THE SPA AT LA COSTA

Opened in 1965, La Costa resort and spa in Carlsbad, CA, was the first U.S. resort to introduce a full-service spa. As part of the resort's $140 million renovation, a new spa-The Spa at La Costa-was recently unveiled to take the place of the original. In addition, the renowned Chopra Center at La Costa, founded in 2002 by physician and author Deepak Chopra, M.D., and medical director David Simon, M.D., serves as an ideal complement to the spa with its innovative mind-body programs and signature Ayurvedic therapies.

According to spa director Jeremy McCarthy, The Spa at La Costa has become a popular setting for social outings-frequently hosting book groups, knitting clubs, and more. McCarthy is hoping to organize an event one night each month that will take place in the spa's courtyard and involve live music. With 28,000 square feet of indoor space and a 15,000-square-foot outdoor courtyard, the spa has plenty of room for the 15 estheticians and 60 therapists who treat approximately 100 guests a day Monday through Thursday; close to 200 on Fridays and Sundays; and up to 300 on Saturdays.

This arched entryway leads to the courtyard, the treatment areas, and the men's and women's locker rooms.
This arched entryway leads to the courtyard, the treatment areas, and the men's and women's locker rooms.

The spa caters to a diverse clientele, half of whom are resort guests. Local residents make up the other half. Approximately 10 percent of the spa's clients are members of the resort's athletic, golf, or tennis clubs. For these members, the spa offers special promotions, such as a 30 percent discount on retail products to those who schedule Tuesday appointments. In addition to giving members an additional incentive to book treatments, the specials also have the added benefit of filling the spa on a typically slower weekday. "It's much harder for people to come during the week when they have less time to take advantage of all that the spa has to offer," says McCarthy, who notes that most guests usually spend a minimum of two hours at the spa if not half a day.

The spa's spacious retail area encourages a thriving retail business.
The spa's spacious retail area encourages a thriving retail business.

And what the spa has to offer is a unique journey, which typically begins with its Agua de la Vida, a series of water elements that are complimentary with most spa treatments or available a la carte for $60. Guests can take advantage of the spa's soothing whirlpool, Roman waterfall, and cedar sauna. A personal spa attendant is also on hand to give complimentary four- or five-minute exfoliating loofah body scrubs. In order to customize the aromatherapy, music, elixir, and other details of the treatment, each guest is asked to choose an intention: Indulge, Invigorate, or Inspire. "Although everyone in the industry says we need to stop using the terms 'indulge' and 'pamper,' Indulge is the number-one intention people choose," says McCarthy. Sometimes "to indulge" means just letting go, which spa guests at La Costa have no problem doing.

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