Los Angeles’ Westside is home to what feels like a zillion places to pamper yourself. Sometimes, with all the variety, it’s difficult to know which place to choose—especially when you’re a busy college student.
For you UCLA students who need to de-stress from all of the late-night cramming, early classes and hardcore partying, here are fives spas and salons that amp up the amenities and give you more than you knew you wanted.
Why not indulge? You deserve it!
NOT YOUR ORDINARY SPA: Burke Williams Day Spa (Santa Monica)
800 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
The pure professionalism of Burke Williams Day Spa envelops you at every turn. As its website states, “This is no ordinary day spa, but rather an indulgent oasis where you can escape the demands of every day life.”
The royal treatment begins the second you step into the elevator and enter the reception room, which also serves as a sort of beauty boutique. Shed your clothes, and don your lush robe and slippers that are provided for your personal use. Burke Williams has tons of amenities, from showers and whirlpools to saunas and cool mist rooms—you could easily spend a whole day here!
I decided to try the Nourishing Facial, a new, all-encompassing treatment that transforms skin by targeting any and all trouble areas. Tailored to fit your specific skin needs, this facial hydrates, cleans and exfoliates, and your facialist will even do extractions if you have unsightly blackheads. My aesthetician, Eden, carefully spent more than hour on my face and even massaged my feet and neck while I nearly fell asleep.
For those with bigger skin issues, add-ons are available, including a skin brightener and a professional strength peel that makes everything penetrate deeper into your dermis. This really takes your complexion to the next level, leaving behind a glow that lasts for days, if not weeks.
NAIL HEAVEN: Bellacures (Brentwood Village)
11712 Barrington Court, Los Angeles
Luxurious. Serene. Meticulous. Bellacures takes nail care to a higher plain.
Bellacures “believes in inner beauty but do what you can on the outside,” and this playful attitude makes this spa a fun and easygoing place to get your mani-pedi on.
With quite a few locations to choose from (seven in Southern California, three on the Westside), this nail salon offers up a smorgasbord of choices, catering to all sorts, from men to kids and everyone in between. The Rock Star Gel manicure comes replete with glitter, and the Hold My Hand Manicure is both vegan and organic for those who like to get their beautification on while still maintaining their moral values.
The shops have a clean, cozy vibe with comfortable armchairs to sit in and loads of magazines to page through.
Overall, Bellacures is a fabulous place to come solo and chill, or you can bring a friend and chat. The pace is relaxed, and the staff is friendly and helpful.
SKIN THERAPY 101: Dermalogica (Santa Monica)
1022 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
Dermalogica focuses on the science of your skin and how to bring out the best in your personal skin type. The shop in Santa Monica actually offers a free “face mapping,” a process that takes about 10 minutes and involves having a licensed Dermalogica skin therapist assess the entirety of your face and neck. The facialist can then suggest products and treatments to best suit your needs. This is genius for anyone confused about the large number of products out there with voluminous claims to better skin. Sometimes one great, targeted item can turn your problem right around.
Beyond its fully stocked shop, Dermalogica also offers services in its very future-y pods. The skin therapists are well versed in facials and have a few specially targeted skin treatments for specific issues.
The BioActive Peel is a skin resurfacing treatment all the way from Dermalogica’s “International Dermal Institute.” This peel basically removes you skin’s outer layers, taking with it troublesome acne, skin discoloration and premature signs of aging and leaving your skin looking fresher and brighter—who doesn’t want that?
THE STAR TREATMENT: Bliss Los Angeles (Westwood)
930 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles
If you’re looking for the full Kardashian experience, Bliss Spa in Westwood is your joint for absolute fabulosity.
Inside the W Hotel, the star treatment can start with having your car valet, if you so desire. Just walking in the lobby can make you feel like a million bucks.
The spa itself goes for all out glamour, and the details are astounding. From the chandeliers to the brownie bar, Bliss is intent on giving you just that: pure bliss. The amenities keep on coming with Haviana flip-flops, cucumber water and tons of magazines to read while you relax before your treatment or lounge in between beautifications.
And the beautifications are plentiful. Bliss Spa lets you watch movies while you get your pedicure, take a shower using their signature products, relax in a glorious sauna or indulge in an aromatherapy steam shower. You could really hang out all day if you have the time and money.
As for services, Bliss offers facials, massages, waxing and more. The spa serves up quite a few different body treatments, like the hot salt scrub that get rids of dead skin. They even have targeted body scrubs, like the “fatgirlslim” treatment, which specifically works on troublesome spots, toning and firming skin, perfect for those battling the Freshman 15.
BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: The Massage Place (Brentwood)
11740 San Vicente Blvd. #113, Los Angeles
For those who like their bodywork down and dirty, The Massage Place keeps it simple and cheap.
All of the masseuses I have encountered at these massage parlors have had a firm handle on the ways of sore muscles, bad backs and overall tension.
Depending on your needs, the experience can be tailored to fit your desired amount of pressure versus simple relaxation. The therapists vary in their technique, from the soothing Swedish massage to the more intense deep tissue. This chain even offers such diverse alternatives such as a Thai massage, acupressure and reflexology—do read up and decide which is the best for you.
The pricing at The Massage Place is truly remarkable. One-hour treatments are just $47 (don’t forget to tip your therapist!). The rooms are no nonsense but comfortable, and the "frou frou" amenities are kept to an absolute minimum.
All in all, The Massage Place is a great spot to visit for those looking for a terrific deal.