East Meets West

An iconic landmark, The Langham Huntington, Pasadena (CA) recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Opened in 1914 as the Huntington Hotel, the property, located at the base of the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains, has continued to evolve and reinvent itself over the years. This past June, the hotel gave spa enthusiasts a new reason to visit with the debut of Chuan Spa, which unites indulgent rituals grounded in ancient modalities with innovative beauty technologies. The 12-treatment-room spa, influenced by Chinese architecture and Pasadena’s arts and crafts tradition, is an urban oasis located just outside of Los Angeles. Among the treatment rooms are two couple’s suites, one of which is a completely private VIP space with two massage tables, a relaxation area, and a wet zone with a sauna, a steam room, and an experience shower for two. The spa also features a Contemplation Lounge and a Dream Room, found in all Chuan Spas, and saunas, steam rooms, and Jacuzzis in both the men’s and women’s locker rooms. Appealing to the Los Angeles clientele, the spa even sports a yoga and Pilates studio and a space for meditation classes.   

Developed by the Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group, Chuan Spa is the only global spa brand founded on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). As a result, the menu offers an intriguing mix of healing treatments that incorporate the five elements of earth, fire, metal, water, and wood. “Chuan Spa exclusively developed more than 20 signature treatments with the guidance of an in-house TCM doctor to ensure the highest levels of authenticity and conceptual integrity,” says Nichole Hester, director of spa and business development. “To compliment these services, a comprehensive Chuan-branded retail and professional spa product range was created, which includes the 5 Element Massage Oils and Essential Oils.” Spa-goers can experience the TCM techniques and oils in Chuan Balancing ($205, 60 minutes; $275, 90 minutes), a massage incorporating acupressure techniques known to release muscular tension and promote circulation of the body’s life force (qi) to help with healing; and Chuan Harmony ($205, 60 minutes; $275, 90 minutes), which is designed to stimulate the meridians. Not surprisingly, these TCM-based treatments and more are among the most popular on the menu. “Our clientele typically gravitates toward specialty massages,” says Hester.

The spa’s most requested treatment is the Chuan Yu Facial ($230, 75 minutes), which relies on an ancient gua sha, or scraping, technique to stimulate key meridian points. It also incorporates a healing jade stone to nurture and restore skin. Although the signature Chuan treatments are definite highlights of the menu, the spa also features treatments from Kerstin Florian and Priori that were created exclusively for the Pasadena location, such as the Chuan Yu Facial, which relies on Kerstin Florian products, and the Advanced AHA Deluxe Anti-Aging ($210, 60 minutes), which uses Priori products. The spa distinguishes itself from other Chuan Spas by offering these exclusive treatments and brands.

“We chose these product lines because they are known for their results while focusing on providing guests with a luxury feel,” says Hester. The diverse product lines carried by the spa also encourage guests to reach for their pocketbooks. “Retail plays an integral part in our overall success,” says Hester. “We set retail goals and review them weekly with the team. We believe that ongoing retail training has created a confidence in our team to promote our brands.”

The spa is also the only hotel spa in California through June 2015 to feature Mistral by Radiancy, a cutting-edge skincare technology that combines Light and Heat Energy (LHE) in a computer-based device to treat acne, scars, wrinkles, and more. It can even be used for hair removal. According to Hester, the system delivers the results of costly laser treatments without the downtime, side effects, time investment, and hefty price tag. Spa-goers interested in high-tech skincare options, which certainly applies to those in the Los Angeles area, also appreciate the HydraFacial machine, an effective skin rejuvenation system that infuses the skin with antioxidants, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. “These services, combined with the TCM treatments, provide guests with unique experiences not to be found anywhere else,” says Hester.

It’s these exclusive offerings and the chance to unwind that draw locals in from the community. With 21 full-time and 18 part-time employees, the spa can accommodate approximately 200 guests each day. Says Hester, “Our plan is to continue building awareness in our community for Chuan Spa and partnering with a local TCM doctor to better promote our Chuan brand.”

Owner: Langham Hospitality Group

Director of Spa and Business Development: Nichole Hester

Opened: June 2014


70% female

30% male


11,000 square feet; 12 treatment rooms


Cirepil, Chuan Spa, Deborah Lippmann, Kerstin Florian, Kevin Murphy, Milbon, Moroccanoil, Neova, Priori, Zirh


Chadsworth & Haig, HydraFacial by Edge Systems, Mistral by Radiancy, SpaSoft, Technogym


BraytonHughes Design Studios (San Francisco)