Well Within Spa-Santa Cruz, CA

Need a little slice of heaven at a heavenly price? The spa patrol is on it. Hey, the compadres and I love a day at the spa but we have to self-pamper on a budget. That doesn’t mean we’re cheap. I went to a “cheap” spa one time in my life and it was one step above feeling like I was about to be deloused before entering a prison. No, no. I still want luxury but I want it to be reasonable. So far I think the ladies and I have done a pretty good job this year finding spas that are off the beaten path, which is pretty much my style anyway. There are some incredibly beautiful spas out there that people like Janet Jackson frequent but I don’t have Janet’s money and I’m not one to be on a waiting list of any kind. Life is too short and there are too many choices these days to require a long wait when you want to feel good NOW.

A couple of blocks away from downtown Santa Cruz, CA., the Well Within Spa provides a great getaway to have the kinks taken out and enjoy and good soak. Their self-described Japanese traditions blended with California lifestyle is totally accurate and a perfect combination which makes this day spa so enjoyable. Their massage therapists are experienced, averaging over 5 years of experience each, and some have been with the spa since its opening in 1985. Always loving what’s new, I still love to find a place that has been continually good at what they do. Having gone in with a slight head cold the day we went (shame on me) I chose to have the deep-tissue massage. I almost immediately felt my head starting to clear and felt good energy throughout.

Next stop: the spas. All together now….Aaaahhhhhhhh. Whether choosing an indoor or outdoor spa, they are all private, stress relieving, and a perfect way to compliment your massage. Starting at $13 per person for the tub only, how can you not? You have a choice of indoor tubs which overlooks a beautiful Japanese style garden including koi ponds and plants, and the outdoor spas, are private and totally enclosed while still allowing you to enjoy the beautiful blue sky as we did. (It wouldn’t be half bad at night either.) They also offer a Japanese style soaking tub and cedar lined spa to get the full tub experience. All include nice, hot herbal tea to enjoy, towels, robes, showers equipped with body gel, beautiful music in the background and bath salts for the soaking tub.

They offer a Massage a month card which allows you to get your 13th massage or skin & body care treatment free! They also have a great mid-week special called, Together Wednesdays where you can bring a friend or your honey and each have a 50 minute massage and 50 minute spa for $165 or $82.50 per person. Pretty darn good if you ask me.

So, if ever in the Santa Cruz area, don’t just stop for the surfers and shrimp cocktail. This is a great spa which makes it easy to become a regular and is centrally located. It’s unpretentious yet friendly, and offers everything you could want in a spa experience at great rates.

Happy Hot Tubbing!

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FRIDAY PHOTO-Pismo Beach, CA.

A beautiful day at Pismo Beach, Ca. This is right in front of the Best Western Hotel.

FRIDAY PHOTO-Santa Barbara Sunset

I’m really not trying to rub it in as to how nice the weather has been in California this week. Don’t worry, our time is coming. If nothing else, hopefully if you’re sitting in nasty snow, you can escape for a minute with some beautiful scenery from the great Santa Ynez Mountains, located in Santa Barbara. The horses were kind enough to share their sunset with us.

FRIDAY PHOTO-Surfs Up in Santa Cruz, CA.

If it’s January then the waves are behaving normally for those who love to ride them. After a hectic week, my friends and I decided that a day trip to Santa Cruz was in order, rain or shine. There’s nothing like mother nature cooperating with you and unexpectedly stumbling on a surf competition on an otherwise perfect, sunny day.

Never too young to start!

Talk about timing. We just happened to be there when some surfers decided to take a shortcut into the waves.

It’s the time of year again for the Mavericks surf competition. I marvel every year at the courage it takes to face those massive, dangerous waves. To those who dare to challenge them, be safe and good luck to you!

FRIDAY PHOTO-Sonoma Wine Country

Fall in the beautiful Sonoma Wine Country. Which winery? Decisions, Decisions.

Grapes growing on the vine next to the hot tub at the Kenwood Spa.

Private chateau at the Kenwood Spa. (More on the Kenwood Spa coming up.)

Outdoor patio area at the Olive Tree Farm. I felt like I was back in Sicily sitting there.

Olive trees with some of the biggest olives I’ve ever seen.

-Olive Tree Farm

* I have more photos on my Flickr photostream. (To the right>)