It’s only when I’m wrapped in foil that I really start to feel like a baked potato. It’s not a leap—I’ve been buttered (slathered with lotion) and salted (exfoliating scrub) and am now roasting gently in a cocoon of crinkly, metallic paper and hot towels.
While I broil, a woman with very strong hands obliterates all the tension in my body by pushing her thumbs into a previously unremarkable section of my temples. In about 40 minutes, I’ll emerge into the world soft, almost melty, and glistening with a light coating of oil—not unlike a perfect steakhouse spud.
A spa day is a beautiful thing. The right treatment can shove away anxiety, unknot uptight muscles, soothe stressed-out skin—and even help you see yourself and the world from a new perspective. San Diego is chock-full of spots to indulge in a little self-care, whether you’re seeking a quick mid-day facial or an unplugged week-long escape.
We rounded up the county’s ﬁnest spots (and a few further aﬁeld) for mood-boosting treatments and post-massage lounging. Go find your baked-potato bliss.
–Amelia Rodriguez, Associate Editor
Hotels & Resorts
The Fairmont Spa at Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Del Mar, $$$$$
It’d be easy to assume that the “rainfall” in The Fairmont Spa’s Rainfall Massage is like the “golden sand” in a Yankee candle name—metaphorical. But no. After a zen-inducing, full-body rubdown with coastal sage-infused oil, your service provider switches on a half-dozen shower heads for some hydrotherapy right there on the table. After drying oﬀ with warm towels, lounge in the whirlpool, relax in wet and dry saunas, nibble free snacks (the oat bars rule), and post up by the hotel’s spectacular, adults-only Relaxation Pool, open only to resort guests and spa-goers. Tip: If you want to order a lounge-chair lunch, tuck your credit card into your robe pocket—servers can’t add food to your spa tab.
Ocean Pearl Day Spa at The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa
Serenity awaits at this newly renovated spa—a chic, coastal-inspired oasis. The San Diego spa’s got you covered with tailored massages and custom facials that incorporate marine-based botanicals. Consider the 80-minute Sunset Treatment after a day’s worth of play in the sun, featuring a full-body reef sugar scrub, a warm towel treatment, and either a foot exfoliant or hydrating seaweed scalp treatment. Scope out the eucalyptus steam room, showers, lounge, fitness center, heated pool, and hot tub before checking out.
The Spa at The Lodge at Torrey Pines
La Jolla, $$$$$
The Lodge at Torrey Pines is a local legend for good reason. After steam and sauna time, head outside to the pool and hot tub to stare at the Paciﬁc as golfers wander one of the most sought-after courses on the planet, all under the careful watch of the incredible namesake’s native trees. After a couples massage, share tea by the ﬁre in the co-ed relaxation room, and bask in your good fortune.
Spa Ritual at Sycuan Casino & Resort
El Cajon, $$–$$$
In the subterranean trenches of a casino resort, the sleek Spa Ritual offers a jetted hot tub in gendered changing rooms, plus a steam room and sauna, while the co-ed outdoor pool and lazy river bring the fun on warm, summery days. Splurge on the “Spoil Me” package, an 80-minute Royal Milk & Honey Wrap with a 75-minute Oxygen Facial. You’ll be painted with coconut milk and honey sugar, coated with warm coconut oil, and cocooned in warm blankets while receiving a scalp massage. The Oxygen Facial will plump up your skin while you get your hands and neck rubbed. Tack on the Reduce hot stone massage for a decadence upgrade.
Miraval Life in Balance Spa at Park Hyatt Aviara
A Miraval-branded San Diego spa has taken up residence at Park Hyatt Aviara—the only one of its kind operating outside Miraval wellness resorts. Nature’s beauty is on display here: There’s an indoor solarium with hanging plants and a wall of crystal geodes. Guests are encouraged to turn oﬀ devices before settling in for treatments like the Warrior’s Recovery deep-tissue massage, which incorporates a warm herbal poultice of turmeric, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and prai. A sauna, steam room, whirlpool tub, and adults-only pool await.
The Hideaway at Marriot Marquis San Diego Marina
Catch us playing hooky from work and disappearing at The Hideaway, the Marriott Marquis’ cozy day spa. It’s quiet, which we love. You’ll find all the standard massage and facial services here, featuring Yon-Ka skin products and Doterra organic essential oils. The hidden oasis is sandwiched between the city and the bay, the ideal getaway for busy downtown folks.
The Spa at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
An expansive resort complex featuring a golf course, ballrooms, and dining options, Omni’s pristine white-stucco property encompasses all your needs for an extended stay. The spa, though, offers enough services and features to make it worth a stop in its own right. Generous amenities include men’s and women’s hot tubs, a sauna, and a steam room, with an all-gender pool and café in the sunny courtyard.
Treat yourself to a Deluxe Hydrafacial that combines lymphatic drainage, deep moisture, peptide boosts, nourishing seaweed, and LED light therapy for radiant skin that glows from the inside out. Or, let your whole body experience the beneﬁts of LED with a LightStim bed session. Omni is also set to undergo an extensive facelift starting in January and finishing in spring 2024, just in time for your summer refresh. Look forward to new amenities, with airy, coastal design sensibilities.
Sunny’s Spa & Beauty Lounge at The Seabird Resort
Relaxing with a cup of tea on the ocean-view terrace at Seabird’s spa is worth the visit alone. Guests don’t have to choose between a massage and body treatment at this beachy paradise—the seasonal Green Smoothie Scrub has both. The full-body massage includes a hair and scalp treatment, while the CBD-infused body scrub helps with inflammation. Carve out time for the dry sauna, cool mint misting showers, and heated benches. Hair and nail salons are onsite for more pampering.
Spa Pendry at Pendry San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, $$$$$
The third-floor San Diego spa at Pendry is a world away from the hubbub of J Street. Arrive early to enjoy tea service and the eucalyptus steam room before a signature service, like the immersive 120-minute Pendry Rose Ritual. (We recommend bringing your own bathing suit, but one can be provided if needed.) After full-body exfoliation, the steaming milk and rose petal bath, and a neck and scalp massage, will release tension from places you didn’t even know existed. Once you manage to emerge from the tub—at this point, you’ll feel gloriously languid—the treatment finishes with a ﬂoral and citrus body souﬄé massage. Blissed out is an understatement.
The Spa at Harrah’s Resort Socal
Valley Center, $$–$$$
Need a break from blackjack? Grab your winnings and head over to the Spa at Harrah’s to celebrate with fabulous facials, relaxing massages, and maybe even a new look at the salon. No pool, but you can enjoy a dry sauna, steam room, and salt bath whirlpool before a fun night back on the casino floor, all for a relatively low cost.
The Spa at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Rancho Santa Fe, $$$$
Rancho Valencia’s spa—at Southern California’s only Relais & Châteaux property—is considered one of the best in town by locals and travelers. The spa’s grounds sit in lush gardens around Spanish-style cottages connected by outdoor breezeways, generously dotted with a hydrotherapy circuit, salon, pool, plush seating, wood-burning ﬁreplaces, and plenty of refreshments. Of special note is the Biologique Recherche Firming + Lifting facial, which combines exfoliation, hydration, and a face massage to have you resembling whatever Jane Fonda looked like at your respective age. It’s that good.
Spa & Salon at The Hotel Del Coronado
We dare you to have a better experience in San Diego than heading to the iconic Hotel Del on a perfect sunny and 70-degree day, getting a deep-tissue massage and marine peptide facial with all sorts of algaes, then washing it down with a glass of Champagne while sitting oceanside. Add in a fresh Neapolitan pizza from the grounds, for good measure. It’s a peak San Diego experience, and it’s owed in large part to the hotel’s beauty and its ideal Coronado beachfront location. But the Del’s spa is a destination in its own right, with top quality treatments and world-class bodywork pros and estheticians on staff.
The Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn
Rancho Bernardo, $$$
It makes sense that Rancho Bernardo Inn is tucked deep inside a suburban community in North County—it’s very much a resort for the fam. Dad can practice his swing on its championship golf course and pop pop can play cornhole with the kids, all while you enjoy a Holistic Wellness massage. Targeting muscle and tension relief, this gentle treatment may have you falling asleep (especially if you add CBD foot balm). Before heading back to your crew, jump in the steam room and hot tub located in both the men’s and women’s locker rooms.
Spa Brezza at the San Diego Mission Bay Resort
Mission Bay, $$$
Say hi to glistening skin with a subtle fragrance of lavender and rosemary. Gentle and aromatic, the VOYA Organic Lavender Seaweed Sugar Scrub exfoliates and refreshes the skin without the harshness of a heavier, salt-based scrub. After getting rubbed down from head to toe, you’ll have time to rinse oﬀ inside the dimly lit suite before your skin is moisturized and massaged to silky perfection. Pro tip: Arrive early at Spa Brezza to kick back in the sauna, gym, or lounge.
Willows Spa at Viejas Casino & Resort
Escape the heat at this desert oasis at Viejas Casino & Resort. The chic space is adorned with marble interiors and glass chandeliers. Treat yourself to massages, facials, waxing, or other signature treatments like the Fire & Ice body wrap, featuring a stonecrop exfoliating scrub, followed by a thermal wrap, foot and scalp massages, and a skin-rejuvenating gel massage. Afterward, immerse yourself in the salt sauna or their saltwater pool for an extra dose of ﬁre-and-ice indulgence.
The Catamaran Spa at the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
Mission Bay, $$$–$$$$
The Catamaran Resort may be storied—the Mission Bay institution opened in the ’50s—but its Polynesian-inspired spa is decidedly modern. The Catamaran Spa boasts both traditional treatments (aromatherapy, massage, body wraps) and buzzy, techy options. Try the Anti-Gravity Facial, an 80-minute indulgence that utilizes a microcurrent device designed to lift, tighten, and coax out your cheekbones. Make time afterwards to sink into the bayfront whirlpool and people-watch PBcians and tourists alike.
AquaVie Fitness + Wellness Club at The Westgate Hotel
Booking a treatment at The Westgate’s AquaVie Wellness Club gets you access to a gym, sauna, steam room, and cool plunge. (The rooftop pool and hot tub recently closed for maintenance, but they are scheduled to reopen early this year.) Inside, everything—from the chair to the tiles—is a soothing blue. The gym is industrial-chic and spacious, hosting downtown biz folks sweating out their stress and hotel guests getting in a quick Peloton sesh. The club’s lobby looks out over downtown and features do-it-yourself Stash teas. The signature massage presses all the right buttons to take your blues away.
Spa L’Auberge at L’Auberge Del Mar
Del Mar, $$$$
Spa L’Auberge is an upscale sanctuary offering panoramic ocean views, wood accents, and citrus aromas with amenities like eucalyptus saunas, a serene courtyard, and a hot tub, perfect for sipping mimosas or herbal tea. The Ocean Quench treatment includes a head-to-toe scrub, lavender mask, cocoon wrap, scalp massage, and full-body massage—a must-try for lovers of lemongrass and oceanfront luxury.
SpaTerre at Kona Kai San Diego
Shelter Island, $$$–$$$$
Kona Kai San Diego sits on the tip of Shelter Island, and its spa is just steps away from docks full of swaying sailboats. Descend a staircase to reach SpaTerre, a secluded, candlelit retreat. (Should you want to stay beachside, though, you can book a treatment in a private cabana.) This full-service spa offers custom massages, facials, and body indulgences; try the signature Noble Massage to target tight or tired areas, from toes to temples. Bonus: Kona Kai San Diego is pet-friendly to an unparalleled degree, and while the spa’s cloud-like robes don’t come in dog sizes, the treatments do. To pamper your four-legged companion as much as you’ve pampered yourself, a Pawroma Therapy massage should do the trick.
Spa Alila at Alila Marea Beach Resort
Perched on the cliﬀside of north Leucadia overlooking the ocean, the Alila Marea hotel is quietly grand in earth tones inspired by the local terrain. Take the opportunity to recharge with Spa Alila’s signature Talisman Massage. This unique massage style employs warm, oil-drenched herbal poultices said to combat inflammation, relieve tension, and aid blood ﬂow. They will customize their blend and level of pressure to ﬁt your personal needs, leaving you deeply relaxed, as if dropped into a lower rhythm. The sauna offers Himalayan salt stones intended to further draw out impurities through your feet. Let any remaining muscle tension melt on a warmed amethyst-infused biomat in the spa lounge. With your body at ease, dive deeper with a personalized astrology reading. Or take lounging to a new level with a Daycation package to enjoy the pool before or after your treatments.
North Park, $$$
Oh Glory’s arresting, arched wooden door in the heart of North Park resembles the entrance to a house of worship—fitting, considering that the spa’s namesake facial is as soothing for the spirit as it is the skin. The estheticians here take a more holistic approach than most, massaging your shoulders, arms, hands, feet, and scalp while botanical-forward products work their magic on your face. Whether you’ve booked a skin treatment, a massage, or acupuncture, your attentive provider will oﬀer thoughtful advice for continued self-care, long after you emerge from their softly lit, impeccably decorated space.
Saffron & Sage
Bankers Hill, $$$
Saffron and Sage is a holistic health club and wellness center featuring a mix of therapies including acupuncture, breathwork, energy therapy, cupping, and traditional spa services such as massages and facials. Using both Eastern and Western treatments, fans of the spa suggest booking a combination of services to encourage total body relaxation and rejuvenation. Plus, if you really want a complete ahhhh experience, the center hosts wellness retreats for men and women in places like Oaxaca, Mexico that include daily group classes, meditation, individual therapies, and curated nourishing meals.
Four Moons Spa
This decompression hideout nails that quirky Leucadia desert surf vibe. With onsite naturopathic docs for acupuncture, IVs, empathic healing, and tarot; a Balinese hut in a thriving koi pond; a meditation and reading perch; a yoga room; a Hammam room; an outdoor soaking tub; and a sauna—all places to gracefully relax and just kind of exist—Four Moons Spa is becoming a sought-after events space for SoCal culture brands, weddings, art shows, and on socials.
Carmel Valley, $$$
Some say the key to beating bloating, fatigue, and stomach issues lies in lymphatic drainage treatments. At Miss Lymph, you’ll melt under the heat of a red-light infrared sauna before settling in for a depuffing massage. For a full-body detox, try The Ultimate, a two-hour experience that includes a sweat sesh in a body wrap, lymphatic facial drainage, and wood and vibration therapy. Pack your swimsuit, sweat-proof undies, or go commando. Small but mighty, the business is located inside ICE Recovery + Wellness.
Angelica B Beauty
South Park, $$
Angelica B Beauty is a staple of South Park—the natural beauty urban spa is in the building that once was the Burlingame Garage. We recommend trying the holistic massage facial with organic Laurel cosmetic products. Expect eye bags to disappear—seriously—right before your eyes. As if that weren’t enough, there are three add-on options to the facial that are worth trying: lymphatic drainage, gua sha (gentle combing with a rose quartz stone intended to get rid of unhealthy cells), and Buccal massage (Pilates for the face, said to increase collagen production). There are also services for lashes, brow lamination, makeup, sugaring, and waxing. The front-of-house boutique sells cosmetics, lash care, natural skin care, and sexual wellness products for take-away bliss.
Paciﬁc Beach, $$$
Boho, intimate, and minimalist, this crisp Paciﬁc Beach outpost echoes the clean canvas your skin will become after a 50- or 80-minute customizable facial. Recover from winter dryness with the Hydrate + Calm facial, which quenches your skin’s thirst with activated hyaluronic acid, a gooey jelly mask, and other dewy substances. Book the 80-minute option for an added neck and shoulder massage and hand mask.
North Park & Del Mar, $$$
Shop Good knows that facials are not one-size-fits-all, so they oﬀer a range of specialty treatments, diving into the history of your skin and nurturing your needs with various masks, gua sha approaches, and everything else under the sun (or at least everything under therapeutic LED lights). Their holistic estheticians oﬀer a complementary “Clean Swap” consultation, assessing your current products to provide a more natural alternative.
Convoy District, $$
There’s nothing quite like a Korean body scrub to leave you feeling fresh like a baby. This beloved Convoy District spa offers the revitalizing experience of lying on a table, getting intensively exfoliated from tip to tail by a woman in skivvies and hand mitts. Yu Spa guests can opt for a wet massage in the body scrub room or a dry massage in a private treatment room. The day spa pass option is popular, too, seeing as it gets you hours in the dry and steam saunas, whirlpool, cold plunge, and three Korean sauna rooms: the ice room, Himalayan salt sauna, and medicinal red clay room. It’s like a fun house for your body.
Cal-a-Vie Health Spa
Wake up in sateen linens, listen to the perfect water pressure bounce oﬀ your shower’s travertine tiles, and frolic across the 200 acres of vineyards and hiking trails at the renowned Cal-a-Vie. This French countryside–esque establishment doesn’t oﬀer day passes—it’s impossible to immerse yourself in the opulence in 24 hours—so you’ll need to book a three-, four- or seven-night stay in a serene Vista Villa. Choose whether to spend your days caked in the greens of a Sea Wrap or on the greens of their golf course. This retreat is your oyster.
San Marcos, $$$$$
It’s said that lucrative deals have been made behind these doors—likely due to the resort’s nearly $12,000-a-week price tag. Founded in 1958, the Golden Door is one of SD’s most exclusive wellness retreats. Limited to three-, four- or seven-day stays, guests experience daily spa perks like massages, facials, calorie-specific meal plans, and fitness activities. You can also book à la carte services like the womb-cradling Watsu massage, which takes place in a warm pool followed by tugs and stretches to your limbs, focusing on gentle mobilization of the joints. Come for the mental break; stay for pickleball with the president of Sony.
Waldorf Astoria Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club
Dana Point, $$$$$
This is true rejuvenation. Services at this Waldorf Astoria resort will set you back more than most other places in this guide, but they allow you access to a spa pool, lap pool, sauna, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, and relaxation lounges. After your session, get cozy in their newly renovated suites with private firepits and spa-inspired bathrooms complete with complimentary workout gear. No need to worry about your dietary restrictions, either, since this getaway offers seven culinary concepts to meet your needs. With killer ocean views while you golf or exercise, and various boutiques to shop from, you’ll be set.
Rancho La Puerta
Baja California, $$$$$
Escape the mundane and explore this nature-filled retreat where your only dilemma will be deciding between heading out on a scenic hike or basking poolside in the sun. Set at the base of Mt. Kuchumaa in Tecate, Mexico, this 1940s-era wellness hacienda offers a program called Saturdays at the Ranch, which includes a day trip to the property, fitness classes, breakfast and lunch, a cooking demonstration, and more. Seeking complete relaxation? Add a 50-minute Ranch Classic massage.
Glen Ivy Hot Springs
Temescal Valley, $$$–$$$$
Glen Ivy is an oasis. A welcoming mimosa and luxurious robe greet you upon your arrival to this curated retreat featuring 19 mineral pools and therapeutic baths amid luscious, tropical gardens. Pack a swimsuit you don’t mind getting stained and coat yourself at “Club Mud”—the infamous outdoor mud therapy pool—then relax in the Wafa cave, where the sauna heat is intended to draw impurities from your skin. A massage won’t hurt, either (unless you want it to).
Spa Rosa at the Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort & Spa
Indian Wells, $$$–$$$$
Perched on a quiet, sprawling property, the hotel’s Spa Rosa features the works (steam room, dedicated pool, lounge-chair snack deliveries), including a magical hot tub made of tiny waterfalls. The branded resort offers a wealth of treatments inspired by the Tommy Bahama lifestyle and the hotel’s desert locale, like a body mask made with mud from the Santa Rosa Mountains and a Marlin Man massage and facial aimed at golfers.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
Dana Point, $$$$$
This beachfront sanctuary relies on the ocean’s natural bounty to restore your skin. Tranquil water features and aqua-and-beige treatment rooms lull you to surrender before you’re slathered in hydrating ingredients like marine collagen, sea salt, and seaweed. Book the 90-minute Laguna Wellness Experience to be cocooned in seaweed and kneaded like dough. If you’re staying the night, catch daily, complimentary morning yoga and Pilates classes overlooking the Paciﬁc Ocean.
Spa VEA at VEA Newport Beach
Newport Beach, $$$$
The two-story, 14,000-square-foot Spa VEA is Orange County’s new favorite spa retreat. Locals love getting day passes for the adults-only playground, complete with outdoor saltwater pool, steam and dry saunas, and cold-water foot revival. Some even post up in private cabanas with laptops to work while wearing bathrobes. OSEA Malibu’s ocean-inspired skincare line is used throughout the facial and body treatments, including the 100-minute luminous Luxury Oxygen facial, which leaves you with a red carpet–ready angelic radiance.
We Care Spa
Desert Hot Springs, $$$$$
This detox spa retreat in Desert Hot Springs is famous for its liquid fasting program, with celebrity fans including Ben Aﬄeck, Reese Witherspoon, and Gwen Stefani. There are just 28 accommodations (all with oversized soaking tubs), and the daily regimen includes yoga, breathwork, sound healing, and meditation along with colon hydrotherapy (said to ﬂush toxins) and more than 40 spa treatments. The date sugar body polish uses locally grown Coachella Valley dates for a head-to-toe glow.