Spa Struck By Displays at Spa Magazine’s Annual Event

The annual Spa 
Magazine Spring Event , which yours truly never misses,  was certainly a star-struck affair featuring  headliner spas and cosmetics companies gathered at the posh Montage Beverly Hills Hotel.

The Diva samples a new treatment from Terranea Spa (one of the spa sponsors), it felt so good

Sheila Cluff, owner/founder The Oaks at Ojai, promotes new menu and cutting edge treatments offered at her spa.Sheila showed  her chef’s yummy, 52.6 calorie dessert, a divine chocolate mousse made with tofu. The Oaks at Oaji,

Miraval Spa also showed its “ground breaking treatments” offered at the Tucson, Arizona resort.

Mii Amo at Enchantment, a destination spa in Sedona Boynton Canyon, gave out this little sampler, along with information on its new “Journeys”: Healthy Body Balance, Rites of Passage and Mii amo Master.

Glen Ivy Hot Springs in SoCalm a 150-yea-old  rejuvenation spa promoted the red clay mud baths, underground moisturizing cabes and massages done under oak trees.

The  Huntingon Spa at the Langham Huntingon formerly a Ritz Carlton (where I’ve spa-ed happily in the past), talked about the spa’s facelift and the Chaun Body + Soul philosophy that incorporates traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture and cupping) for a holistical experience.

Until last night I was unfamiliar with Kohler Waters Spa.  I’d heard of the company but dnot the spa which is actually 10 years old and focuses on, you guess it, water treatments that cleanse the mind and body.

One healthy getaway I am very familiar with, The Spa at The Grand Del Mar, touted the variety of natural therapies gleaned from resources of near by Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve (which we checked out and hiked through on our last visit). This is one fab spa with top notch treatments.

And the host hotel, Montage, escorted guests to their  spiffy spa for a salubrious hand, exfoliation treatment.

Travel Diva Does Montage Hotel Beverly Hills

The Discerning Diva Does The Montage Beverly Hills

Elegance, old world charm, attention to details defines the Montage Hotel Beverly Hills…but of course with Ali Kasikci as managing director we don’t expect any less.

The 201-room, Spanish Colonial Revival-style hotel sits smack in the center of Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle—a premium area of upscale shops and restaurants—and pretty much caters to the type of clientele those establishment attract ie: wealthy and wise world travelers. In fact Mr. Kasikci–the visionary who piloted the success of Beverly Hill’s Peninsula Hotel– even selected the clothes hangers to accommodate his bespoke attired guests. Okay a bit over the top, but this is one discerning managing director.
So let’s start from the top.
Check-in—the parking valet alerts the front desk of our arrival so the minute we reach the desk we are escorted to our suite when the preliminaries are handled. Nice.
The room—a Garden Suite ($795 a night) with 625 square feet of living space furnished with two flat screen TVs, one designed for your Internet comfort, queen-size bed with special pillows, large bathroom with two sinks, tub and great shower—stocked with aromatic Agraria toiletry (love the soap and body wash and moisture cream, but the shampoo and conditioner were harsh on my hair, big brown, cushy robes and slippers) and an inviting balcony overlooking Canon Garden.
The Spa—ah, what a 20,000 square foot treat. I had a 4 o’clock treatment so went an hour earlier to sit in the steam and mineral whirlpool that is all saline and no chlorine. The facility is understated elegant, nothing glitzy. The piece de resistance was Joseph, my therapist who treated me to the best massage ever—and this from a Diva with thousands of rubs to compare to. My treatment was a 60 minute Elements of the Earth Wrap which included a body scrub, clay body mask, and a deep tissue Shiatsu/Thai massage that left me limp and rubbery. I could barely make it back to my room.
But I did. My husband had a Scientific Rest Facial which is done in a retro Barber Shop (more about this later) that is supposed to make you feel like you took a two hour nap. Well he sure appeared refreshed and glowing.
We ordered wine and sat on our balcony sipping the rich Chard and musing about our treatments. It’s all good. Here’s Richard’s musings on his barbershop facial: “Facials freak out lots of men. Not only is there the still-lingering pussy factor–a guy getting a facial!–but also the extra anxiety caused by having to enter a spa setting designed for women. Often a man tiptoeing into the spa will be the only male there.

I have been that guy many times, so I know. But little did I realize that facials for men have a long history in this country, dating back to the railroad terminal barbershops that were commonplace in the 1930s and 1940s. There, men could get their shave and a haircut, along with what William Gornik told me was a treatment aimed at rejuvenating the harried (and sometimes hung over) businessman. It was called a “scientific rest facial,” William said, and it had the same result as two hours or more of sound sleep.

I learned all this while seated in an updated barber chair at William’s Gornik & Drucker barbershop on the lower level of the new Montage Beverly Hills hotel. Here, this men-only facial is called a deep cleansing skin treatment, lasts 45 minutes, and costs $75. After giving me a critical once-over, William swathed my face in hot towels, applied an Egyptian clay mask, rubbed cocoa butter into my beleaguered skin, applied a two-handed vibration massage to face, neck and shoulders, painlessly plucked out blackheads, cleaned up sideburns, applied more potions and lotions, and left me both relaxed and alert.

Gornik has had a Beverly Hills barbershop nearby for years, with a local clientele, some of whom prefer the Montage location. It’s a real plus for hotel guests, but a little hard to find since there are no signs yet to lead one to the spot and only a discrete small barber pole marking the entrance. But William is a genuine gentleman’s barber who wields the straight-edged razor with aplomb, has lots of fine Hollywood stories to tell, and vintage Ella, Frank, Tony and Dean in the background. He’ll even tell you about the opening scene to the original “Oceans Eleven” that was shot at his barbershop.” by Richard J. Pietschmann exclusively for

Then to dinner at Muse, a New York/European style restaurant with a super wait staff and chef. The room is dark and handsome loft that overlooks Parq—the hotel’s three meal a day eatery. We started with fresh house made pasta with maitake mushrooms, and Ahi carpaccio and moved along to a perfectly prepared salad and halibut washed down with a bottle of fine Peter Michael Chard. For dessert we opted for a plate of yummy cookies.

After a stroll around the city, we headed up to bed for a great night’s sleep with our 100 percent down pillows.
The next morning—after a workout in the super fitness center which has everything this fitness fanatic could hope for– we decided to do something camp and strolled over to the world-famous Nate ‘n Al’s Deli a favorite hangout for Beverly Hills industry denizens and out of town celebs (Larry King sat in a booth near us). I had a disappointing bagel (not NY style enough) but Richard loved his fried eggs and potato pancake. The coffee passed muster (we are both very fussy about of cup of joe).
Montage, 225 North Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-860-7800, http://www.montagebeverly/
FYI: pack a bathing suit, the Montage sports an inviting rooftop pool as well as a coed mineral whirlpool in the Spa
Brochure rates: from $495 for Superior to $7500 for Presidential Suite. With this you get complimentary shoe shine using John Lobb polish applied by a certified John Lobb butler who took a 22 hour training course. We didn’t partake of this amenity but I can imagine.
Spa Treatment Prices: sticker shock here, $195 and up but if you have to ask… and well the therapists are truly hand-picked top notch.