Debunking the Urban Spa Escape Myth

by Courtney Cochran

On a recent evening I found myself commiserating with a friend over the rigors of our urban lifestyles. Between sips (okay, slugs) of a brooding Alexander Valley Cab, we agreed that the solace from the city grind we desperately needed was a spa "escape" trip to wine country.

Funny thing was, in spite of our certainty that solace lay in such a trip, neither of us had ever taken one.

Getting to the Bottom of It

Wondering if we were the only ones who talked wine country spa escape but never got around to it, I conducted an informal poll to see where other city dwellers stood on the subject. Turns out, escaping to wine country for a day of spa pampering is something lots of folks talk about, but few actually do.

Simply put, it's an urban myth - an urban spa escape myth, that is.

Turning Myth Into Reality

All this talk of pampering without the benefits of a top-tier spa treatment (e.g. relaxation, clarity of mind, a renewed sense of energy) inspired me to track down some of wine country's top spa escape destinations and services, which I've detailed below. In keeping with the theme of this piece, I created the list with an eye to the urban refugee who's short on time but long on expectations.

Because after all this talk about it, your wine country spa escape trip ought to be out of this world.

For the Gents

The Gentleman's Getaway package ($355) at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel in Santa Rosa offers Bay Area urbanites a triumvirate of male-friendly services. Kick things off with a relaxing 80-minute stone massage, then restore pores clogged by city goo by way of the Gentleman's Facial. Finish things up with the Gentleman's Nail Treatment and you'll head home spiffy and de-stressed. The best part? It all takes less than four hours - which means you'll be back in the city in time for happy hour.
170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa, CA 95401 * (707) 284-1234 *

For the Ladies

Lavender Hill Spa in Calistoga delivers the ultimate in female-friendly R&R with its soothing lavender-themed trio. The aptly named Lavender Luxury package ($265) encompasses the spot's signature Lavender Salt Glow, a 60-minute Lavender Oil Massage and a decadent 50-minute Aromatherapy Facial. Unwind after your treatments in the spa's calming Asian-inspired garden, and you can't help but return home feeling Zen and collected.
1015 Foothill Boulevard (Hwy 29), Calistoga, CA 94515 * (707) 942-4495 *

Southlander Special

Overworked Angelenos will find spa solace just two hours north of the city in charming wine country hamlet, Los Olivos. There, the Heaven On Earth package ($210) at DiVine Spa at Fess Parker's Wine Country Inn ably soothes harried nerves by way of its double offering: A 50-minute aromatherapy massage is followed by a 50-minute customized facial, ensuring maximum pampering inside just two hours. With the time you save, you can squeeze in a few wineries before heading home. Cheers to that.
2971 Grand Ave., Los Olivos, CA 93441 * (805) 686-9000 *