|Spas of Carlsbad California & Karlsbad Czech Republic go hand and hand. When John Frazier, one of Carlsbad’s founding fathers, first tapped a mineral spring in 1882 he had no idea it would lead to this. But this former sea captain knew what the public wanted. When trains on the new California Southern Railroad stopped at the local station, passengers clamored for the mineral water that had the same taste (and mineral content) as the one at a famous health resort in Karlsbad, Bohemia – now the Czech Republic. His slogan? “The pause that refreshes.”|
Sensing an opportunity, savvy businessmen (and marketing gurus) Gerhard Schutte, Samuel Church Smith, D.D. Wadsworth and Henry Nelson soon formed a partnership named the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company to market the water. With a snappy new slogan, “Alight, drink and be happy” the PR blitz followed. A mineral water bath spa was opened. Visitors came. New hotels, businesses and homes were built. The whistle-stop known as Frazier’s Station became Carlsbad.
Fast-forward 100 plus years and Carlsbad is again the destination for those seeking comfort through body treatment. Guests at the Spa at La Costa are treated to a variety of water experiences that are part of the spa design. A thundering Roman waterfall showers seated guests with an invigorating water massage treatment. An 85-degree heated pool is available for a dip and a stretch, and indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis, steam rooms and saunas are available to loosen muscles. All enhance the hydrotherapy treatments and prepare the body for the services to follow. Director of the Spa, Rianna Riego, says “the steam and heat start melting away muscle tension immediately, making it easier for the massage therapist to manipulate the muscles. In addition, heat opens the pores and softens the skin for a better exfoliation experience, so the skin is ready to absorb the nutrients and moisturizers in the facial and body treatment elixirs.” The Indochine Indulgence is a deluxe two hour and 40 minute treatment that includes both products from the sea and a ritual bath. As Riego explains, “the ingredients for this treatment all come from the Indian Ocean and surrounding points, and are infused with algae that enhance the active ingredients used for each step of the process.” A brown sugar and Dead Sea salt scrub, a warm Egyptian milk bath, a 60-minute massage using Maine oil balm and ayurvedic oils and finally a sublime rice bran body wrap leaves the guest with ultra-soft and moisturized skin and water therapies. There’s water, water everywhere and even some to drink.
At The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Aviara – Spas of Carlsbad water design elements act as an extension of the Pacific Ocean and Batiquitos Lagoon. A flowing wall of water found at the entrance and a cascading fountain in the Solarium Lounge convey a sense of nature indoors. Treatments invoke the power of water as well. Spa Director Kevin South says that one of the most popular choices for local clientele is the Watsu massage. In this “water shiatsu” treatment, both guest and therapist are in a private, 98-degree heated pool. With a series of guided stretches, the therapist moves the guest’s body thorough a sequence of flowing, dance-like movements that are impossible to do on land. South claims “the womb-like, comforting effect of the warm water enables guests to fall into a relaxed, almost trance-like state that can be very releasing on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.” Due to the weightlessness achieved in the water, this treatment is particularly recommended for pregnant women or anyone with lower back pain or arthritis. But just about everyone would find that this unique massage increases range of motion and circulation. The best benefit of all, Kevin South reports the “sense of euphoria” afterwards is almost addictive.
For those who prefer solo water treatments, The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Aviara also offers a variety of delightful bath rituals. The rejuvenating rose, relaxing lavender and invigorating sports baths each provide a unique sensory experience and the utmost in therapeutic service. In a rose petal strewn room, the rose bath includes an essential oil and rose petal infused bath, a body wrap with rose oil and a mini-facial. South says the “hand-picked lavender grown on Aviara’s property is the secret behind the lavender bath.” With a lavender-orange body scrub, Swiss shower and lavender body butter wrap, the relaxation factor is high. For those seeking to ease aches and pains, South recommends the sports bath. The muscle-soothing bath, green clay body wrap and full sports massage removes lactic acid build-up and re-energizes the guest.
Skinsational – Spas of Carlsbad
At Skinsational, a Skin and Body Spa’s owner Joyce Carboni’s passion for hydrotherapy is obvious. Guests are introduced to the spa by an impressive double-sided glass waterfall that can be seen from both the entrance and in the sanctuary resting area. But that’s just for starters. Carboni says “Hydrotherapy is restorative and is excellent for preparing the body for other services. Warm water heats, quiets and soothes the body and slows the activity of the internal organs, creating the perfect prelude to therapeutic treatment.” Several long-time favorites and a few new creations grace Skinsational’s body ritual menu. The Javanese Lulur is a sensory treat for those wanting to experience a ritual taken from the royal palaces of Java. Forty days prior to their wedding, brides in Java would begin the series of baths in preparation for their marriage. Wisdom from the women elders would be passed on and a ritual cleansing in the baths would take place. At Skinsational, the treatment begins with a luxurious Balinese massage, which Carboni claims, “relaxes, re-energizes and rejuvenates.” Next, the guest is treated to an essential oil and herbal body exfoliation and refreshing yogurt splash. Finally, there is the exotic bath in a whirlpool tub filled with rose petals and essences of jasmine and frangipani. The guest completely relaxes, and sips on Jamu tea. Newly added is the Japanese Red Flower ritual. Ideal for those with muscle aches and soreness, this ritual starts with a hinoki mint mineral soak. Jam-packed with sea salts, minerals and herbs this bath draws lactic acids and toxins from the body. Muscles are relaxed and readied for the shiatsu-like deep sports massage that follows. Spirits are lifted, over-worked muscles begin repairing and the body is calmed once again.
Michel Petite Spa – Spas of Carlsbad
Michel Petite Spa and Skin Care Gallery has redeveloped an ancient holistic healing treatment called “raindrop therapy.” Owner Michelle Fourmont explains, “Potent essential oils are dropped along the spine in a technique that simulates raindrops falling. Using a precise technique that varies the order and timing of the drops, the body is brought into structural and electrical alignment. A moist, hot towel wrap and subsequent massage allow the oils to penetrate the skin.” Promising to boost the immune system and reduce viral agents in the body, this therapy and massage are good for maintaining health and restoring the system’s natural balance after an illness. Fourmont says, “This powerful, non-invasive therapy is the number one choice among clients, and the number one re-booked treatment.”
Bliss Day Spa and Skin Care Gallery – Spas of Carlsbad
For those looking to experience the benefits of water without submerging, the Swedish and hot stone massages at Bliss Day Spa and Skin Care Gallery are offered on waterbeds. Proprietress Giovanna Capone claims, “The sensation of floating, the warm water and the long, fluid strokes used by the massage therapist make this massage the ultimate in relaxation.” Standard massage tables are also available for those looking for a deeper massage. Sports, pregnancy and reflexology massages are offered as well. Perhaps the most unique massage is the Chocolat Mon Ami Aromatherapy treatment, using Capone’s own line of chocolate and coffee scented bath and massage products. Finally, a way to enjoy all your favorites without the calories.
Acquazzone translates to “downpour” in Italian. Here in Carlsbad a fitting translation is “sublime pampering with water.” At Bella D’ora Spa, the new signature Acquazzone treatment is like a “facial for the entire body” explains owner Susan Miller. Clients enter a steamy Vichy shower room, filled with aromatic herbs. A French sea salt and dry mud powder is applied to the body. Then a warming wrap and towels cocoon the guest. Prone on a special foam massage bed, the guest experiences the warming and soothing sensation of a personal waterfall cascading over their body. A relaxing head massage is provided at the same time, and cooling citrus aromatherapy infused towels are placed on the face. With toxins released from the body, and the skin re-mineralized from the sea salts, the guest is unwrapped and the skin is cleansed with a citrus seaweed gel. Next, the skin is refined with the exfoli-sea salt glow mixture from San Diego’s own Biotone spa products company. After another rinse with the Vichy shower, a smoothing body butter is applied. Containing moisturizers and an essential oil blend of peppermint, lime and lemon, this body butter tones, softens and protects the skin while awaking the senses. Finishing with a hot stone massage to infuse the body butter, the client emerges relaxed, restored and with renewed skin.
Other local spas have found unique ways to celebrate the properties of water as well. Earth Aveda Spa and Salon offers a Water Nature facial to help congested skin. Salon 21 & Day Spa masters therapeutic water massage with Vichy showers in their Sea Salt Body Scrub and the Spa Vichy treatment.
Keeping the Carlsbad mineral water story alive are Ludvik and Veronica Grigoras. In 1993, they began the complete restoration of John Frazier’s original well and the re-drilling of another naturally carbonated well. A few years later they opened the Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa featuring baths with the famous mineral water. In a charming European-styled building, dubbed Alt Karlsbad, guests are pampered in one of three luxuriously themed rooms. The Roman Caesar, Egyptian Cleopatra and Exotic Oriental suites are decked out for bathing, massages, body wraps and facials. The baths take center stage with the incredible healing and restorative powers from the naturally carbonated mineral water that is used. Promising increased circulation, a release of lactic acid and toxins and a re-mineralizing of the skin, the baths therapeutic value is unparalleled. Sore muscles are relaxed and the skin becomes silky soft. The massages and mud facials that follow only add to the sumptuous treatment. A testament to the therapeutic value of Carlsbad Famous Water is the use of it beyond the spa, and beyond Carlsbad. Scientists at Physicians Formula®, a leading skin care company, were so impressed with the quality and characteristics of the naturally carbonated water that they use it in their Mineral Micro Dermabrasion System.
John Frazier probably never dreamed that his simple well with the extraordinary water would go so far and please so many. It truly is “The pause that refreshes.” •