 min., 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, 800-722-1543) offers de-stressing and reconnecting in a private room with your significant other — a cozy fire blazing in the background. Start with an aromatherapy soak featuring an essential oil to match your intention (chamomile to soothe, rosemary to invigorate, or ylang-ylang to relax), followed by a custom, full-body, tension-releasing massage.


Better Together
Inspired by ancient Egyptian bathing rituals, Ladies of the Canyon at Poppy and Someday ($150 per person/90 min., 323-798-5539) beckons you to gather your friends for an afternoon of communal rejuvenation. You’re treated to an outdoor salt scrub, customized for each group and season, using a combination of hand-harvested herbs, essential oils and salt. Follow that with a sacred bath experience for each individual, utilizing herbs, flowers, crystals, seaweed, salt and colloidal oatmeal. After, guests can enjoy the infrared sauna and crystal-charged steam room at their leisure.


In Hot Water
Book an Esalen Massage at the Esalen Institute ($195/75 min., 55000 CA-1, Big Sur, 888-837-2536) for an hour-plus of deeply relaxing, long, continuous strokes, incorporating varied technical origins such as Swedish massage, craniosacral therapy, kinesiology, yoga and tai chi. Included with booked treatments is access to Esalen’s legendary, mineral-rich healing hot springs, situated on the cliff’s edge, overlooking the ocean. The springs are also open to the public for stargazing and nighttime dips between 1 and 3 a.m. with a reservation. Bathing suits optional.


Sea You Later
Float like you haven’t a worry in the world, in a warm, copper tub enhanced by the aroma of orange blossoms and vanilla during the Tranquility treatment at The Spa at Terranea (from $205/60 min., 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, 310-265-2740). Post-soak, let your mind drift while you are wrapped in a cocoon of sea blue mineral clay designed to nourish and calm the body. Marinate in the hydrating mixture while your face, neck and scalp are massaged for optimal relaxation.


Rituals with essential oils, flowers and milk are only part of the story


Rinse and Repeat
The Hammam Vichy Ritual at Spa Montage ($325/90 min., Montage Beverly Hills, 225 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, 310-860-7840), inspired by ancient Eastern cleansing practices and enhanced with detoxifying aromatherapy oils, begins with a methodical, full-body exfoliation. Afterward, enjoy a hydrating body wash followed by a soothing scalp massage and hair wash. Included with all treatments is access to the renowned, magnesium-infused, co-ed mineral pool.


Recipe for Relaxation
In need of a serious reset? Book the Ritual Immersion at Ole Henriksen Face/Body Spa ($630/3 hours 45 min., 8622 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-854-7700). The journey begins in a candlelit room, where you are immersed in an amber-infused bath. Next, an organic, customized blend of ingredients like coffee, sugar and lemon are used to exfoliate and tone the skin, followed by a jasmine rose clay wrap to polish and soften. After rinsing, rich shea butter and heated cardamom are used for a hydrating, deep-tissue massage. Finish with a clarifying facial.


Take the Plunge
Home to the only natural mineral-rich hot spring in Los Angeles, Beverly Hot Springs reigns supreme as the most illustrious Korean spa around. Book the Body Scrub/Body Care Combo ($120/80 min., 308 N. Oxford Ave., L.A., 323-734-7000) to experience the benefits of its most popular treatments. A rigorous scrub with seaweed soap exfoliates and stimulates circulation. Then a calming skin-conditioning massage with oil, milk, yogurt and a cucumber mask leaves your skin baby-soft. Stay as long as you like and take advantage of the sodium bicarbonate-rich alkaline hot springs, cold plunge pool, eucalyptus steam room and dry sauna.




TATA HARPER Redefining body balm, $125.


CAMPO The “Woody” ultrasonic essential oil diffuser, $97.


CAUDALIE Instant Detox mask, $39.


BACKHOUSE Apolena candle, $30.


AYLA Sea Soak, $59.



This story originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of C Magazine.

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