The 9 Best Winter Spa Experiences in Northern California
From Nob Hill to Pebble Beach and Lake Tahoe
Winter’s a confusing season for denizens of the Bay Area. We may miss out on the polar vortices/blizzards, but we’re not exactly soaking up sunshine, either.
We know this much for sure, though: the weather’s crummy on a regular enough basis that you’re allowed to feel like you need to occasionally escape it — by retreating to one of the region’s many impeccable spas and bathhouses.
To make choosing one easy, we found our top three in three different categories: within the city limits, deserving of an overnight, or requiring an entire weekend away.
They’re the best way to end a day skiing, golfing, or, most pernicious of all, conference calling.
WITHIN CITY LIMITS
Treatment: It’s a little on the nose, but a hot stone massage is perfect for cool winter days. If you want to mix it up, add the hot stones to a “euphoric” Dayala In Fiore body balm, scented with jasmine and lemongrass.
Treatment: Without doubt, our favorite sauna in S.F. (and usually with easy parking). You might enjoy the venik platza, which involves being hit with warm bundles of birch or oak tree twigs. We’ll be adding a deep tissue massage to some with in the clean, spacious, and hot saunas. Note: On February 13, Archimedes is coming with best of all possible worlds with a “sauna and suds” pop-up event with local brewer Speakeasy.
Nob Hill Spa
Treatment: Add a Gentleman’s Facial — or a Cleansing Back Treatment; you know what you need — to the Citrus Oro Salt Scrub, which will banish winter dullness with organic olive oil, sweet almond and jojoba oils, plus deep moisturizing with a “beautifully silky buttercream.”
Roman Spa, Calistoga
Treatment: Go hike Mount Saint Helena next door, then plonk in for a Calistoga volcanic ash mud bath. (Consider this for Valentine’s Day, as the spa offers private rooms for two mud-bathers.) Add on a massage with 50mg of Vital Body Therapeutics hemp CBD.
Farmhouse Inn, Forestville
Treatment: The concierges at the Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma will put together a custom itinerary among the many local wineries; once you’ve had your fill, settle in for the Winter Ritual treatment, with a 45-minute Warming Ginger Honey Massage and 45-minute facial to solve the issues of winterfied skin. (Also included: hot tub. And a Michelin star for the inn’s restaurant.)
Indian Springs, Calistoga
Treatment: The heated pool here is its own kind of therapy, but one that’s best followed up with a session in the little massage cabins — with a gentleman’s facial (brow clean-up complimentary) and Indian Springs signature mud bath with geothermally heated water.
AWAY FOR THE WEEKEND
Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe, Northstar
Treatment: Nothing soothes after a day of high-energy winter sports than a “healing hot springs copper wrap,” boosted by similarly soothing eucalyptus and camphor oils. Top it off with an 80-minute “men’s massage.”
The Inn at Spanish Bay
Treatment: Expect it to be marginally warmer at Pebble Beach, so no intense heating required. Instead, focus on recovery after a long day on the links — specifically, with the Golfer’s Hole-in-One Package, combining a “sports bodywork massage” and “golfer’s foot renewal.”
The Stanford Inn, Mendocino
Treatment: The pool under the greenhouse is heated to a lovely 82 degrees — it’s extra nice when it’s extra wintry outside, along the Mendocino coast. Add a hot-stone massage for a suitably warming experience.
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