Pacific Waters Spa

Set in what is often referred to as surf city, usa, and now commonly known as the O.C., the Pacific Waters Spa at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa (Huntington Beach, CA) was designed to replicate a Spanish estate. It is in line with the resort's warm Andalusian style, which draws inspiration from a region in Spain featuring classic Mediterranean architecture. Reflecting the Southern California locale, guests of the 20,000-square-foot spa run the gamut—from conference-goers dressed in business attire to surfers in board shorts.

 The exterior of the spa reflects the resorts warm Andalusian style. right: A couples treatment room provides an ideal respite.
The exterior of the spa reflects the resorts warm Andalusian style. right: A couples treatment room provides an ideal respite.

Because of its size and the numerous amenities available, the spa attracts not only large groups but also its fair share of locals. According to spa director Michelle Frye, 45 to 50 percent of the clientele is from the area. Use of the outdoor pool, which is included with any spa treatment, makes the facility an especially appealing option for O.C. natives wanting to make a day of it. "They're looking for the whole spa experience," says Frye. "They want to feel like they're on a mini vacation."

Throughout the week, the spa caters to at least 40 guests a day. Weekends are typically busier with the number of guests ranging from 100 to 150 daily. High season is June through August. During this time, weekday business increases as the resort caters to more vacationing families. Pacific Waters Spa has 50 employees on staff. Sixty percent are full-time. Of the 22 massage therapists on staff, more than 50 percent work on an on-call basis. According to Frye, one of her biggest challenges is finding qualified massage therapists. "They have to be both nationally and locally certified," says Frye, noting that a separate license is required for those working in Huntington Beach and those [on the coast] in Newport Beach, a short distance away. "Because of the licensing process and fees involved, it makes it difficult to find therapists willing to undergo the hassle and cost."

Clockwise from left: The treatment-room hallway; the womens locker room; one of many individual treatment rooms; the hallway leading to the fitness area; the spas juice bar; and the Jacuzzi.
Clockwise from left: The treatment-room hallway; the womens locker room; one of many individual treatment rooms; the hallway leading to the fitness area; the spas juice bar; and the Jacuzzi.

In July, the spa introduced a new simplified menu that reflects the spa's locale and Andalusian theme. Ocean-inspired facials such as the Sea of Life Facial ($85, 25 minutes; $125, 50 minutes) and the Deep Sea Dermal Lift Facial ($185, 80 minutes) are just a few of the new offerings. The spa's Signature Thalasso Seawater Bath ($65 for one person, $85 for two; 25 minutes) gives guests the opportunity to soak in purified water from the Pacific Ocean in a hydrotherapy tub built for two. The menu also features the Andalusian Mud Therapy ($185, 80 minutes), which uses mud from the Mar Menor, Spain's equivalent to the Dead Sea. According to Frye, guests are now asking for treatments that provide more than one service. As a result, the menu offers a number of selections that feature multiple components, such as a scrub combined with a Vichy treatment and scalp massage. "People want a little more pampering," says Frye.

The spa also recently launched its Sophistispakids menu, which includes a variety of treatments for guests ranging in ages from four to eighteen. Specially designed treatments such as the Teen Clean Regime ($65, 30 minutes), a purifying facial, and Chocolate Kiss Pedicure ($45, 30 minutes) introduce young guests to the relaxing benefits of spa as well as proper skincare. The spa also offers birthday parties for the younger set with It's My Party and I'll Spa If I Want To ($200). The birthday girl and five friends are treated to manicures, followed by cake and soda in the resort's surf-themed restaurant, Pete Mallory's Sunset Grille. Partnering with local surf-and-apparel company Toes on the Noes, the spa offers Surf and Spa ($235), a two-and-a-half-hour surf lesson packaged with a 60-minute Swedish massage.

The retail area at Pacific Waters Spa features a variety of beach-inspired gear as well as skincare products.
The retail area at Pacific Waters Spa features a variety of beach-inspired gear as well as skincare products.

Popular with couples, the Pacific Waters Spa has three couples rooms, which are always fully booked on weekends. According to Frye, plans are in the works to add two additional couples areas in the next year. Frye is also focused on offering an assortment of unique retail items. Going beyond traditional skincare products, the spa sells a variety of beach-inspired gear, such as bathing suits, beach bags, hats, and more. It all adds to the easygoing and laid-back style that makes Pacific Waters Spa an ideal getaway.

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