3 Wellness Staycations in O.C.

The Pearl Laguna offers an upscale and secluded setting for a relaxing retreat in Laguna Beach. Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Vacations—usually the chance to take a break from our obligations—have been thrown into disarray this year, thanks to a worldwide pandemic. Nonetheless, we need a respite from Zoom calls, email blasts, and anxiety now more than ever. These wellness retreats close to home might offer the perfect opportunity for recess, restoration, and rejuvenation, and you won’t have to worry about getting on a plane. If you’ve never valued a staycation, now could be your chance to shift perspective.

The Pearl Laguna focuses on yoga, hiking, clean eating, rest, and balance. Photograph courtesy of The Pearl Laguna

The Pearl Laguna
No matter what sort of reset you’d like to achieve, The Pearl Laguna provides a good launch point. Refocusing on health, finding mental peace, and grieving loss are some of the reasons recent guests had for visiting the yoga and meditative retreat run by Geo and Katresha Moskios. The longtime yogis and their loving staff attend to small details: They focus on vegetarian, clean meals at a large table for family-style dining; experienced guides lead long hikes at every level where guests can find mental calmness; and experts lead everyone in yoga sessions at least twice a day. The weeklong program also includes a daily massage and access to the infrared therapy and Jacuzzi on the elegant, simple grounds that embrace nature. A complete detox is likely as there is no caffeine, alcohol, or processed food, and meals are often one course. “I call it toxic Tuesday—everyone’s getting all the bad stuff out,” Geo says. Rather than having a mystic vibe full of incense, as people might think of a yoga ashram, the grounds feel holistic and calming, like visiting a relative on the shore where you breathe in a sense of tranquility and feel pampered at every turn. “If we keep our immune systems strong, it helps to get through everything in life,” Katresha says. “We’ll step up with more probiotics and tonics, and Geo’s working on more meditative and healing routines for the immune system.” During the pandemic, The Pearl is fielding more inquiries than usual for half the spots previously offered ($5,800 per week, all-inclusive).

“We will add something to someone’s life. And they will leave us and go out and add to other people’s lives. The positive energy just keeps going. And I think now that’s even more important that people get their head in the right place.”
—Katresha Moskios, Co-owner of The Pearl Laguna

You don’t have to travel to treat yourself to a luxurious, oceanfront vacation at Surf & Sand Resort. Photograph courtesy of Surf & Sand Resort

Surf & Sand Resort
For a shorter commitment of a relaxing few days, indulge in a spa getaway at Surf & Sand Resort. Spend a few nights listening to the waves hit the shore ($469 and up) and dine on fresh seafood such as sauteed Ora King salmon ($39), vegetarian dishes such as crisp polenta ($30), and many gluten-free options from executive chef Ron Fougeray at Splashes restaurant, where distancing guidelines are in place and reservations are required. Make an appointment at Aquaterra Spa to experience the serenity of a beach stone therapy massage ($220 for 75 minutes) or a seasonal body treatment that includes an orange and coconut body scrub to reduce anxiety and boost circulation as well as an aloe vera moisture treatment to reduce inflammation and soothe your skin ($195 for 80 minutes).

Glen Ivy Hot Springs
For those not ready to overnight anywhere but home, a day at Glen Ivy Hot Springs might be the remedy to your wellness desires. The day spa, open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., now offers Passport to Wellness ($295 per person), which includes a private lounge with pool chaises and dining table, 50-minute outdoor Swedish-style massage, three-course lunch with wine pairing, fitness classes, access to the pools and mineral baths, a spa host, and a robe rental. Keep an eye out for other special programming, which has included seminars, wellness workshops, cooking classes, and other ways to learn about self care.

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