The Spa at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe opens, offers unique services

By Karen Billing

A day spa is now one of the many amenities offered at the newly renovated The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. The Spa at The Inn opened officially on July 12 and on its very first day a bridal party gave the facility a test-run. Spa Director Brenda Martin said a successful opening weekend followed, with a good mix of both out-of-town guests and residents.

“I think it completes the experience,” Martin said of the addition of The Spa, a feature that The Inn never had before.

She said more travelers these days are looking for a spa at their hotels as a place to relax on vacation or get some much-needed pampering. For locals it becomes a nice amenity right in their backyard to come with friends or to unwind on their own.

Planning for The Spa began last year when JMI Realty purchased The Inn for $28 million.

The owners infused $12 million into the hotel to restore its luster, blending tradition with upscale amenities. The update included renovated rooms, new furniture throughout, a new entrance, refreshed lawn landscaping and the new Morada restaurant, which opened in July.

The 3,000-square-foot spa took over space that was formerly offices and three hotel rooms. It has its own private entrance behind the hotel lobby.

The Spa has five treatment rooms, one of them a couple’s suite. In a separate area off The Spa lobby there are four nail stations; two for manicures and two for pedicures.

Visitors await treatments in two co-ed spaces — one indoor and one outdoor. Inside is a fireplace filled with candles, tufted couches and relaxing chaise lounges with complimentary fruit, tea and spa waters, such as cucumber mint. On the outdoor patio there are loungers, cabanas and places to enjoy a lunch.

Men’s and women’s locker rooms are stocked with Frette luxury Italian linen towels and cozy robes, as well as all the toiletries and Privé Hair product you could ever need.

Currently there are 12 massage therapists, aestheticians and nail technicians on staff. It’s a small staff for an intimate setting that Martin promises will never feel crowded or impersonal.

Martin has experience being the opening director of a new spa — she moved to San Diego from Las Vegas in 2007 to open the spa at The Grand Del Mar and was there until 2011 when she became the spa director at Paradise Point Resort and Spa at Mission Bay.

Martin said they have done an amazing job with The Inn’s spa.

“I feel like this is going to have to be the end of my spa career because nothing can compare to it,” Martin said.

Instead of having a really big treatment menu with too many options that can overwhelm, Martin said they kept the core menu really simple with Swedish, deep tissue, men’s and maternity massage. The Country Blend Massage uses both warm stones and healing hands.

With facials, the Nostalgia facial is “luxuriously powerful,” combining anti-aging technology that produces immediate results with serums and creamy moisturizers. The facial uses the NuFACE micro-current facial toning device, which adds a visible lift, photo light therapy softens lines and plumps the skin, and a decadent French Carita scrub made with macerated sunflower seeds and sweet almond oil that eliminates impurities and softens, nourishes and vitalizes.

“As we designed each treatment what we kept going back to was asking what the purpose was for it. We wanted everything to be purposeful,” Martin said.

As an example, with the Rancher Massage for men they kept in mind that men tend to be tighter in their hamstrings and legs. Martin said a typical massage starts at the neck, shoulders and back, and then moves to the legs, which can cause the neck to tense up again as a therapist works on those tight areas, undoing all the work they just did. Martin said when they created the protocol for the massage, they ensure that therapists start at the feet and work their way up to relieve tension in shoulders and back.

Understanding that hair loss is an issue for many men, they also included nettle oil in the scalp massage as nettle stimulates hair growth.

“What makes us stand out is that we really thought about everything and how to make it purposeful,” Martin said. “I think The Spa is very different in this way.”

Four times a year The Spa will have a menu shake up with seasonal menu items, “from the Ranch,” “From the Grove,” and “From the Coast.”

With the seasonal menu, Martin said they took a hint from the restaurant Morada, using the same “farm to table,” local and fresh philosophy.

“We will have what’s indigenous, fresh, what’s happening right now,” Martin said, noting, as examples, an orange blossom facial and an aloe and emu oil wrap that combats pain from sunburn or exhaustion from the summer heat.

On the current seasonal menu is a watermelon-basil manicure and pedicure, which includes a sparkling citrus soak for your skin, a watermelon basil and vodka sugar scrub, and a fresh-whipped shea butter massage with live strawberry fruit cells. Guests who opt for this treatment get a watermelon cocktail to enjoy during their pampering.

The Spa is now offering a day spa package, which includes the choice of any two 60- minute massage or facial treatments, lunch for one in the outdoor spa courtyard and complimentary access to The Inn’s private pool and fitness area. To book a package or treatment, visit or call (858) 381-8255. The Spa is open Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.