Tagged day spas

ClassPass San Francisco classes to help shed that pesky holiday weight

Lands end labyrinth
One of my favorite photos from one of my favorite hikes.

Words and photo by Nadia Ibanez

This is the time of year when all kinds of new faces are flooding our favorite local gyms, yoga studios, boxing rings, and Pilates places. For the past two years, my workout regimen has seen little variance: Hot yoga or sculpt three to five times a week with a spattering of weekend hikes or long urban treks.

While I’m a usual suspect at my favorite hot yoga studio, I decided that one of the best ways to explore SF this year was to change up my workout routine while exploring the neighborhood around it. Thankfully, my new membership with ClassPass is helping out immensely.

From hot yoga and Pilates, to boxing and high intensity training, here’s a look at some of the best ClassPass San Francisco classes I’ve taken along the way.

The Park Gym for a total, get-all-of-your-rage out, workout

If you’re looking for the best workout after a long work day or an outlet to get out some nasty energy, the All Levels Boxing class at The Park Gym is your best bet. Class starts out with a few laps around the gym before diving into punches and dedicated time on the punching bag. I was covered in sweat by about 15 minutes into class and the sweat only managed to increase exponentially with each punch and duck. Amenities are pretty standard and the gym is lively and exciting at full capacity. Don’t make the mistake I did and wear a cute lululemon outfit because you will be rolling around on the floor during cool down. (To the single ladies out there, this is a great place for you. There are men everywhere who are eager to help out and spot you. I’d be alllll over this place if I wasn’t with my man.)

Burn SF for a sweaty, empowering work out

I usually find all-girl or female-focused workouts to be a little silly; I can go toe-to-toe for a push up challenge or beat the living hell out of a punching bag if you catch me on the right day. But there’s definitely something to say for the attitude you’ll experience during the female-prevailing Total Body Burn at Burn SF. I left class feeling motivated and empowered by my womanness. I’ve done Pilates for years but the fact that Burn incorporates weights and cardio while maneuvering around the springboard-centric class really is the game changer here. Like the class name states, your entire body will get worked; my arms, quads and ass were sore in the best of ways the following day. There’s a rad, female-empowered community vibe at Burn, which is hard to come by in a place like San Francisco.

Rogue & Saint for full body boot camp training

As I’m writing this, it’s been two days since my first Rogue Body Signature class at Rogue & Saint and I’m still incredibly sore. (Seriously, guys. Never have my forearms and biceps been this stiff. I can’t even open a jar, but it hurts so good.)  It’s been a hot minute since I’ve taken any sort of boot camp class and this training promises a full-body workout spread over 80 minutes of intense, constant movement. This advanced class is not for the faint of heart or really anyone who feels out of shape. You will be running on steep inclines on a treadmill (we’re talking a 7.0 speed on a 7.0 incline), you will be doing a ton of pull ups, and you will learn how to do a proper lunge – so much so that your body will uncontrollably shake by the end of class. I decided to take the class with R&S fitness guru Michael G. Not only did he pay personal attention to me when I felt like I was going to pass out, but he also motivated me to keep running on the treadmill and lord knows I’ll get out of anything that involves running. He will call you out if you stop running; he will call you out if your form is off. So if you don’t like the extra nudge/occasional yell, this class might not be for you.

Wheel House for workouts motivated by music

I have a true love-hate relationship with spinning. I often get distracted and bored during spin, but now that there’s a sense of mind-body connection to modern-day spinning, I decided to give it a whirl again. The WH Smart Rhythm at Wheel House incorporates hand weights into its class, along with bangin’ music, mood lighting, and rhythm. The instructor sits on a slightly raised stage (spotlights, light controls, and all) and guides you through the “cardio dance party” workout. The cycling room itself is pretty high tech and remains fairly cool for the duration of class, making it ideal for a mid-work day workout. But if you’re like me and want to sweat, ask for a seat not directly under the fans. The amenities are spa-like (there’s even a snack table for an after workout pick-me-up) so you might find yourself taking your time before moving on to your next destination.

Ritual Hot Yoga for a sweaty, hands-on yoga

I first wrote about Ritual Hot Yoga back in early 2016 and I can’t tell you how happy I am to find this studio on ClassPass. The classes itself haven’t changed much but the studio has added a couple new amenities to make your time there even more enjoyable. I especially loved all of the new lockers and the essential oil station to add a drop of lavender or mint to your towel to enhance your senses even more. If you’re a yogi in the city and haven’t tried this place out, you’re missing out on so much.

Salt for full-body workouts in the cutest of studios

Salt barre classes in SF
Wise words from the ladies at Salt.

I’ve only tried one class at Salt and I can already see this studio becoming part of my weekly workout routine. From the activated charcoal they put in their water to help with flushing out toxins to the girly details found throughout the space, I LOVE everything about Salt. I took a Barre Fight class the other weekend and loved everything about the class. We worked out on the barre, did a short round of kickboxing, used resistance bands to work our legs and butt, and finished up with some stretches. Apparently their 7×7 HIIT classes are the most popular; I’ve been trying to get into a class for a few weeks now. I’ll finally get to try it out next week so come back soon for more details.

Stay tuned as I add more ClassPass San Francisco classes and gyms to the list!


Calistoga’s Brannan Cottage Inn offers great Valentine’s Day package

Adorable and romantic. What else could you want from a luxury inn?

Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos courtesy of Brannan Cottage Inn

Valentine’s Day. Boutique hotels. Craft brews. Locally-sourced gourmet goodies. Spa treatments. These are a few of my favorite things. My prayers have been answered because Calistoga’s gorgeous and recently renovated Brannan Cottage Inn is offering a month-long Valentine’s Day package to incorporate all of the aforementioned luxuries. Whether you’re visiting Napa with your lover or just looking for a unique way to spend V Day weekend, check out what this awesome package is offering.

Inside one of the rooms at Brannan Cottage Inn.

Brannan Cottage Inn is Napa Valley’s newest, small luxury inn that creates a romantic environment with its historical background, luxury Frette linens, Victorian design, lush gardenscapes and so much more. Rent a bike from the concierge, take advantage of the complimentary use of the Calistoga shuttle, or stay in and enjoy the fireplace and espresso machine in your Deluxe King Room.

Available February 1-26, the “Olive My Valentine” package includes:

  • Luxury accommodations for two
  • Welcome amenity from Calistoga Olive Oil Company
  • Side-by-side mud or mineral treatments with your hunny at Baths at Roman Spa
  • Complimentary beer tastings at The Calistoga Inn, Restaurant & Brewery with the purchase of dinner for two
  • Late check-out

The package starts at only $225 and requires a two-night minimum if you’re staying Valentine’s Day weekend.

Count me in. For reservations and more information, visit http://bit.ly/OLIVE_Pkgs

olympic spa salt room

Olympic Spa in Koreatown: Where ladies get scrubbed, buffed and puffed

Written by Nadia Ibanez

Warning: This post is not intended for the conservative, demure, modest or perverted.

There are several benefits of being a woman: That whole child birth thing, the ability to get free things with the bat of an eyelash…that’s just the beginning. But one of my favorite things of being of the female gender are women-only day spas. There’s something so exciting about spending a couple hours or the entire day among femininity, beautiful women, plush robes and spa services. This past weekend, I spent the afternoon at the Olympic Spa in Koreatown.

I know what you’re thinking: Why would she go all the way to Koreatown, Los Angeles for a spa day? Not only are beauty services cheaper in these neighborhoods, but it’s the only place you can actually visit an all-natural Korean Day Spa.

These spas aren’t like others and they’re not for the weary. One of the requirements to enter into these spas is public nudity. So if that’s something that skeeves you out, I suggest you take a look at our other beauty and wellness stories.

If you’ve never heard of a Korean Day Spa, here’s the gist. You sign in, are assigned a locker and are required to take a shower before you start any service or enter into any of the public spaces. Most of these spas have a number of cold and hot tubs, relaxation lounges, saunas and steam rooms. You can opt for a Day Pass, giving you all access to the aforementioned locales, or you can splurge on a traditional Korean spa service that will leave you squeaky clean and a bit in awe of the nude experience.

olympic spa salt room
The Himalayan Salt Room at Olympic Spa. Photo courtesy of CBS Local Los Angeles

After spending a few hours baking in the sun at the Taste LA (more about that foodie fest later), I was in desperate need of a place to cool off, unwind and prep for that evening’s event. Let me start the story with this: For $100, I spent four hours getting scrubbed, soaked, buffed and puffed. FOUR HOURS.

I initially had the idea that I’d just go for the Day Pass and relax in the tubs and saunas for a couple hours, but their spa service menu was calling my name. I locked in an appointment and had about two and a half hours to kill before my Milk and Honey Body Smoothie treatment.

After dropping my things off in the locker and putting on my robe, I headed straight to the showers. The idea is that you’re supposed to be pure and clean before entering any of the steam rooms or tubs. It’s actually seen as poor form and bad manners if you don’t rinse off first. And trust me when I say that I desperately needed a rinse down.

If naked women – of every age, ethnicity and shape – make you nervous, this isn’t the place for you. Boobs, butts, vaginas and bushes are everywhere. There’s no getting around it. You’ll see boobs of all sizes, small butts and big butts, 1980’s bushes and well-manicured nether regions. And given that this spa is in fact located in Los Angeles, you’ll likely see some botched boob jobs too.

So if you can’t be naked and accept your body, or be around women who embrace their nudity, turn around and go to another shi-shi spa.

olympic spa jade floor
The Jade relaxation lounge has a heated floor, which invites you to take a nap or relax before your service. Photo courtesy of CBS Local Los Angeles.

Olympic Spa has hot tubs, cold tubs, relaxation lounges with jade floors and three different types of saunas all with their own unique offerings. The idea is to go from one tub or sauna to another, alternating between hot and cold, to soften your skin, promote circulation and detoxify. I had my pick of the following:

Warm Mineral Spa for soaking
Cool Waters Pool used to cool down and tighten pores
Jade Steam Room which also emitted the scents ancient herbs through its vents
Hot Mugwort Tea Pool to help boost immune system, detoxify and regulate sleep and menstrual cycles
Dry Red Clay Sauna, which emitted far infrared rays to increase blood circulation, promote better sleep and aid stiff joints
Oxygen Charcoal Sauna, with walls lined with oxygen stones from Korea and a ceiling lined with bichotan charcoal from Japan, the room promotes natural detoxification
Himalayan Salt Sauna, which housed 84 different minerals to aid sinus allergies, relaxation and muscle soreness

After two and a half hours, my number was called by an older Korean woman who was wearing black granny panties and a black sports bra. This is normal attire for Korean spa therapists because they’re constantly splashing warm water on patrons and scrubbing their bodies from head to toe.

I started my Milk and Honey Body Smoothie treatment by lying on a vinyl massage table and getting doused with warm milk. We’re talking milk straight out of the gallon jug from your local grocer. If you’ve never bathed in warm milk, and I’m guessing you haven’t, it’s pretty exhilarating.

Next, I was scrubbed from head to toe and everywhere in between with silk mitts. We’re talking about the knotch behind your knee, behind your ears, up and down your limbs, your belly button, butt crack and your upper thighs. These ladies don’t hold back and they don’t stop at anything less than a smoother-than-a-baby’s-butt softness. I was scrubbed for a second time after the milk bath with a body shampoo that smelled absolutely heavenly.

If you opt for the Akasuri scrub, your spa therapist will use a special solution that will literally scrub all of your dead skin cells off your body and onto the massage table. The treatment can be a bit unsightly so prepare yourself ahead of time.

After a quick rinse off in the nearby shower, I was doused with a blend of jojoba oil and pure clover honey. Needless to say, I wanted to lick myself out of curiosity. She massaged my limbs before flipping me around and rubbing every inch of my achy body. And when you’re on a vinyl-lined table, the flips become much easier and much more comedic. With peppermint oil, she massaged my scalp and applied a pineapple-scented cream to my face before massaging that too.

cucumber maskHand’s down, my favorite part of the treatment was when she applied freshly grated cucumber to my face. The cold veggies on my warm face were stimulating and invigorating and I could tell my face was happily soaking up the much-needed moisture.

Using towels as props underneath my back, she then proceeded to wash my hair with shampoo and conditioner on the table before toweling me off like how my mom used to when I was a little girl. By the end of the hour and a half service, your body feels like a noodle and all you want to do is take a nap. There’s something so sweet about these ladies. Maybe it’s their gentle tone, or their strong hands…or maybe it’s their silly work “uniforms” that make me want to keep coming back.

If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area and have a few hours to kill, I highly suggest you visit Olympic Spa or any Korean Day Spa around town. Throw your modesty out the window, embrace the beauty around you, and give in to the relaxation. For more information, visit http://www.olympicspala.com.



Salt Santa Barbara

Local shop spotlight: Salt Santa Barbara

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

Salt Santa Barbara
Salt Santa Barbara is just steps below the popular State Street

State St. in Santa Barbara has always been a favorite place of mine to wander the streets, talk to locals, and explore all of the curiosities within this lovely shopping and entertainment destination. I’ve walked these streets a few times with girlfriends and have always enjoyed this beautiful city. I had the opportunity to spend a couple days in Santa Barbara and while I enjoyed the local farmer’s market, urban wine trail and shopping, I absolutely fell in love with Salt Santa Barbara.

salt cave at Salt Santa Barbara
Inside the main salt cave at Salt Santa Barbara

After spending a full day wine tasting and walking State St., I needed a moment to unwind for a bit before driving the four hours home. While a massage could have sufficed, a visit to Santa Barbara’s own man-made Himalayan salt cave was just what I needed.

salt cave at Salt Santa BarbaraLocated in the heart of State St. Santa Barbara, Salt is a man-made, underground salt cave that took over an abandoned storage area for the surrounding businesses. The caves are crafted from 45 tons of 250 million year old pure Himalayan salt and cost almost a half million dollars to create. Today, you can spend a session in one of the two salt caves, opt for a healing massage or salt scrub, or drop in for a sound healing, meditation, or yoga session in the cave.

Salt Santa Barbara salt lamps
Salt Santa Barbara has salt lamps in every size so that you can bring a bit of this shop home with you.

The air in the cave is saturated with the salt’s micro particles and can be absorbed into the skin and respiratory system. Sessions in the salt cave have been said to cure chronic ailments are heighten’s one’s overall mood and well-being. I had the pleasure of a spending some time in one of the two caves and definitely felt like I could take on the rest of the day afterward.

Inside Salt Santa Barbara
Inside Salt Santa Barbara

If you’re ever in the area and need a place to get away from the noise and movement on State St. Salt is definitely your destination. Even if you’re not in the mood for a salt cave or spa session, Salt offers a number of gifts like cooking salts, salt lamps, soaking salts, and so much more. Drop by, pick up some gifts and stay for a salt cave session. For more information, visit www.saltcavesb.com.

Inside Salt Santa Barbara

The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica. Photo courtesy of Mike Gardner.

The Shore Hotel is Perfect for Eco-Friendly, Health-Conscious, Green Travel in Santa Monica

The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica. Photo courtesy of Mike Gardner.
The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica. Photo courtesy of Mike Gardner.

Written by Nadia Ibanez

After spending three consecutive weekends in Los Angeles for various food and music festivals, I could definitely tell that through the exhaustion, I was desperately seeking a low calorie adventure in Santa Monica. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely savored every bite from our meals at One Pico and Catch, along with everything we devoured at The Taste LA. But after all of the indulgent events and gluttony, I was ready for some roughage and some cardio. Thankfully, The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica offers the perfect blend of luxurious amenities, ideal location, eco-friendly building elements and health-conscious food and spa offerings for hotel guests.

Outdoor spaces feature drought-resistant plants at The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica.
Outdoor spaces feature drought-resistant plants at The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica.

Perfectly placed on Ocean Ave. and steps away from the beach and Third Street Promenade, The Shore Hotel is one of the most beautiful and aesthetically appealing properties in the zip code. Since opening in October 2011, the LEED-Gold certified hotel offers modern design, a solar-powered outdoor pool, in-room energy-efficient conservation efforts, green elevators, sustainably sourced décor, and so much more in its rooms and suites.

One of the reasons that I fell in love with this oceanfront boutique resort is due to new collaborations with local chefs, wellness brands and a nearby holistic spa. Green travelers can already take advantage of all of the sustainable footprints throughout the property, along with a few different packages that complement the green space.

Matthew Kenney books at The Shore Hotel Santa Monica.Celeb chef/plant-based food expert Matthew Kenney helped to create the M.A.K.E. Wellness Suite package, which provides guests with dinner or lunch for two at Chef Kenney’s raw and vegan restaurant M.A.K.E. inside Santa Monica Place. Other amenities included in the hotel package are one of Chef Kenney’s books and in-room treats from M.A.K.E, such as raw snacks and fresh-pressed juices and elixirs. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, this package will coincide with your detox or already healthy lifestyle.

Cold pressed juices from M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica at The Shore Hotel.
Cold pressed juices from M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica at The Shore Hotel.

The Shore Hotel is also working with Paleta, a local food delivery system specializing in farm-to-table meals, cleanses and juices. Go for the Paleta Wellness Suite package and you’ll be gifted with meal delivery for two including breakfast, lunch and dinner paired with pressed juice and something called a magic milkshake. Paleta branded products will also be waiting for you upon arrival. Personal chef Kelly Boyer specializes in convenient, pre-portioned meals that many celebs will vouch for.

Green travelers with a knack for massages, facials and body treatments will love the Tikkun Spa Wellness Suite package, which includes an infrared sauna session, detoxifying massage and signature scrub treatment at the nearby spa. In-room Tikkun Spa offerings will also be waiting for you inside your suite.

Snacks inside the M.A.K.E. Wellness Suite at The Shore Hotel Santa Monica.
Snacks inside the M.A.K.E. Wellness Suite at The Shore Hotel Santa Monica.

A stay at The Shore Hotel wouldn’t be right if you didn’t splurge just a little. So take advantage of the champagne welcome amenity upon check-in and stop by for some tacos, churros and margaritas at Blue Plate Taco, the locally-sourced and sustainable restaurant on premises.

The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica. Photo courtesy of Mike Gardner.
The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica. Photo courtesy of Mike Gardner.

The Shore Hotel is beautiful inside and outside and these wellness suite packages are ideal for any type of traveler. For more information, visit www.shorehotel.com.