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Ahhh . . .
Our highly selective list of day spas in the North Bay
Compiled by Gretchen Giles
We tread with trepidation into the slippery waters of the day spa round-up. Will we miss some establishments that are more than worthy of mention? You bet. Will we get some of it slightly wrong, perhaps saluting a milk bath that is really milk thistle soak and not in fact an immersion in dairy products? Uh huh.
In fact, we're sorry in advance.
Caveat clearly written, we push on into the extremely foreign (to us) world of being naked with strangers, getting rubbed by strangers and just having strangers generally tend to one's own sweet body. As weird as we are (and, yes, we know it), rumor has it that most folks like this stuff.
With that mystery in mind, we herewith offer a service-oriented take on places where you might actually enjoy the day-spa experience.
Amadeus Spa at the Napa Valley Marriott Locals may use the sauna and pool for the day if a treatment has been reserved, which is not a bad way to kill eight hours. Amadeus offers spa lunches, a "Gentlemen's Paradise" package for the guys and a girlfriend's group treatment. Romance packages, too. 3425 Solano Ave., Napa. 707.254.3330.
Avance Day Spa One of the few spas we've found to have a full slate of services for men, Avance also tackles the gnarly question of waxing for men--"sports" waxing included, shudder--and even offers a facial for the back. For the better half, Mother's Day specials abound and massages range from sports to pregnancy to a stone treatment combined with facial. 585 Coombsville Road, Napa. 707.226.6822.
Calistoga Massage & Day Spa A perennial "Best Of"of the North Bay readers choice winner, this establishment mixes light dermatological treatment with mani- and pedicures as well as wraps and massages. 1219 Washington St., Calistoga. 707.942.6193.
Calistoga Oasis Spa We're intrigued by those spas that not only offer mud, massage and wraps but also invoke ritual. The Oasis Spa is one of those, now organizing New Moon rituals, the next to be held on May 16, that help give structure to resolutions and life decisions within the spa environment. Oasis also offers unique massage treatments, including reiki, deep tissue, Trager, reflexology, lomi lomi and champi. 1300 Washington St., Calistoga. 707.942.2122.
Calistoga Spa Hot Springs A family-oriented destination where all of you can take the waters together. Also massage and outdoor mineral baths. 1006 Washington St., Calistoga. 866.822.5772.
Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort One of the older spas, established in 1952 to help seekers take the waters, Dr. Wilkinson's has stayed up with the times, offering full skin-care treatments as well as hot spring baths, mud baths and rubdowns. New to them is the "Lavender Muscle Melt," which we are assured does not actually atrophy the strong stuff away. 1507 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. 707.942.4102.
EuroSpa & Inn Offering a discount to those patrons who show up in hybrid and biodiesel cars, EuroSpa stresses the use of local ingredients and European service. 1202 Pine St., Calistoga. 707.942.6829.
Golden Haven Hot Springs & Spa Mud, mud and more mud as well as European body wraps, facials, foot reflexology and plenty of massage packages. 1713 Lake St., Calistoga. 707.942.6793.
Health Spa Napa Valley Private, hotel-positive services available to the general public. Locals wishing to use all the fitness room, eucalyptus steam rooms, pools and other amenities are charged $25 Monday-Thursday; $40, Friday-Sunday. Reserved treatments include Swedish, stone, open-air and stress-reducing massages, wraps and scrubs. There's also a seven-hour wellness day that includes a walk, bike ride, yoga and three treatments for a minimum of four people. 1030 Main St., St. Helena. 707.967.8800.
Indian Springs Resort & Spa Hand-sifted ancient volcanic ash from the resort's own hillside mixed with mineral water springing up onsite is the miracle mixture for this resort's healing powers. Featuring an Olympic-sized pool filled with thermal water directly from their own grounds that spurts up from four natural geysers. A Buddha pond filled with the geyser's run-off and a full slate of massage therapies, including for pregnancy, acupressure and craniosacral, are among the offerings. 1712 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. 707.942.4913.
Lavender Hill Spa Geared for couples, Lavender Hill is a popular destination for honeymooners, lovers and re-igniters. Also featuring girlfriend retreats and mother/daughter specials, Lavender Hill encourages togetherness through double tub rooms and offers a unique milk-based Thai bath that uses white kelp and citrus essences. 1015 Foothill Blvd., Calistoga. 707.942.4495.
Lincoln Avenue Spa Mud is the name of the game at Lincoln Avenue, which offers body mud treatments ranging from herbal mineral (12 Ayurvedic herbs) to sea (kelp) to wine (green tea, wine grapes, grape seed oil) to mint (yup). Facials, scrubs, herbal baths, aromatherapy and massages round out the slate. 1339 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. 707.942.5296.
Mount View Hotel & Spa Full-service spa featuring all the ordinary rub-down techniques one's come to expect as well as reiki, grapeseed and seaweed wraps and the "Dr. Hauschka Rhythmical Body Treatment," which promises to improve digestion and goose the lymph. We dare ya. 1457 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. 707.942.5789.
Villagio Inn & Spa Welcoming to locals, the spa opens at 7:30am and has co-ed sauna and steam rooms, an outdoor pool and a variety of body services, including several-course "vignette" treatments intended to solace body and soul through a full slate of water, scrubs, wraps or massages. Beauty, foot and hand and waxing treatments also available. 6481 Washington St., Yountville. 707.944.8877.
Asante Day Spa Holistic health and all-natural beauty products are the focus here, with massage and beauty services being just among the offerings. Of note is the full-family massage package, for anyone from pregnant mothers to newborns to teens to oldersters. They do, in fact, also offer a massage package for pets. 1003 Third St., San Rafael. 415.460.6506.
Barefoot & Pregnant Catering to the unique needs of mothers-to-be and postpartum moms, Barefoot terms itself a "maternity spa," but offers more than just specialized rubdowns, aiming to connect parents and supply such unique items as a belly mask and, of course, plenty of clothing. A rapidly expanding franchise, they have just completed a deal with the Casa Madrona Hotel, moving from their former Larkspur location. 801 Bridgeway, Sausalito. 415.354.8308.
Eden Day Spa Harking back somewhat to the old spas of yore (think Elizabeth Arden and those infamous red doors), Eden is girl-friendly, with Venus being evoked in modern bath-house style. Massage and body work are a mainstay but beauty treatments are emphasized. 541 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo. 415.464.9111.
Evo Spa In addition to the bodywork expected at a day spa, Evo is among those day spas that offer guided ritual practices of all kinds. This full-service day spa also has noninvasive facelifts, full-body bronzing, acupuncture, biofeedback and Chinese medicine. 216 Strawberry Village, Mill Valley. 415.383.3223.
Juvenis As with Eden Day Spa, Juvenis is as much about outer beauty as it is massage and body treatments. Cellulite treatment, termed "endermologie," is their most popular treatment, which claims to increase metabolism by a whopping 300 percent and is said to find some dropping two dress sizes simply through the treatment. Sign us directly up! 2829 Bridgeway, Ste. 202, Sausalito. 415.332.5551.
Safronya Based on traditional Ayurvedic methodologies, this spa concentrates on the purifying faculties of saffron in both metaphor and practice. Spa seekers are encouraged to try everything from the full "queen" packages to simply coming in to take a solitary bath, which may not seem like much unless you're a new parent or otherwise consumed with the well-being of others. In such an instance, the words "solitary bath" have an almost holy tang. Unlike some day spas, Safronya will also feed you over the course of a day. As with Evo and a few other spas, ritual is emphasized. Safronya, 523 D St., San Rafael. 415.259.0433.
Serenity Day Spa Therapeutic massage from a variety of disciplines is key at Serenity, as is craniosacral balancing, as well as wraps, polishes, waxing and other beauty services. 2725 Northgate Drive, San Rafael. 415.499.9041.
Shibui Gardens What used to be a wild, late-night hot-tub scene in Marin's peacock-feather-and-cocaine heyday has naturally enough grown up. Still open late in the evening, Shibui indeed still features open-air hot-water soaks that are complimentary after a long massage. 19 Tilapias Ave., San Anselmo. 415.457.0283.
Spa de Novato This establishment will even pick up, drop off and take out to lunch those clients who anticipate being too blessed-out to ambulate, cook or drive. Featuring a full slate of massage and bathes, Spa de Novato also gives haircuts and has a full mani-pedi service. 1305 Grant Ave., Novato. 415.897.4511.
Stellar Spa Specializing in beauty and skin treatments as well a massages and all manner of yummy-sounding applications (Riesling and Chardonnay facial; coconut and lime sugar scrubs), Stellar offers lunch with the purchase of any package. Also, Stellar is among the few day spas to focus exclusively on the fellas, offering a "men's" package specially targeted to masculine day spa needs. 26 Tilapias Drive, Corte Madera. 415.924.7300.
Tea Garden Springs OK, here's a new one. In an effort to spread a love of opera, Tea Garden Springs offers a new "Bell Canto Opera Massage" of an hour to an hour-and-a-half in duration, during which favorite arias are part of the treatment; current San Francisco Opera ticket holders get 10 percent off. Billing itself as a "Zen spa," Tea Garden is inspired by the Chinese tradition of feng shui and offers a full slate of massage styles from around the world. Seeking to supply sustenance in many ways, the spa also has weekly guided meditation as well as personal counseling services. The spa additionally makes community commitment a priority, contributing over $4,000 in services to worthy organizations last year alone. Very cool. 38 Miller Ave., Mill Valley. 415. 389.7123.
Akoia We have it on good authority that an Akoia client reported feeling as if he had taken a "magic carpet ride" during a recent massage at Akoia, and we're all for honest serotonin bursts here at the Boho. Treatments include massage styles of all kinds (carpet evidently included) as well as a uniqe Thai poultice application that delivers heat directly to specified areas. Seasonal specials currently include the prudent use of chocolate and a two-hour package for men. Scrubs, facials and waxings, too. 452-B Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. 707.433.1270.
Alles A European-style day spa, Alles offers Swedish massage as well as reflexology but borrows from the East for such as its Tropical Javanese body scrub, which utilizes rice hulls and nutmeg to revitalize the dermis. Facial treatments are unique to the Old Country, and Alles also has a men's facial. Waxing, mani-pedi and other beauty treatments available. 380 Windsor River Road, Windsor. 707.838.3223.
Fairmont Sonoma-Mission Inn Spa Pumping their water up from 11,000 feet below the surface, the Sonoma-Mission Inn accesses the very waters that made Boyes Hot Springs, well, so darned hot in the first place. Featuring pools of varying temperatures, this spa is lavishly welcoming to locals. Day use fee is $89 but is waived or reduced depending on whether a local reserves a treatment; using the facility Monday-Thursday equals another discount, and North Bay residents are welcome to take the 7am hikes or 8am bicycle rides that the hotel offers. Bike trips are $30 and include the bike and helmet, water and transport to and from the ride. Truly a hidden gem in our midst, this facility has massages of all types, personalized yoga and pilates, floatation beds and a variety of wellness services that even extend to tarot. All classes are on a drop-in basis. 100 Boyes Boulevard, Sonoma. 707.938.9000.
Garden Spa at MacArthur Place Therapies are limited to "single-note" essential oils such as rose or lavender or even Chardonnay, allowing the visitor to fully experience the aromatherapy properties of the scent chosen. Of note at the Garden Spa is the "Adam" treatment for men only. Couples' treatments, face peel and unique vegetable wraps (including carrot, pumpkin and greens) round out the slate. At MacArthur Place, 29 E. MacArthur St., Sonoma. 707.938.2929.
Kenwood Inn & Spa The only Caudalie Vinotherapie spa in the country, Kenwood focuses on the healing properties of the grape as discerned by scientists in Bordeaux. Clients are soaked in or wrapped up with Merlot, honey and/or crushed grape seeds before then being massaged with Chardonnay extracts or hot stones. Couples' packages and a special men's-only treatment also available. The local's cost is $35 extra for those not staying at the Inn. 10400 Sonoma Hwy. (Highway 12), Kenwood. 707.833.1293.
Mermaids Spa & Seaweed Bath Shop Tucked into a small building fortunately adjacent to Michelin Guide-winner K&L Bistro, Mermaids specializes in soaking, offering hour-long baths whose price includes a blanket wrap and foot massage. Facials, wraps and massages, too. 115 S. Main St., Sebastopol. 707.823.3535.
New Dawn Day Spa Specializes in massage, body wraps, scrubs and even an hour-long scalp treatment. They also offer a three-day package with three days of facials and massages, polishes and scrubs. 6741 Sebastopol Ave., Ste. 160, in the Gravenstein Station. 707.823.8441.
Osmosis Now all green from top to bottom, Osmosis offers the only cedar enzyme baths in the country. Massage in open-air pavilions, facials and their famous gardens round out some of the spa's offerings. Of interest to locals is their three-week enzyme cleansing treatment designed to flush the system gently of accumulated toxins over several spa visits and includes personalized lifestyle and nutritional coaching with a supervising physician. Free morning meditation each Thursday at 8am just began for the season. 209 Bohemian Hwy., Freestone. 707.823.8231.
A Simple Touch This spa will close its doors to all but you and your party, allowing for catering and wine in a spa environment with a full slate of massage therapies, facials, scrubs, reflexology, spray tans, hot rocks and wraps. 239 Center St., Healdsburg. 707.433.6856.
Sonoma Spa On the Plaza in Sonoma, this spa warms clients up in the sauna before using mud and massage to warm them on the inside. Look for their Internet specials, which can save almost 50 percent on services, currently aimed at girlfriends and couples. 457 First St. W., Sonoma. 707.939.8770.
The Spa at Hotel Healdsburg This high-end spa just off Healdsburg Plaza specializes in body and face pampering as well as couples' therapy using products that could probably just as well be served next door at the hotel's in-house restaurant, the Dry Creek Kitchen. Look for cucumber, mint, Champagne, rose petals and sugar to figure largely. The stylish, modern feel of the house adds to the experience. 327 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. 707.433.4747.
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