Star Treatment: How a luxe spa brings express-beautification to its on-the-go clientele

Sanctuary Spa provides fitness fanatics, harried parents and San Diego's busy professionals with relaxation and beautification, from the comfort of their health club.

Sunny San Diego suffers no shortage of delectable spas. But Sanctuary Spa, situated within the Pacific Athletic Club (a member of Western Athletic Clubs) in the Del Mar bluffs just north of the city, takes its mission above and beyond pampering. Sanctuary aims to complement its facility’s "lifestyle fitness" experience—yet in this quest, does not sacrifice lavish amenities and high-tech offerings.

The resort spa-like retreat is located in an expansive, modern facility where professional athletes lead group exercise classes (titled heavyweight Rich Power shows wannabe boxers and cardio junkies how to throw punches and sculpt their cores, for instance), families shoot hoops and swim together, professionals hold lunch meetings, nutritionists lead “Learning to live an active lifestyle” counseling sessions, and those seeking total wellness overhaul work one-on-one with integrative health practitioners to make over their lifestyles. Sanctuary’s therapists also work closely with their personal trainer colleagues to cross-promote services and better understand clients’ specific physical issues.

Pacific club members are typically serious athletes (Olympian Michael Phelps has done laps in its pool), busy professionals and families—the club offers comprehensive child-care services as well as weekend activities and summer day camps geared around nurturing family relationships. So while Sanctuary serves plenty of runners, cyclists, martial artists and other warriors looking to keep their joints and muscles functioning in tip-top performance form, another spa-going population is just as in need of its healing offerings: overextended parents and professionals seeking a relaxing boost or a quick, beautifying fix after a workout, or while the spouse and kids are busy playing sports. (The spa is also steadily rising on the radar of non-members, according to director Rachel Stacy, as the word about its vast service menu, skilled therapists and laid-back yet elegant setting gets out.)

How best to serve this busy, driven crowd? “Effective, get-to-the-point treatments that provide instant results, relaxation and efficiency,” Stacy says. Evidently, because the SilkPeel (25 min./$125 members; $150 spa guests), an advanced express microderm service that doesn’t use crystals—“they can irritate your respiratory system,” as esthetician Bethany Johnson explains—is in super high demand at Sanctuary. "It’s results are wide-reaching, too, helping to decrease hyperpigmentation, acne, sun damage and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," Johnson says. Here’s how it’s performed:

1. Greet the guest and cleanse her skin using a Clarisonic brush.
2. Remove cleanser with warm towels.
3. Apply toner using cotton balls.
4. Select appropriate Silkpeel solution and apply to skin.
5. Using the SilkPeel machine, thoroughly exfoliate the face and neck.
6. Apply eye cream, lip balm, antioxidant serum, moisturizer and sunscreen, according to client’s skin type.

This service primarily features the SilkPeel skincare line. —Katie O’Reilly

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