Hops-infused Heaven at the Rancho Bernardo Inn
As 2015 comes into sight, wellness is a term—and a goal—on the minds of spa owners and spa-goers alike. With a view to luring the latter, the Rancho Bernardo Inn in Southern California recently unveiled its Wellness packages: stays in newly remodeled rooms, brimming with spa amenities for guests, in a bungalow overlooking the resort’s expansive spa grounds. We were lucky enough to escape the office for a few days to check out one such package—and sample the spa’s “made fresh daily” treatments to boot.
Tucked into the hills of northern San Diego, the RBI, as it’s also known, sits abreast an 18-hole golf course. It’s a go-to destination for locals looking to practice their swing, indulge in a spa day or take a staycation. The picturesque property, with homey Spanish architecture, fountains dotted across the grounds and white rose bushes, is also a popular wedding venue.
After a two-hour drive south from Los Angeles, I was eager to settle into my suite, located on the second floor of the Vista bungalow. The Wellness rooms come stocked with a lavender candle, Kerstin Florian bath products, a homemade body scrub, plus a yoga mat, yoga DVD and exercise ball. Guests also enjoy all-day access to the spa grounds, plus a 15% discount on treatments booked during their stay.
That first evening, I carted my shiny new mat to the spa gardens for an hour of Vino and Vinyasa yoga—two of my favorite things!—hosted by Christina Neman of GrapeSeed Spa at the South Coast Winery Resort in Temecula, California. Between the chirping birds, setting sun, sips of crisp white wines and the Zen vibe from the yoga, I was already halfway to heaven.
The next morning I headed for the spa, where my esthetician and massage therapist Laura whisked me off to a treatment room for some serious spoiling. The Made Fresh Daily Treatment: Heaven & Hops (80 min./$175) began with a full body massage, which worked out the kinks in my back—no easy task, considering I’m consistently hunched over my steering wheel while stuck in traffic.
Laura used the spa’s freshly mixed crushed grapeseed and olive oil scrub to gently slough off my end-of-summer dry skin. Fully exfoliated, my limbs were then coated in a barley, hops and aloe concoction that initially felt warm, but cooled quickly.
Although I’m usually overly conscious on the treatment table—I swear my mind never stops!—I was just starting to fall into a mid-morning nap when Laura eased the blankets off my body, proffered me a plush robe and handed me a glass of a local craft amber ale. Practically in a trance, I wended my way down the hall to the showers, where I washed off my mud-colored coating.
Feeling soft and cozy from the waterfall-inspired shower, I was led back to the treatment room by Laura, where I settled in for an Éminence facial (50 min./$130). To combat my oily, acne-prone skin, she recommended the brand’s Red Currant Rapid Infusion and Eight Greens Phyto masques. Happy to follow her suggestion, I lay back, closed my eyes and let her pamper my face with the salad-inspired, sweet-smelling products I’ve come to love. Somehow, I managed to stay relaxed while she firmly but not aggressively banished the blackheads that plague my nose and forehead. Good riddance, clogged pores!
All too quickly, the service was over. Totally relaxed—my knees a bit jelly-like—I grabbed my book and breezed across the spa grounds to a poolside cabana. The spa’s saline, temperature-controlled pool was serene, and a perfect place to spend an afternoon post-treatment. I ordered lunch from the spa menu, which includes unique twists on healthful options such as fruit spring rolls, veggie-focused salads and a zesty ahi tuna tower. Paired with a freshly muddled blackberry lemonade and Cheryl Strayed’s novel Wild, my time at Rancho Bernardo’s spa was—just like my treatment had promised—a heavenly escape.