SPA SPOTLIGHT: Preston Wynne Spa at Hotel Los Gatos
By Kathy Chin Leong

Compared to day salons, hotel spas pack in comforts that dramatically increase the pamper factor: access to a swimming pool, top-notch dining yards away, options for an overnight stay in a bed you don’t have to make the next day.

When I spied the path of aromatic rose petals leading up and through the treatment door at the luxurious Preston Wynne Spa, I realized I’d be in for more than a massage, I would be in for a journey. I was right. At the four-year-spa at Hotel Los Gatos, I felt like an Egyptian princess from Biblical times with attendants who cheerfully served her at her beck and call. Staff here is highly attentive and professional, and the small 3,000-square foot getaway, is both intimate and serene. Clients who book a treatment can have access to the pool and outdoor whirlpool for an extra $20. Hotel guests get it for free, another incentive to spend the night.

THE SPA PASSPORT

For this story’s sake, I experienced an entire day of guiltless indulgence, the $399 Preston Wynne Spa Passport, offered Monday through Friday, featuring a whopping six treatments, including an amazing warm rose oil massage and glowing cranberry facial. If your skin is dry like mine, hydration is important, especially in the wintertime.

My therapist, Daisy, kick-started my 60-minute exotic rose oil escape with several whiffs of rose oil that was lightly refreshing, not cloying. What I remember best was the brisk head massage, expert deknotting of my neck and shoulders, the enveloping warm oil that made me wonder: "Is this how I felt in the womb?" and the consluding spritz of rose mist before leaving. Unique to this treatment is the application of a warmed herbal neck and eye pillow.

My cranberry facial esthetician, Dilys, shone in scientific precision as she examined my skin as if I were an amoeba under a microscope. She squeezed out the gunk from my pores that had been lodged for eons. The cranbery enzyme cream was cool to the skin and tingled slightly. The new experience for me during this one-hour session was the addition of a collegen blanket, a rice paper-like mask with eye and nose holes. When she sponged water on top of the mask, it melted into my pores, plumping up the skin. By treatment’s end, my face was squeaky clean, glowing.

While this sounds like a lot of money, the six treatments would retail over $500. From 11 a.m. to well after 5 p.m., my bod was flexed, scrubbed, scented, and steamed. By the time these experts were through with me, I was so tender and tasty, I was ready to be eaten.

Instead, I went out to eat at the award-winning Dio Deka Mediterranean restaurant next door. This worked out perfectly as the last treatment of the package ended with a makeup application. And FYI, all the facials end with an optional complimentary makeup session, so if you have a Christmas party to attend, book your facial session right before your event.

The staff recommends you check into the spa at least 15 minutes early in order to change into your robe and slippers. If you want to come even earlier to maximize your stay, call ahead to let the spa concierges prepare for some full-bore pampering. You can try the steam shower and sauna before your treatment and also relax in the co-ed lounge. The lounge, hued in soft greens and dark woods, also serves as a comfy venue for manicures and is perfect for the much-needed nap. Thanks to the popular demand for social occasions, the lounge will soon feature "duet" pedicure reliners and a new relaxing area will be relocated adjacent to the locker rooms.

But for now, the lounge, with a cozy library feel, has a cushy tapestry couch with pillows and blankets, Oriental rugs, beaded lamps, and enough magazines to lounge for hours. It also features spa goodies such as high quality Revolution teas in silk tea bags, white ceramic cups and saucers, apples, Nature Valley granola bars, and assorted nuts. In between treatments, I ordered a fabulous lunch of dips and flat bread from the Dio Deka menu which was delivered promptly to the lounge area.

If you do the spa, I recommend spending the night as I did to enjoy the hotel amenities such as free DVDs, complimentary bountiful continental breakfast with make-your-own waffles, and free shoeshine services. Locals can get a local disount of $189 per night. A spa package inclding one night stay and two one-hour treatments runs $489. Going to the hotel Los Gatos, a Joie de Virve boutique property, is like escaping to Tuscany. Red roof tiles, Flowing fountains, mustard walls, and old-world paintings of still lifes and scenery, and plenty of Spanish tiles take you into another era, away from the stresses of Silicon Valley.

ALL-DAY PAMPER:
The $399 Preston Wynne Spa Passport includes six, count –em, six treatments that showcases every treatment the spa offers: one-hour warm rose oil massage, one-hour revitalizing ocean glow, 60-minute exotic pedicure; 45-minute exotic manicure, one-hour cranberry facial, 30-minute makeup application. You can use the Passport at any pace and stretch it out over a period of days or even weeks.

Another indulgence that lasts 3 and ½ hours, $299, is the Get Your Glow On Marbella, which bundles a facial, organic sugar scrub, and pedicure and an otional ligh touchup makeup that gives you a gentle afterglow.
Don’t forget the guys. The 2-hour, $199, Barcelona Package, created for athletes, incudes a deep tissue massage and pedicure.

HOTEL SPA PACKAGE:
$489 includes one night stay, breakfast, and two one-hour treatments.

JUST A QUICKIE:
Winterize yourself with the one-hour warm rose oil massage-$115, or be kind to your shopping-sore feet with the 45-minute spa express pedicure for $45 in the pedicure lounge.

HOLIDAY TREATMENT:
In the mood for something related to Christmas? Consider the cranberry facial. This calming facial keys on in a cranberry enzyme product that thoroughly but gently dissolves winter-dry skin while delivering a nice subtle tingle. Take advantage of the free touch-up makeup afterwards, shop for stocking stuffers in the entryway boutique, and treat yourself to a holiday gala meal at Dio Deka.

DETAILS:
Preston Wynne Spa at Hotel Los Gatos, 210 East Main St., Los Gatos; 408/335-1777; www.hotellosgatos.com or www.prestonwynne.com

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