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Kelly's Spa at the Historic Mission Inn - Review

Old is the New New

by Lesley Balla

Kelly’s Spa

When one thinks about relaxation and rejuvenation, Riverside, California—a hot, traffic-jammed city in the Inland Empire—isn’t the first place that comes to mind. However, after a weekend at the city’s historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa and an afternoon of bliss at the hotel’s own Kelly’s Spa, your thoughts about the Inland Empire will likely change. The Inn itself is the perfect backdrop for a quick, all-inclusive getaway because you never need to leave the property—there are three restaurants, a bar, a spa, gardens and plenty of nooks and crannies to investigate. Kelly’s Spa, tucked away near the pool, features many of the same Mediterranean design elements as the hotel, creating an Old World-style respite for hotel guests and locals alike.

As part of the Inn’s $15 million expansion, the spa—with its vaulted ceilings and dramatic archways—has been expanded from 6,000 to 7,000 square feet due to the spa’s unprecedented success with guests. The additional space has allowed for the installation of a women-only relaxation room, a communal relaxation room, a nail salon and more rooms for therapeutic baths. Other special additions include two private villas that can be used for couples, brides-to-be and groups of friends.

Walking through the premises is like walking through a Tuscan villa, rich with gold and terra cotta colors, hand-painted frescoes and marble mosaic floors. The spacious men’s and women’s locker rooms each have a eucalyptus steam, plus private baths for soaking. In the women’s room, a dresser holds everything you need or may have forgotten (shavers, hair ties, shampoo and moisturizers), so you’ll never be in want of anything. But should you need something else, a staff member is always right there to help.

Kelly’s Spa Kelly’s Spa

In terms of amenities and services offered, Kelly’s Spa rivals some of the best day spas in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The robes provided are comfy, the lounge is luxurious and filled with treats like roasted almonds, strawberries, brownies and dried fruit, and the staff will bring you a glass of Champagne if you let them. You’ll feel like everything is in place just for you. Each treatment room has its own music system with selections of Zen sounds, classical music and jazz; the aestheticians do a thorough consultation before starting any treatments; and the massage therapists make sure to ask you about particulars before any rubbing or kneading begins.

The spa offers a facial called the Fountain of Youth, fitting in such an historic setting, and the treatment is as relaxing as it is cathartic. After a series of steps to cleanse facial skin, the aesthetician brushes on a thick layer of organic honey and uses her fingertips to create tension with the stickiness. It feels like a massage, decreasing puffiness and soothing the skin. Then, layers of colostrum and collagen are brushed on and a warm mask applied to unwind under for about five minutes. After everything is taken off, we know you’ll leave feeling bright, taut and glowing.
The spa’s signature Chai Soy Wrap treatment is a full-body slathering of skin-softening product, followed by quiet thermal time. Any latent worries you may have are drained away, leaving you feeling stress-free.

The Swedish massage will put you right to sleep, and don’t forget to relax in the steam bath before heading back to your room. We took note of some of the other fabulous body treatments available at the spa: the rosemary scrub, the Italian rose and wine scrub that uses seeds from wine grapes as an exfoliant; and the Tuscan Bliss, which combines an herbal body buff and polish, a green tea and ginger body-wrap, and a paraffin treatment for hands and feet. Day packages are available. But, for full relaxation and to get more for your bucks, we recommend deals that combine treatments with an overnight stay at the hotel.

Kelly’s Spa

Kelly’s Spa
Mission Inn

3649 Mission Inn Ave.
Riverside, CA 92501

(Updated: 07/10/08 HC)

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