Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Editor's Note: This establishment is now called Larchmont Sanctuary Spa. Some amenities may have changed.

Le Petite Retreat Day Spa - Review

Rocks are the New Stars

by Sylvie Greil

Rock treatment at Le Petite Retreat day spa in Los Angeles

Larchmont Village, in the heart of the Hancock Park area, has long been one of our favorite neighborhoods in L.A. It's just a short café-and-boutique-lined stretch of Larchmont Boulevard between Beverly and First, but it's a quintessential L.A. hangout with fashionistas, chai lattes in hand, buying yoga props and designer jeans; casually stylish moms walking their strollers and pedigree dogs; and everyone else shopping, browsing and coffee klatsching. Imagine our surprise when after all of these years in the village we discovered this secret little spa, just north of Beverly Boulevard.

Le Petite Retreat day spa is a quiet, inviting space: a true retreat in the city. If you have time to linger before your treatment, you can enjoy the beautiful sitting room with its thatched ceiling, gurgling fountain, fireplace and soothing fish tank. With a cup of tea we snuggled into a couch by the fireplace, leaving the traffic jam we were just in far behind and anticipating the treatment in store. There's always a bit of nervousness before meeting a new spa therapist, as if before a performance. Odd, as it is really they who have to perform — and we just have to give in to their capable hands. As we were pondering these usual pre-spa sentiments, the therapist came in to whisk us off to the outdoor lanai.


When making the appointment we had asked owner Lysa Kustek for a recommendation, something that would really reflect what her philosophy is all about. She had no doubts. It had to be the hot and cold Jade Stone Massage Therapy. We were curious about the cold stones, having only experienced warm ones, but wanted to let the experience speak for itself rather than getting too much background info firsthand. It was a delicious surprise.

Frequently, the stones used during rock massage are basalt. Here they were a luminous green jade. Jade stones, we were told, are able to hold both hot and cold temperatures very well; and green is also the color that corresponds to the liver and heart chakra. The treatment was extremely gentle. There were some kinks to be worked out in the upper back, neck and shoulder area, and we wished they had been addressed. Later, in conversation, we found out that this particular treatment had nothing to do with shiatsu or acupressure, and that there is a reason firmer pressure was not applied. The application of warm jade stones draws the blood to the muscles while the cold stones flush them out. This reduces inflammation and toxins in the body.

As always, we found the holding of warm smooth rocks in our hands incredibly soothing; same with the large, flat, perfectly tempered rocks placed on your feet when you're in a prone position. There's something about the earthiness of rocks that's incredibly raw and powerful. Small, smooth stones between your toes feel almost equally delicious. More than anything, we found the entire experience incredibly soothing and calming. If you're body temperature tends to run a bit too hot or too cool, it is sure to be balanced. We also relished the idea of being outside, yet sheltered in the cabana, in the middle of a hectic city, breathing what seemed like very fresh air and listening to gurgling waters.

A bit dazed, as always after a treatment that takes you away from your every day stresses, we combed through the rest of the facilities and made a mental note to explore the copper tub next time, perhaps via the Green Tea Soak or the Aqua Latte & Floral Medley. This impressive tub dominates a luxurious, small space decorated with candles and Asian art pieces.

Le Petite Retreat day spa is a perfect neighborhood day spa. It is small but so soothing. We weren't surprised to find out that it was blessed by nine Tibetan monks from the Garden Shartse Monastery. Some of their loving-kindness energy is certainly still lingering in this space!

Le Petite Retreat Day Spa
331 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles CA, 90004


Offering full-service spas, glass-bottom boat tours, private islands and more, these ships provide guests with a one-of-a-kind experience at sea.

Find homeopathic roots, Ayurvedic herbs and other natural supplements that help reduce anxiety, improve sleep and balance your mood.