SoCal Soothing

Southern Californians are no strangers to facelifts, but a recent multi-million-dollar update to The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe (CA) ushered in a makeover that will cause even the most jaded beauty lovers to do a double take. The 21-acre property recently underwent a $12 million upgrade that involved renovations to The Inn’s guest rooms, public areas, meeting facilities, fitness center, pool deck and cabanas, gardens, outdoor function spaces, and landscaping. But perhaps the most exciting addition is The Spa at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.

This intimate oasis features five treatment rooms, including a couple’s suite with a private outdoor courtyard, a nail alcove with two manicure and pedicure stations, men’s and women’s changing rooms, a relaxation lounge, and an outdoor garden courtyard. Though the 3,000-square-foot spa is a new addition to the property, care was taken to create a tranquil, inviting space that “blends seamlessly with the look and feel of The Inn and to convey the subtle idea that the spa had been here all along,” says spa director Brenda Martin. To further illustrate that idea, the interiors are characterized with distressed wood flooring, richly textured hand-woven fabrics, and simple, elegant furnishings. “The decor exudes a sense of relaxation, serenity, and harmony and is reflective of the Rancho Santa Fe lifestyle and state of mind,” she says. Highlights include a soothing color palette, room-filling scents, calming mood lighting, and peaceful music. “The spa creates a sense of peacefulness, tranquility, and overall wellbeing,” says Martin.

A paved path leads guests from the front of the hotel through a citrus grove to the spa entrance, so lemon, lime, and orange scents provide the first sense of the fresh, seasonal atmosphere of the spa, which features a menu highlighting the bounty of the region. A core menu of customizable massages, such as the aromatherapeutic hot stone Country Blend Massage ($130, 60 minutes; $160, 90 minutes); effective skincare services, like the anti-aging Starlet Facial ($60, 30 minutes; $118, 60 minutes; $148, 90 minutes); and nailcare offerings cater to clients’ general spa needs. Meanwhile, a seasonal selection of handcrafted body treatments uses fresh ingredients from the San Diego County surroundings. Those looking for truly indigenous offerings can select services From the Ranch, such as The Sweetest Thing ($125, 60 minutes; $150, 90 minutes), a face and body experience that incorporates honey; From the Grove, such as the Eucalyptus Stress and Sinus Relief ($65, 30 minutes; $120, 60 minutes); and From the Coast, including the Seaweed Slimming Wrap ($170, 90 minutes). Martin and her team also get creative by debuting specialty services, such as the Roadie Massage ($145, 75 minutes) for cyclists. “Southern California, and especially North County San Diego, have a high population of cyclists due to moderate year-round temperatures,” says Martin. “We designed a massage that targets the areas of the body that cyclists use most often, and we promoted this through local bike clubs and bike shops.”

Other promotional moves include offering each guest a spa menu upon check-in and providing all guests with a personal letter from Martin at turndown inviting them to visit the spa. The spa’s Facebook page is used to communicate specials, interesting articles, and daily deals. The spa team also reaches out specifically to the surrounding community of Rancho Santa Fe and offers seasonal discounts for neighbors. “Our biggest asset during our first year has been our local guests,” says Martin. “Without the support of the residents of Rancho Santa Fe, we may have had a harder time this last year specifically because people are traveling less for leisure. We continue to do our best in marketing the spa as a new option for guests familiar with San Diego and offering reasonably priced treatments that do not lack in quality.”

Still, spa competition is fierce in Southern California—there are five hotel spas within 10 miles of the property, so Martin and her experienced team of 15 work to stay on their toes when it comes to treatments and client service, and the spa concept and guest experience is built on six brand pillars that make the spa stand out. Those pillars are Sophisticated Simplicity; An Intimate, Tranquil, and Un-regimented Pace and Tempo; The Essence of Rancho Santa Fe; Individual and Purposeful Treatments, Techniques, and Products; Passionate and Seasoned Professionals; and An Outstanding Value. “While this phrase, on the surface, may appear to be somewhat unpoetic and overly straightforward, it does, nonetheless, capture a meaningful and valuable point of difference versus many of our competitors,” says Martin. “It will be abundantly evident that we are a spa that over-delivers beyond expectations. Guests will be pleasantly surprised, even delighted, by our longer-than-average-length treatments, proprietary above-and-beyond touches, and relatively moderate prices.”

Owners: JMI Equity

Spa Director: Brenda Martin

Opened: July 2013



80% female

20% male



3,000 square feet; 5 treatment rooms



302, Aromatherapy Associates, Carita Paris, Clarisonic, NuFace, Privé, Simply Kasia, SkinCeuticals



Chadsworth & Haig, Comphy Co., Frette, Living Earth Crafts, Oka B., Silhouet-Tone, Simpatico, SpaSoft



Delawie (San Diego) 



Eva M. Jensch, Spa Concepts International (Sonoma, CA)