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East Meets West: Huntington Spa at the Langham

Traditional Chinese medicine has a place on the new Chuan Body + Soul treatment menu at the high-end Pasadena spa.

May 09, 2010|By Valli Herman, Special to the Los Angeles Times

The newly refurbished Huntington Spa at the Langham in Pasadena combines patrician elegance with ancient healing practices in the new Chuan Body + Soul treatment menu that was launched last month as an addition to the usual menu of massages, facials and other treatments.

Under the Chuan menu, traditional Chinese medicine such as acupuncture and moxibustion — a process that uses acupuncture needles that are inserted and then warmed — is available from a Huntington Memorial Hospital doctor, alongside spa facials, wraps and massage techniques based on Chinese healing principles.

The spa is easy to get to: Pull up to a free parking spot and the spacious facility is just a short walk from the Langham Huntington Hotel's main entrance.

The hotel's lovely, leafy location is a respite from L.A.'s intensity. And befitting its location in a luxury hotel, the Huntington Spa is outfitted in sumptuous materials, with dark wood lockers and marble showers. The 11,000-square-foot spa complex includes a hair and nail salon, small boutique and easy access to the hotel's elegant corridors and dining rooms. An added bonus: Spa patrons can even order room service.

But the spa offers only two grooming stations to serve 13 treatment rooms and 92 lockers.

Before Chuan treatments, clients settle into a waiting area with tables and chairs and a lone couch. Detailed questionnaires are tucked into two silk folders. One addresses health issues and the other preferences that correspond to traditional Chinese medicine's five elemental forces — fire, earth, water, metal and wood.

The Chuan Harmony is one of several massages that ease the journey into Chinese medicine and theory. Based on the five elements, the rather polite Chuan Harmony massage combined sweeping strokes with the prescribed essential oil and acupressure that made time fly and tension melt but left deep muscle knots intact. This massage is priced at $185 for one hour; $265 for 90 minutes.

The new Chuan corridor offers a couples suite, Asian décor and a sleek Dream Room with chairs and ottomans for post-treatment relaxing and therapeutic tea. There is the requisite soft lighting and generic spa music to mellow the mood in the expansive treatment rooms. A heated massage table keeps you cozy under a sheet and lightweight coverlet.

The spa also offers a cedar sauna, tepid steam room, sizable whirlpool, plentiful towels and a generic assortment of grooming products.

By providing a luxurious setting in which to experience Chinese medicine performed by a doctor trained in Eastern and Western healing, the Huntington Spa refocuses the spa concept as a center of healing and wellness for the entire body.

Huntington Spa at the Langham, 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena. (626) 568-3900. Spa treatments are available starting at 8 a.m. daily. The spa closes at 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 8 p.m. on weekends.

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