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FOODIE RUSTICA: AUGUST 2008

Spa Gaucin: A Mediterranean Experience for All Senses

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(Aug. 19, 2008)—With Tuscan-inspired architecture and a seaside view that provides the backdrop to its 18-hole golf course and al fresco dining areas, the St. Regis Resort Monarch Beach fuses Mediterranean elements with Pacific coastal settings. Now, the resort’s Spa Gaucin honors Southern European traditions with thematic massages and a new café.

In December 2007, the International Spa Association reported an estimated 14,600 spa locations in the U.S., with day spas comprising the largest segment. This should come as no surprise to those noticing the emergence of day spas both locally and in other cities. To remain competitive and further its unique selling point, Spa Gaucin launched a new menu in February.

"Our goal was to create a memorable experience for locals and out-of-towners," says Valory Reed, spa director for the St. Regis Resort Monarch Beach. "The St. Regis is known for fine dining and the hotel is styled with Mediterranean architecture. I wanted pull that into a spa experience and make it a place for celebration for couples, girlfriends, mothers and daughters."

Blending ingredients found in Southern European cuisine, Spa Gaucin immerses its guests in antioxidant massages such as the Mediterranean Meltaway—a 20-minute espresso bath for couples, accompanied by Italian wine and a cheese tray, and a 90-minute massage with a fig and cassis body butter hydration. For skin pampering, guests can indulge in a chardonnay sugar scrub or tomato basil nourishing wrap.

Reed says the spa reinvention has helped take the facility out of its resort-spa niche and into the hearts of day-spa goers throughout Southern California, with many of loyal patrons coming from LA. And it’s no wonder.

Named after an old world village in Southern Spain, Spa Gaucin offers a portal of serenity so different from other day spas. A typical visit starts by tossing a "wish" coin into the Well of Desires, while fruits, nuts, ample water and a glass of wine or champagne await visitors in Tranquility Lounge. Showering at the spa means indulging in the soft and custom scents of pear soaps and shampoos, and facials promise supreme healing thanks to skincare products by Le Vin or Kate Somerville—the latter who’s known for giving celebrities their "Hollywood glow."

Reed says the crescendo to this experience is the newly opened Spa Gaucin café, located in spa’s lower level by the pool. While still in development, the café boasts a menu that mirrors the Mediterranean eating style, which health experts say is associated with lower levels of LDL oxidation—"bad cholesterol"—and reduced risks of heart disease, the new café invites guests to enjoy dishes featuring olive, fresh tomatoes, seven-grain rustic breads and a choice selection of organic wines.

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