Getting Pampered by the Bay

Writer Catharine Nicol | December 24, 2014

Synonymous with healthy living, San Francisco is undoubtedly a wellness haven. From medi-spas and day spas to luxurious hotel spas, prepare to lay back and get pampered in this eclectic Californian city.

San Francisco is not America. It’s America in your dreams…or at least my dreams. My first morning in this beautiful, Californian city I dodge the famous trams walking across town in the summer sunshine, stop for a healthy breakfast smoothie, which comes with a ‘no sugar’ option, marvel at all the rudely healthy and fit San Franciscans bouncing from their morning run or yoga class to work, and am whisked up to the event terrace of the Mandarin Oriental by former PR Director Edwina Kluender. As we survey the panoramic view, from north of the Ferry Building past Alcatraz to the corner of that infamous bridge, America’s Cup boats tearing white streaks across the blue water in the distance, she confirms, “People are fanatically healthy here.”

Later, I graze from the super fresh local oysters, cheeses, meats and cuisines in the Ferry Building Marketplace, eat a farm- to-foodtruck afternoon snack, then hitch a tram ride up the stairway of slopes to Nob Hill and Pacific Heights. “Everyone is in love with wellness to some degree in San Francisco,” says Leslie Su of Pacific Heights-located yoga studio and day spa International Orange. “We have farmers’ markets, great eating and everything from medi-spas to day spas to big hotel spas. It’s an environmentally friendly mindset way of life.”

Over the next few days I am going to be on a journey through that wellness way of life, which spans treatments using deliciously natural and sustainable to super scientific skincare, gentle rejuvenating yoga to competitive fog- and wind-battling cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge, and soul-warming moments featuring the freshest food, heart-opening views and the Californian kindness of locals.

But today, back again at sea level, I watch the sunset from the promenade along The Embarcadero, busy with runners, cyclists and walkers making the most of every clear, warm, summery moment. A sunny day in San Francisco feels like California at its best, and with all that innovative, accessible wellness on physical, mental and spiritual tap, I can’t help thinking, “I could so live here.”

HOTEL SPAS

THE SPA AT MANDARIN ORIENTAL, SAN FRANCISCO


Right in the middle of downtown, be sure to ask for a room that’s overlooking the Bay at this divine hotel, and don’t miss out on their mouth-watering breakfast in Brasserie S&P. Up on the third floor, The Spa has a calming reception, from where you’ll be shown through to a series of treatment rooms that ooze the brand’s dark wood elegance. Treatments include a range by Aromatherapy Associates and after an in-depth consultation, their Customized Aromatherapy facial includes a face oil massage with pressure point work bringing instant energy, two super hydrating and anti-ageing masks coaxing goodness into my long-haul-weary skin, a beautifully comforting eye massage and all over lymphatic drainage. A cosseting treatment that leaves my skin glowing and my psyche happy, moisture is locked in and my skin looks, and feels, nourished. Pair this with an Enrich Body treatment of salt and coffee scrub with vitamin E for hands and feet, freshwater mud mask, tuberose, ylang ylang and vanilla essential oil wrap, scalp massage and final body butter application, and I imagine you’d be in heaven. Nibble on healthy nuts and fruit post-treatment.

www.mandarinoriental.com



A sunny day in San Francisco feels like California at its best, and with all that innovative, accessible wellness on physical, mental and spiritual tap, I can’t help thinking, “I could so live here”