As a follow up to my recent picks for my favorite places in San Diego, I've decided to post a feature every Friday reviewing a place I've been.
While the saying goes that home is where the heart is, Hillcrest has my heart has been my home for quite some time, so I felt it appropriate to begin my Friday Finds with a local place.
Over the past couple years during my many weekend trips to L.A and O.C, I've been introduced to a new phenomena of spa which provided one hour foot massages (which also include mild attention given to the back, neck and arms depending on the place you go) at around $20. While usually I'm a huge spa snob and some of my favorites include the famous Spa Qua at Caesars palace with Roman Baths, the Wilshire Spa (Luxury Korean Bathhouse) in Los Angeles and more, it's nice to have an affordable local place where you can visit frequently and still leave feeling incredible. Most of the Asian $20 foot massage spas I've visited are par average, can be noisy and rarely offer a spa like experience, like finding your favorite coffee, finding a massage spa sometimes takes a good amount of trial and error. I've managed to find a few that I like and Karma Relaxation Spa is one of the better few.
Unlike the other Asian style spas, they don't just offer the standard foot massage but also full body treatments, while providing Vichy shower and Sauna amenities. Upon entry you don't realize how vast this place is, but it offers 4000 sq ft of variously themed rooms (Paris, New Dehli, Safari etc.) and two large curtained off areas with incredibly comfortable reclining chairs for the foot massages.
They offer a few different spa packages and the one I chose the President, which includes: 60 Min. Body Massage, 60 Min. Foot Massage, 15 Min. Body Detox, Vichy Shower with a Milk Bath, Suana/Hot Towel. for $79.99 (grand opening pricing). (Reg. $100)
The spa package starts with an ion 15 min detox and like a mood ring, based on the color of your water, there are various types of toxins being released. My water color was orange, which indicated a release of toxins from the joints, the mr's water was black which indicated toxins from the liver and bladder. Pretty gnarly.
Following the detox is a 60 minute foot massage (20 min is spent on scalp, neck, shoulders and arms), then a 60 min full body massage. Like any massage from anywhere, you have to vocal if you don't like a certain technique or if you want the pressure changed. Joel is my favorite and he was able to work out this weird knot I had in my neck.
After the massage, they have a 2-3 person infrared sauna that upon first glance almost seems like a private sound booth because it's awkwardly housed in the hallway. But I actually enjoyed that the little sauna played music, was incredibly clean and also allowed for us to control the temperature.
While the Vichy shower table is not the typical one you may be used to with the five shower heads above, the milk bath service is quite relaxing and nice to have after being massaged in oils. You lay upon a shower table, and your therapist will then massage a beautifully scented cosmetic milk while bathing you. You definitely have to feel comfortable being partially covered while allowing someone to bathe you, but it's a nice experience.
I've already been back twice, and while the spa offers great pricing (grand opening specials currently going on), they also offer a great experience in an incredibly clean and ambient environment, with a friendly staff.
For those of you with a pre-conceived notion about the things that go on inside Asian spas, as a reminder not all establishments are like that and this spa is a legitimate professional spa, so mind your manners and enjoy your massage.
My favorite room is probably the Safari or New Dehli. :)