[Images: Courtesy of Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa; Peter Malinowski]

Cultivating close relationships with clients and offering sophisticated services are some of the secrets to this Santa Ynez Valley spa’s success.

The Distinction

Set against a stunning backdrop of sprawling vineyards and rolling hills in Southern California’s Santa Ynez Valley, the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa is owned by the eponymous actor’s family and operated as part of the Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard portfolio. The property’s full-service spa showcases an array of relaxing and rejuvenating treatments in an intimate setting. Among the offerings are therapeutic facial and body experiences, as well as in-room makeup, hair and waxing services that are especially ideal in advance of weddings and other special occasions that frequently take place at or near the Inn. Guests staying on site can also enjoy wellness activities such as summer yoga in the garden, horseback riding on the Fess Parker home ranch, hiking in the Santa Ynez Mountains and local cycling tours. While its busiest seasons are summer and fall, the spa tends to be a popular destination year-round.

Capturing Clientele

The Spa at Fess Parker attracts a loyal following with its warmth, quality service, and upscale accommodations and amenities. Wine enthusiasts are also drawn to the Inn, where guests receive a complimentary bottle of Fess Parker Pinot Noir in their rooms, as well as vouchers for tastings at nearby wineries. A full 70 percent of spa clients are Fess Parker guests, while 25 percent are locals and 5 percent come from other nearby lodgings. “We rely primarily on word of mouth, as most of our guests are repeat visitors who have been our beloved clients for many years—the staff works hard to develop and maintain these longstanding relationships,” says spa manager Trish Hecker. The sparkling pool, unique products unavailable elsewhere in the region, and competitive pricing also help the business stand out, notes Hecker, who adds that seasonal promotions and special package deals showcasing the spa’s most celebrated treatments and therapies tend to bring in new customers. For instance, a Girlfriends Getaway offers a 10 percent discount with the booking of five or more 50-minute treatments, and a Locals Discount gives nearby residents 15 percent off spa services Monday through Thursday.

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Management M.O.

Ongoing education is a priority for all spa staff members, many of whom live in the area. “We hire within our community, take pride in our team and hold trainings and professional development sessions on a regular basis, so that everyone has a deep knowledge of products, therapies, techniques and customer service,” says Hecker. Meanwhile, the lines of communication between management and staff are always open with a view to ensuring nothing but the best for the spa’s guests. “We encourage all of our associates to provide consistent feedback in order to continue elevating the overall client experience,” notes Hecker. “They’ve suggested ways to make our common spaces more comfortable, as well as how we can improve the check-in process. As a result, we’ve added heaters to the enclosed outside waiting area, among other changes.”

In-Demand Services

Fess Parker spa-goers love to be pampered, making the Heaven on Earth package (120 min./$245) a particular hit. “This treatment begins with our Los Olivos Unwind Massage, which leaves clients feeling like they’re floating on a cloud,” says Hecker. A customized 50-minute Elemis facial follows, awakening the senses and imparting an inner and outer glow— options include gentle exfoliation with papaya enzymes for brightening and smoothing, or an age reversal treatment with Pro-Collagen Marine Cream that targets the jawline, cheeks, chin and neck. “Our estheticians and therapists work together to make sure guests have a wonderful two hours of relaxation and revitalization,” notes Hecker. The Deep Tissue Massage (50 min./$165; 80 min./$195) is also a favorite, she says, especially among more active clientele like avid cyclists and runners: “It’s highly therapeutic, using deeper and more direct pressure to relieve muscle soreness and release chronic tension.”

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The Goods

Elemis, EmerginC Rawceuticals and ODE Natural Beauty are used in spa services and sold in the boutique, along with luxury gifts created by Santa Ynez designers including Faith by Kristy White leather designs, Hammered Hoops jewelry, Heather Grace Skincare and Joah Brown clothing.

Location: Los Olivos, California
Owner: The Fess Parker family
Opened: 2014
The Space: 346 square feet, with 2 treatment rooms (including 1 couple’s room), outdoor pool and relaxation area, and fitness center
Staff: 1 spa manager, 3 estheticians, 5 massage therapists, 1 front desk staff

–by Alexa Joy Sherman

 

This story first appeared in the June issue of Dayspa magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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