While it may seem like the ultimate in indulgence, spending time on a massage table is an excellent complement to a round on the links. There’s a reason why golf courses and spa resorts are often located on the same property, and the following top-notch locales are no exception.
The newest property in the Southland, Terranea is the Los Angeles area’s only oceanfront resort, on the cliffs that used to be the home of Marineland.
Where to unwind: The 50,000-square-foot Spa at Terranea opened in 2009 and was designed by wellness experts, resulting in a holistic oasis. With a top-of-the-line fitness center, wellness center and salon, multitasking at the spa is a reality.
To benefit the game: The Sports Massage is tailored to address muscles and joints, resulting in improved flexibility while flushing metabolic waste from the tissues. A great start or finish to a round.
What sets it apart: The Spa at Terranea is oceanfront and offers several treatment rooms that take advantage of some of the best views of Catalina in California. One particular room features a copper bathtub, perfect for couples’ treatments.
On the course: The Links at Terranea is a nine-hole, par-3 design by local architect Todd Eckenrode, the talent behind Barona Creek Golf Club in San Diego. It’s far from some pitch-and-putt course, though. These par-3 holes require distance, accuracy and focus from the distraction of the views of the Pacific.
More information: terranea.com
A one-of-a-kind property perched above the Pacific, Pelican Hill is the epitome of class, service and satisfaction, whether teeing it up on either of the Tom Fazio golf courses or relaxing spa-side after a long day on the links.
Where to unwind: The Spa at Pelican Hill opened alongside the resort in 2008 and since then has been a draw for Newport Beach locals as much as travelers seeking relaxation. Guests are greeted with 22 treatment rooms; a full-service salon; and the coup de gras, the Acqua Colonnade. Complete with steam, sauna and whirlpool, the colonnade is an architectural highlight to the men’s and women’s wings.
To benefit the game: Think about trying the Deep Tissue Massage. Designed to relieve pain and improve performance and mobility, this massage focuses on deep pressure to sore points to alleviate aggravated muscles. Pelican Hill also offers a Sports Scrub, which revitalizes tired skin and rejuvenates the entire body after a round.
What sets it apart: Pelican Hill features the Balanced Wellness program, a multifaceted, three-day experience resulting in what can be considered a lifestyle change. Cooking demos, nutrition advice, hikes, workouts, spa treatments and more are led by resort staff along with Ashley Borden, Hollywood-based lifestyle and nutrition consultant to the stars. One of her favorite moves? Myofascial Release, otherwise known as “rolling out.” By literally rolling different parts of the body over a foam roller or PVC pipe, rolling out has the same effect as a deep-tissue massage and can open up muscles for increased blood flow and a better overall workout.
On the course: Tom Fazio redesigned the Ocean North and Ocean South courses in 2007, opening up breathtaking views of Corona Del Mar, Catalina and Newport Harbor. Forecaddies are a fun addition to a round, and a trip to the Pelican Hill Golf Academy can shave some strokes off a score (for golf tips from Director of Instruction Glenn Deck, see page 20).
More information: pelicanhill.com
Ojai Valley Inn has been known for more than 80 years as one of the most luxe getaways north of Los Angeles. After a $90 million renovation to the historic property in 2005, the Andalusian Spanish-style resort received the coveted Five-Diamond Award from AAA, a distinction less than 100 hotels have earned.
Where to unwind: Spa Ojai, a 31,000-square-foot hideaway of sorts. It has clean lines, custom tile floors and hand-painted tile mosaics, and each of the 28 treatment rooms have corner fireplaces. Spa Ojai has been a favorite spa destination since opening in 1997. It also honors the traditions of the Chumash Indians, Ojai Valley’s first inhabitants.
To benefit the game: Experience the Kuyam (Chumash for “a place to rest together”). The only treatment of its type in the United States, Kuyam combines the therapeutic effects of cleansing desert clay, dry heat, inhalation therapy and a traditional Chumash guided meditation for ultrarelaxation.
What sets it apart: The 1,200-square-foot Artist’s Cottage and Apothecary. It’s a newer addition to Ojai, fostering relaxation and creativity in such mediums as painting, basic and silverpoint drawing, silk scarf painting, and the personal mandala. In the Apothecary, guests can mix their own fresh essential oils to make spa products for home.
On the course: Ojai’s golf course, built by George C. Thomas, Jr., and Billy Bell in 1923, has a fun history over its 6,292-yard layout. In 1999, the resort reintroduced the “Lost Holes,” two holes included in the original design that were lost during a World War II-era renovation. With the Lost Holes back in the layout, the course is a perfect complement to the rest of the property.
More information: ojairesort.com
A small oasis in North San Diego County, Rancho Bernardo Inn is one of the area’s true hidden gems. Thanks to a renovation a couple of years ago, combined with some of the finest dining in the area, the resort is a popular destination for locals and travelers alike.
Where to unwind: The Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn has completed its recent renovation, and the result is a garden paradise only steps from the resort and golf course. Outside, a 2,500-square-foot pool is surrounded by manicured gardens and seven cabanas.
To benefit the game: One of the Made-to-Order treatments is a delicious way to enjoy the spa. The Relaxing Massage option uses tangerines and oranges to promote relaxation after a stressful day.
What sets it apart: The Spa Garden is very idyllic, with casitas, outdoor fireplaces and water features that provide a Zen experience. The garden is unique among San Diego spas and a nice way to finish a spa day.
On the course: Opened in 1962, the William F. Bell layout is 6,631 yards, a former host to several PGA and LPGA events, and only steps from the lobby and restaurants. Join in on one of the resort’s hickory club events for a vintage throwback.
More information: ranchobernardoinn.com
An opulent property set in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, this resort opened in 2008 and quickly racked up the accolades for its gold accents, richly appointed rooms and stunning old-world Mediterranean architecture inspired by the style of Addison Mizner.
Where to unwind: The Spa at The Grand Del Mar was awarded the “Best Day Spa” in the country accolade by the Web site Luxist, in part for its collection of natural therapies and organic product line custom-made for the resort. It reflects on the Renaissance, with interiors graced with crystal glass tiles, archways, marble and wood accents.
To benefit the game: The Core Elements treatment is great for athletes, helping to balance and strengthen the body’s core through a lower back, hip and abdominal massage and ending with a mud wrap. You can also go full-body with the extended treatment, which adds in neck, shoulders and upper-back massage.
What makes it stand out: Its men’s and women’s lounges are some of the most beautiful around. Women walk through a pathway lined with framed Hermes scarves to a waiting area with a fireplace, while men relax in a lounge akin to a sophisticated study, complete with flat-screen TV and crimson-red leather high-back chairs.
On the course: The Grand Golf Club is Tom Fazio’s only San Diego design, which winds through the rugged beauty of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. The club is also home to The Grand Del Mar Performance Academy, which can help perfect your game in the lap of luxury.
More information: thegranddelmar.com
Although Indian Wells Golf Resort is home to four distinct properties, the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort boasts private villas with butler service, 45 acres of gardens and fountains, and views of the golf courses from its recently renovated rooms.
Where to unwind: Agua Serena Spa, as the name would indicate, is surrounded by pools of water and reflection pools to promote relaxation. Combined with teak furniture and light, bright accents, Agua Serena is a calming safe haven from the desert heat.
To benefit the game: A deep-tissue massage directed specifically at muscles used in athletic activities, the Athletes Massage promotes optimal flexibility by allowing therapists to narrow the focus to working over just the leg muscles, or expand to kneading more muscles.
What makes it stand out: Agua Serena is also home to The Medical and Skin Spa, one of the facilities featured in the book 100 Best Spas of the World.
On the course: Clive Clark redesigned what is now known as the Celebrity Course in 2006, and the following year John Fought put his touches on the Players Course. The facility hosted the LG Skins Game in 2007-08, and not long after, the massive IW Club opened, serving as the clubhouse. It’s also home to the Callaway Performance Lab and a tasty set of eateries. Indian Wells is the only 36-hole public golf facility with both courses on
Golfweek’s Top 20 Best Courses You Can Play in California.
More information: indianwellsgolfresort.com
La Costa Resort, the first spa resort in the country when it opened more than four decades ago, is hidden among 400 acres of landscaping and offers a complete selection of dining, shopping and activities within its Spanish-style architecture.
Where to unwind: The Spa at La Costa has been at the forefront of spa treatments since opening, and since a 2003 renovation to it and the entire resort property, continues to implement unique programs like Spa Under the Stars. It’s also home to Yamaguchi Salon, so you can get primped and primed for a round.
To benefit the game: The Sports treatment features a pre-game or post-game option. Pre-game equates to invigorating massage strokes and range-of-motion stretching, while post-game uses slower, longer strokes to alleviate tight muscles.
What makes it stand out: The spa is also home to the Chopra Center. Founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra, the center allows guests to experience Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old healing system of India, as well as yoga and meditation therapies.
On the course: La Costa has 36 holes of golf; the La Costa Golf Academy; and Roger Fredericks’ Golf Flexibility Program, in which Arnold Palmer has participated. Fredericks’ program is a great way to improve your shape for on and off the course.
More information: lacosta.com
Aviara has garnered award after award, most recently Golf Digest’s Top 75 Golf Resorts in America for 2010 and Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2003-2010.
Where to unwind: The Spa is a European-style retreat, complete with an indoor solarium lounge area to let in the
San Diego sun. A very luxe couples spa suite includes a fireplace, lounge area, shower for two, and a private outdoor patio with whirlpool.
To benefit the game: The ultimate treatment for golfers is a 30-minute exfoliating peppermint hand scrub, followed by a eucalyptus-infused hand treatment that focuses on pressure points of specific muscle groups used while gripping the club. The experience ends with a paraffin dip that penetrates the skin and acts as a sealant, leaving the golfer’s hands hydrated and smooth as silk for their next round.
What makes it stand out: In what is likely every golfer’s dream, a private Golfer’s Spa Suite features an oversized whirlpool; fridge stocked with beer and Arnold Palmer’s personal favorite, half-iced tea and half-lemonade; and a putting green on the patio for those still dreaming of the course.
On the course: Arnold Palmer designed Aviara’s 7,000-yard layout in 1991. Sculpted around the natural topography of the area, Condé Nast Traveler named the property the No. 1 golf resort in Southern California in 2008.
More information: parkaviara.hyatt.com
This classic desert property has been a favorite of Hollywood stars and travel aficionados for more than 80 years. In the spirit of “more is better,” there are 41 pools, 53 hot spas and nearly 800 rooms to choose from on property.
Where to unwind: The 23,000-square-foot Spa La Quinta borrows many of its treatments from its Native American ancestors within its Spanish-style architecture. Yamaguchi Salon, in the Spa, can round out a relaxing experience.
To benefit the game: Try the La Quinta Sportsman, a male-centric combination of a body scrub and sports massage, using specialty sports lotions to help melt away the tiredness in golf-fatigued muscles.
What sets it apart: A focus on outdoor treatments means an impressive alfresco concept of open-air shower treatments, garden baths and massages, all at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains.
On the course: There’s no shortage of golf at La Quinta Resort & Club, home to five golf courses, including the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West. The La Quinta Resort Dunes and Mountain courses will host SCGA Member Outings in mid-May.
More information: laquintaresort.com