6 Best Spa Resorts in Southern California

Last updated January 5, 2024

Spa resorts in Southern California are among the best in the world. And that makes good sense: SoCal is an epicenter of wellness and a major proponent of a balanced lifestyle. 

If you’re looking to up your quotient of Zen, there’s no better destination than spa resorts in Southern California.

Six Spa Resorts in Southern California

Whether you’re seeking a tranquil retreat amidst stunning coastal scenery or a revitalizing escape in the desert, here’s a rundown of the six best spa resorts in Southern California.

1. Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

Located in the cool vibe beach town of Carlsbad, north of San Diego, the renown La Costa Resort & Spa is a lush, beautifully landscaped 400-acre property designed in the Spanish Mission style. The resort features two championship golf courses, tennis and pickleball courts, eight pools, high-end shops and five restaurants.

The centerpiece of the resort is the Spa at La Costa, a favorite for Hollywood stars and celebs like Jackie Kennedy. Established in 1965, the spa was the first in the U.S. to be endorsed by the American Medical Association.

The spa boasts a private courtyard, pool and an al fresco spa café—not to mention an expansive menu of innovative massages, body scrubs, facials, and nail and hair treatments. Guests who purchase a treatment can spend the entire day enjoying the amenities and the unparalleled tranquility. 

2. The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa

Also located in Carlsbad, The Westin is California dreaming at its finest. The full-service adult retreat connects to the Sheraton by a pathway and is within walking distance of California’s Legoland. Combined, the two hotels have close to 400 guest rooms and are pet friendly.

Their popular Ocean Pearl Spa epitomizes serenity with elite-level treatments including facials, massages and nail services—all using marine-based botanicals. The renovated facility features a eucalyptus steam room, a relaxation lounge and access to the resort’s heated pool and hot tub.

Both the Westin and the Sheraton offer Stay and Play packages with The Crossings at Carlsbad premier golf course, a five-minute walk from the resort. There’s also a hotel shuttle service that will take you within a five-mile radius (which includes downtown Carlsbad). Alternatively, you can rent a bike (actually, it’s free for one hour) to explore the area.

3. Miraval Life in Balance Spa at Park Hyatt Aviara

As if two world-class spa resorts weren’t enough, Carlsbad is home to a Miraval Spa at the Park Hyatt Aviara. This newly updated 200-acre luxury property overlooks a lagoon and features an open-air lobby dominated by a soaring metal and glass chandelier, a grand staircase and a formal courtyard.

The hotel is adjacent to the Aviara Golf Course, designed by the legendary pro Arnold Palmer. Guest rooms and suites feature lagoon, courtyard or pool views. The property also welcomes children (there are family pool areas and an adult-only pool) and dogs.

The award-winning Miraval Life in Balance Spa is a private sanctuary whose mission is to help guests live with intention and achieve greater work-life balance. Their award-winning menu boasts skin and nail services, body renewal rituals (body scrubs, wraps, peels), energy work and Eastern healing practices such as Thai massage, reflexology, craniosacral therapy and Reiki and unique-to-Miraval Eastern-inspired techniques fusing aquatics, spiritual tones and suspended silks.

The one-of-a-kind treatments are available in both indoor and outdoor private spaces. The spa has designed three- and five-day sample itineraries for Park Hyatt Aviara guests. These packages include wellness activities such as yoga and meditation practice, culinary classes, creative expression and movement sessions, spa services, relaxation time and exploration of Carlsbad.

4. Hotel Del Coronado

Just across from San Diego on Coronado Island is “The Del,” a grand Victorian-style white and red-turreted beachfront resort with a sweeping front porch complete with rocking chairs and a majestic lobby. The historic hotel, first opened in 1888, wreaks of glamour, elegance and a time gone by. It is currently undergoing a multiyear, $400 million restoration.

The Del has been visited by scores of celebrities and dignitaries. It’s also where beach scenes from the iconic 1959 Marilyn Monroe movie Some Like It Hot were filmed. To this day, many women can’t resist taking their photo on the beach a la Marilyn!

The self-contained property has numerous shops and restaurants and while elegant, it is also family friendly. The Del is a perfect spot for a day at the picturesque beach or by the pool. You can choose from accommodations in the main Victorian building, which have been modernized but maintain a certain je ne sais quoi, cabana rooms with terraces in other more-contemporary buildings facing the beach or the pool or exclusive and private seaside villas and cottages.

The Del’s Spa & Salon has also been updated. The facility boasts a pool deck terrace that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, gender-separated steam rooms and hot tubs, and a full menu of hair, nail and makeup offerings and massage and facial treatments.

5. La Quinta Resort & Club

Part of Hilton’s Curio Collection of hotels, La Quinta is a beautiful Spanish-style resort half an hour from Palm Springs in the desert mountain area of Coachella Valley. Yes, of the Coachella Music Festival fame and it is about 15 minutes away to the site of the music extravaganza, which is held in April.

One of the big drawing points of the resort is that it has 41 pools—including the main pool, numerous small secluded pools that serve a cluster of casitas and five very private pools, hot tubs and patios for guests who rent the exclusive suites. La Quinta is one of the top tennis destinations in the world and even has a tennis stadium along with numerous courts. It now also offers pickleball, and you can opt to take group or individual lessons.

Other activities include hiking in the desert, playing golf (there are five award-winning courses nearby), horseback riding, yoga and fitness classes, or renting a bike. The combination of the views of the Santa Rosa Mountains and the elegantly landscaped grounds make it a true oasis. The resort is both family- and dog-friendly.

You also want to book a session at Spa La Quinta. Their unique Vichy shower treatments (a Vichy shower comprises five or more shower heads that spray water over your body as you lie on a special heated mattress) are one for the books. Other signature treatments include LED light and color therapy (chromotherapy) as well as wine-inspired rejuvenating treatments. 

6. Golden Door

Lists of the best spa resorts in Southern California always include the OG of spas, Golden Door in San Marcos (30 minutes north of San Diego). The spectacularly beautiful Japanese-style resort offers each guest a daily massage and a choice of 80 different classes to rejuvenate the mind and body, farm-to-table cuisine, personal trainers and 30 miles of private hiking trails.

This ultra-luxe vacation is way beyond most people’s budgets coming in at $11,950 for a seven-night stay not including tax or tips. But we can dream, can’t we? And, by the way, Golden Door is said to have been the inspiration for the book and series Nine Perfect Strangers (sans the hallucinogenic mushrooms)!

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