Tucked away in a quaint downtown alley is a hidden sanctuary for spa goers and green folks alike. Though the words “organic” and “spa” are usually not used together, Le Rve is breaking the mold. In today’s society where being “green” is trendy, it’s hard to distinguish which companies are legit; Le Rve has been the only certified organic spa in Santa Barbara since 1999 and it is a member of the Green Spa Network (greenspanetwork.org), a nonprofit trade association intent on teaching “sustainable operating practices to the spa industry.”

What exactly does it mean to be certified organic, one might ask? The Santa Barbara Green Business Network audits the company’s water, gas, electric, and waste management. Owner Shannon Neels’s green vision covered every aspect of her business, noting that “consistency is key,” from the products, decorating, and even transportation-all of the employees at Le Rve are required to carpool, walk, or bike to work every day.

Translated as “the dream” in French, Le Rve’s atmosphere fits the description with an islander chic style that is “based around balance.” As you walk through the entryway to the spa, pictures of where their actual products are made line the walls. Their skincare line is biodynamic, harvested according to the seasons; their massage oils are vegan; soaps are all natural; and their nail polishes are sans harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, which is used to strengthen fibers in facial tissue, napkins, and paper towels, and toluene, a common solvent that, according to Wikipedia, is “able to dissolve paints, paint thinners, silicone sealants, many chemical reactants, rubber, printing ink, adhesives (glues), lacquers, leather tanners, and disinfectants.” Le Rve also produces a line of clothing made from organic silk, organic cotton, and recycled bamboo.

Apart from being environmentally responsible, Le Rve offers a slew of pampering treatments such as the standby massage, facials, and mani-pedis, but also including sunless tanning, permanent makeup, waxing, and tinting. Their 90-percent local clientele has chosen their illuminating facials as their most desired treatment along with the barefoot massage, a version of the Thai massage.

Neels describes Le Reve as “not just a business, but a means to promote a healthy lifestyle while creating relationships.” As such, Neels created Angels List, a program in which Le Rve employees select a person with cancer to offer complimentary treatments each month.

For a reasonable price and fresh outlook on incorporating an organic lifestyle into the everyday, Le Rve is a smart way to treat yourself.


Le Rve Spa is at 21 West Gutierrez Street. Call 564-2977 or visit le-reve.com.


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