Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort may be best known among Santa Barbarans as a posh place for out-of-towners to stay while visiting our seaside burg, but tucked in a discreet cubby of the luxury hotel is a spa that isn’t just for interlopers. Opened in May 2008 as part of the hotel’s major renovation, Spa del Mar delivers pampering with a decidedly local bent.

According to spa director Julie Menicucci, not only does the spa use local products, but several items on their bodywork menu are influenced by the area. The “Santa Barbara Mission Mystique,” for example, is inspired by the Mission rose garden. Locally grown rose petals, sage, and lavender are used as to exfoliate, followed by a full body massage with oil hand-blended from area rosemary, lavender, and rose oil. Another offering is “S.B. Wine Country Therapy,” which consists of an exfoliant made from S.B. pinot noir crushed grape leaves, seeds, and grape seed oil.

In addition to the myriad facials and massages offered, clients can hang out on the enclosed patio and order something to nibble on either before or after their treatment. Choices include Swiss muesli parfait served with organic honey and dried fruit; wild berries and yogurt, with fresh baked breakfast scone, Point Reyes bleu cheese, and French Camembert and Brie; poached Pacific salmon; and prosciutto de parma, cantaloupe, and Brie.

Menicucci kindly offered me a treatment of my choosing; I decided on the “Anti Stress Back Treatment,” due to a painfully annoying knot in my shoulder blade I had been unable to get rid of. I figured this should do the trick. And did it ever. The masseuse began the session by giving me a gentle “dry brushing” to remove dead skin cells and prep me for the Swiss mud treatment to follow. Mixed with an essential oil potpourri, the Swiss mud is painted across your back in a thick layer and then covered with a wrap. The concoction was warm, weighty, and produced a relaxing tingle in my tired muscles.

While the mud wrap extricated toxins from my back, the therapist massaged my extremities for the next half hour or so. I was in a blissful stupor by the time the wrap was removed. A steamed towel treatment came next and then a shoulder and back massage. By the end of the session, not only was I mentally and physically relaxed, that pesky knot was significantly reduced.

Recently Spa del Mar added another treatment to its list — Micro Art. “Spa del Mar will now be a satellite location for Micro Art by Naked Cosmetics,” said Menicucci. Micro Art uses mineral-based, non-toxic pigments that are injected into your skin via an itty-bitty needle that’s capable of creating individually drawn hairs on your eyebrows. The difference between Micro Art and makeup tattooing is that the pigment fades over time and is gone after three years “There is literally no one in the area offering this service; we have it exclusively,” said Menicucci. “It is another feature of our business that sets us apart from other spas in Santa Barbara.”


Spa del Mar is in Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort (633 E. Cabrillo Blvd.). Hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information and to make an appointment, call 884-8540 or visit Spa del Mar.


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