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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles CA, 90004