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Ciel Spa at SLS Beverly Hills

From the freeways to the inner freedom

A spa oasis in the midst of the city

The corner of South La Cienega Boulevard and San Vicente. What may be one of the busiest intersections in Los Angeles is also home to one of the city’s hidden oases of rejuvenation—Ciel Spa at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills.

While the elegant boutique property may be known in part for hosting events and parties, there is the presence of a profound silence within the hotel’s walls—particularly when entering the secluded corridor housing the spa.

When I pulled off of La Cienega into the walled-off driveway, the personal touch for which Ciel Spa is known began when the valet parking staff handed me an envelope labeled with my name. It contained a key granting entry to the elevator so I could enter the spa facilities on the second floor, appropriately across from the fitness center. My assigned locker was also marked with my name; inside was a welcoming square of dark chocolate. From my point of view, there is no better welcome.

This square was not the only chocolate found within the spa’s environs. The welcoming room where guests are greeted by soft-spoken massage therapists offers cucumber water, oolong tea, skewers of delicately shaped melon balls and berries and a few more squares of chocolate (white with raspberries and delectable dark). The refreshments throughout the entire hotel—including the spa treats and the property’s two restaurants—are creatively curated by renowned Spanish chef José Andrés. A master of small plates and culinary combinations, Andrés has been honored as an “Outstanding Chef” in 2011 by the James Beard Foundation and also recognized in 2012 by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Accompanying a trip to the spa with a meal at Trés, or drinks and appetizers at The Bazaar, offers a truly transcendent experience. It’s no surprise that a close friend recently held a birthday party at The Bazaar, where we gathered within the piazza-like atmosphere, sharing jicama-wrapped guacamole. The delicately-sliced crunchy white vegetable combined perfectly with the smooth avocado.

The restaurants, bar, spa, and in fact, all of the hotel environs were imagined by designer Philippe Starck and every detail of the interiors is a visual and experiential juxtaposition of stark minimalism and easy comfort—and symbolic surprises. Above eye level, so seeing them evokes a smile and a turn of the head, are a row of carved hands emerging from the wall in the spa corridor. It’s one example of the fresh, clean décor, accented by a hint of whimsy. Jovani, my massage therapist whose clarity and sense of presence fully inhabited the room, commented on how visitors surreptitiously hold up their phone to snap an image of the hands that offer a visual prelude to the capable caretaking of the therapists’ ministrations with warm soothing oils within the elegant treatment spaces.

Locals, hotel guests, and even late-night partygoers can receive massages, body therapies, hair and nail treatments, and even makeup services (for that perfect night around town). One of Ciel’s signature treatments takes place in a gorgeous room where side-by-side soaking tubs create an intimate invitation. In “Soul to Soul for Two” couples soak and then receive synchronized massages. In “Nirvana Renewal,” two therapists combine four hands for a coconut and vanilla scrub followed by an “Experience Shower” before a macadamia and kukui nut oil foot and scalp massage.

After the relaxation massage, there was time to linger in the steam room, where lavender or eucalyptus essential oils can be chosen. The bodycare products in Ciel Spa are an exclusive private-label paraben-free collection that are now being incorporated in all of the hotel rooms and offered for sale to take the spa experience past the corner of La Cienega and San Vicente. After a sojourn at the Ciel Spa and SLS, this corner of the world will never seem the same again.

This summer, spa treatments can be accompanied by use of the alluring pool and deck area. If you just don’t want to leave, SLS and Ceil Spa are offering an enticement to indulge with an escape package that includes an overnight stay, welcome cocktails for two, two sixty minute relaxation massages, and a breakfast table for two at Trés by José Andrés. Valued at $639, the package is available starting at $389 through July 30, 2012. Call 866-716-8136 and mention ESCAPE. For more information, visit: slsbeverlyhills.com or: cielatsls.com.


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