Global Traveler

Nurtured by Nature: Revitalize Through the Healing Properties of Indigenous Plants and Minerals at The Spa at Pebble Beach

By Kristy Alpert

I paused to let a golf cart pass as I emerged from a cypress-shaded route, the road ahead curving as it guided me into one of the Monterey Peninsula’s most coveted addresses. People come to Pebble Beach for many reasons — most for golfing the world-famous courses, and many for traversing the 17-Mile Drive or attending the world’s most prestigious car show, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance — but I was there to slow down and soak in the coastal community’s most luxurious asset.

The Spa at Pebble Beach opened in 2000, more than 80 years after Pebble Beach Golf Links welcomed its first golfers; and although the 22,000-square-foot spa sits along the first and second fairways of the golf course, the spa is not for spectating … it’s for indulging. That point was made clear the moment I sauntered past inlaid fountains and entered through the glass doors. Before I could open my mouth, a discreet attendant welcomed me by name and gracefully ushered me to the dressing rooms.

In my experience, there are spas that excel at ambience and those that excel at specific services, but The Spa at Pebble Beach masters both and goes one step further by training its staff to anticipate the needs of its guests. As my attendant showed me around the locker room, she handed me a keepsake bag containing everything I forgot I would need during my time on site: a face lotion with SPF 30 for the pool, a razor with shaving cream for the shower, and a toothbrush with toothpaste for before my treatment.

The Spa at Pebble Beach

© Scott Campbell

Without my prompting, she walked me through a recommended routine for a pre-treatment ritual. This included using the Roman whirlpool tub first, moving to the Moroccan-tiled steam sauna next, and then spending a few moments in the dry sauna before ending up in a zero-gravity chair in the inhalation room. She handed me my robe and slippers, explaining the robes intentionally have no pockets to encourage visitors to disconnect from their devices (but also to discourage lost valuables guests far too often forget in spa pockets).

I took her advice and immersed myself into the jetted bliss of the whirlpool room, only to find myself shoulder-deep in the warm water when the jets shut off. Before I could finish the thought of, “Where is the button to …” another attendant whooshed in to reset the jets and place a towel within my grasp for when I was ready to move on.

I finished my sauna journey and breathed in the woodsy scent of eucalyptus beneath the warm glow of a Himalayan salt wall in the inhalation room before making my way to the coed conservatory to meet my therapist.

The Spa at Pebble Beach

© Kristy Alpert

Lisa was ready for me and, in pure Pebble Beach fashion, immediately made it her mission to make me feel comfortable. Her questions were meaningful and nonscripted as she asked about my goals for the treatment. I had booked the 75-minute Royal Treatment, which incorporates the use of a local honey plus ginger and royal jelly with a full-body massage, foot scrub and facial mask. Lisa raved about the honey-infused oil, noting the entire staff loves giving this treatment just because of the divine smell of the oil.

The spa takes advantage of its bountiful location and utilizes high- quality products made from plants, herbs and minerals grown in or around the Monterey Peninsula. One of the spa’s signature treatments even takes its cue from the Esselen — an indigenous Big Sur tribe — and incorporates locally grown coastal white sage and elderberry into a bathing ritual combined with a scrub, wrap and massage.

Even the more traditional services at the spa take a local spin, especially the golfer-specific treatments designed to target muscle groups key to the game. The spa began offering acupuncture to get golfers back on the greens immediately and boasts both pre- and post-golf therapies to either help prepare the body for or help it recover from a round of golf. Treatments range from flotation wraps to 24-karat-gold facials, each taking place in spacious treatment rooms (some including firepits).

Regardless of the service, many choose to end their time at the spa back in the conservatory, where I made my way after my Royal Treatment. Once again, an attendant anticipated my well-being and, although the conservatory was empty, encouraged me to follow her along a short, landscaped walk to the relaxation Sanctuary. A grand fire bowl crackled and warmed the space, creating an ideal ambience for snuggling with a warm blanket and a cup of caffeine-free vanilla tea. My cup never emptied during my time by the fire, a perfect metaphor for the way I felt nourished and cared for during my time at The Spa at Pebble Beach.