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

The Spa at Laguna Cliffs - Spa Review

A Place in the Orange Sun

by Sylvie Greil

Take a classic California retreat with a dramatic setting on the Pacific Ocean, combine it with the vision of an enlightened spa director, and you get The Spa at Laguna Cliffs, an enclave of wellness devoted to authenticity.

"Wellness," "authenticity"... these aren’t mere buzz words. Maureen Vipperman gets excited when talking about her notion for healthy living: “I wanted to create a spa that promotes the health and well-being of the total person.” This means treatments that are results-oriented. It means you do not get surface beautification but deep, inner radiance and beauty. It means regarding the visit to the spa not as an occasional indulgence but incorporating it into one’s regular life routine. The formula is simple: reduce stress and prevent premature aging and illness. For this purpose, Vipperman has created the "Voyage to Wellness," an integrative wellness program which includes: wellness weekends, nutrition and exercise plans, yoga, personal training sessions, lectures, sailing sessions, team building exercises and more.

Vipperman, a mother of four and former U.S. Marine, knows how challenging it is to juggle life’s demands: Amid the job, family and everything else that goes on, it’s hard to take time out for oneself, time crucial to stay balanced and well. Not everyone has the luxury of a personal small army (chef, shopper, butler, assistant...), and she believes, as do we, that it’s average people like you and us who need spas most.

Much like a good chef is inspired by local foods and the seasons, authenticity for Vipperman means drawing from the locale. In this case, orange is the key ingredient that exemplifies everything good about Orange County. We’ve encountered our fare share of grapefruit and citrus-based aromatherapy, but the particular orange aromas used at The Spa at Laguna Cliffs are unique and immediately put you in a better mood. Vipperman worked with an aromatherapist to get the scent just right.

The 14,000 square feet of facilities are understated, comfortable and friendly, proving that there’s life beyond Zen to create a relaxing environment. Moroccan, Balinese or spartanic Japanese designs would feel completely out of place in the sunny, casually ritzy O.C.

Treatments, many featuring the signature orange line, include Thai-Su massage and a Gentleman’s Hot Towel Facial. If we had all the time in the world, we’d love to give ourselves up to the capable hands of the spa team, spend a week at the resort and get a customized treatment plan that would include lots of preventative treatments like massage, walks on the beach, aromatherapy and stress reduction (lounging by the ocean-view pools and in feather-top beds). If you’re planning on doing some spring cleaning for the mind and body, you could pick no better place that this happy O.C. retreat.

Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa
25135 Park Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629
949-661-5000
www.lagunacliffsspa.com


P021706
(Updated: 07/10/08 HC)

Shopping for a die-hard beauty junkie? From anti-aging retinoid pads to a paraffin bath set, the products on GAYOT's list are worthy of any spa.

2013 was a banner year for the silver screen. GAYOT's top picks include tales of space exploration and the dark side of American history.