28 February 2021
California and especially Southern California – SoCal – is a mecca for healthy living. Outdoorsy types are in heaven exploring its spectacular landscapes, from soaring mountains and sweeping beaches to vast National Parks and nature reserves, while yoga retreats, wellness centres and clean-food eateries abound, in cities and beyond. We’ve hand-picked our favourite wellness-oriented resorts and healthy-eating restaurants around this sun-drenched state.
Best Resorts for Spa and Wellness
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, Rancho Santa Fe California's only Relais & Châteaux property features a Balinese-style yoga pavilion and a vast spa with Moroccan-inspired treatment rooms with private terraces, outdoor tubs and rain showers. Some of its therapies use citrus fruits grown in the resort garden. There are delicious treats of a whole different kind in Veladora restaurant with its Californian–Mediterranean fusion food based on ingredients from nearby farms and the hotel’s own beehives, herb gardens and olive groves. Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara This chic hideaway complete with terrace telescopes for star-gazing draws on local vineyards, wildflower meadows and coasts for therapies including marine facials, sage body treatments and Pinot and Cabernet scrubs. The soothing spa staff dispense hand-pressed juices and organic teas as you lounge around the infinity saltwater pool or on the terrace listening to the cicadas sing. The surrounding wine country can be explored on a resort e-bike, while the farm-to-table restaurant features local scallops and black cod. La Quinta Resort & Club, Palm Springs Fringed by palms, this desert retreat has a mighty 35 treatment rooms – indoor and outdoor – for cosseting treatments including grapeseed body polishes. Once a magnet for the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Clark Gable, it has a Spanish-colonial vibe to its whitewashed bungalows and retro-styled restaurants offering fresh local produce such as yellowfin tuna. Rosewood Miramar Beach, Montecito On the exclusive ‘American Riviera’, this ultra-relaxing resort is a great place to start the day with sunrise yoga on the beach and to end it with sunset walks. Its super-elegant Sense® Spa takes inspiration in local surroundings and native traditions for its specialist skincare and wellness rituals including tailored massages using the likes of organic ginger, lavender and neroli oils. Santa Monica Proper Hotel, Santa Monica Laidback luxury is the watchword at this Wilshire Boulevard property a short walk from the beach, with a rooftop pool deck with a Balearics-inspired alfresco restaurant, bar and cabanas. New from January 2021, Surya Spa is presided over by globally renowned Ayurvedic guru Martha Soffer. Ventana Big Sur: an Alila Resort On the iconic Pacific Highway amidst towering redwoods, this intimate nature retreat occupies the sacred, curative site of Big Sur. Its getaway feel and unique treatments and activities – including private yoga, tai chi, qi gong and meditation and astrology readings – encourage you to focus on the things that really matter. As well as suites – some with cosy fireplaces and/or hot tubs – there’s luxury glamping in safari-style tent cabins. Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea are less than an hour away by car.
Best Venues for Vegan and Clean Cuisine
Rawvolution, LA California’s oldest raw vegan restaurant, an award-winner for its innovative cuisine including the coconut ‘bacon’ burger. True Food Kitchen, various locations Popular spots for vegan, vegetarian, organic, gluten-free, Paleo and Mediterranean dishes inspired by Dr Andrew Weil’s optimal-nutrition anti-inflammatory diet. Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Palm Springs A hip desert getaway with lots of vegan options in its ‘redefined roadside diner’ of a restaurant, plus the Feel Good Spa.
Good to Know
All these Southern Californian properties can be incorporated into a wider California itinerary or road trip that could also include the likes of Napa, Lake Tahoe, Sonoma and San Francisco. Whilst some of these hotels remain closed in line with county restrictions, it's worth planning your itinerary ahead, particularly if you prefer characterful boutique hotels and spas.
Get in touch with me today for more information or to arrange your future travels