There’s power in routine, in the expected. But there's also power — and some would argue even more so — in venturing from your everyday experience to clear your mind and create space for a fresh perspective. Spa La Lé at Hotel Paseo delivers just that.
Bucking the trend of over-the-top, super-large spas that many hotels and resorts choose to build, the boutique-size Spa La Lé offers a personalized, relaxing experience with touches of the unexpected.
The spa features seven treatment rooms and a Spa Suite with a private shower and lounge, along with a co-ed relaxation area and a nail suite that uses only non-toxic polish.
For Spa La Lé’s founder and director, Stella Chung, it’s not just about delivering guests an incredible menu of facials, massages, and body treatments, which the spa does — it’s also about offering creative and unique elements throughout a guest’s experience.
In the pre- and post-treatment relaxation area called the Discovery Relaxation Room, for instance, there’s a love-letter writing station with quill, ink, and paper, as well as an old-school record player, headphones, and vinyl records. (During my visit, 1950s-era jazz albums were available to listen to.)
“We wanted to have activities for guests to enjoy,” Chung says. “When is the last time you wrote a letter or listened to music on a vinyl record? We offer things that guest haven’t done in awhile to help take their minds off of their daily routines — something they wouldn’t normally do. This helps allow their minds to relax.”
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY HOTEL PASEO
Neutral colors, ambient lighting, and clean lines create a calming ambiance.
For Chung, thinking of wellness as a practice goes back to her childhood. “I’m Korean American,” she says. “The spa is a lifestyle in Korean culture. I would go to the spa often with my mom and her friends. Korean families go at least a few times a week. Creating calm and a wellness mindset is embedded in me.”
After receiving a degree in business finance, Chung went back to school to get her esthetics and massage licenses, and then practiced as a therapist for several years before developing her first Spa La Lé in 2006, in Sacramento.
Chung’s hands-on spa background explains the incredible customer service, expertly trained therapists, and wonderful selection of facials, massages, and body treatments that — combined with chic design touches and unique experiences — give the 3,000-square-foot Spa La Lé in Hotel Paseo its recipe for success.
Chung knows what clients are looking for, which is variety, and the spa treatment menu and skincare product selections reflect that. Customization is key at Spa La Lé. The spa uses results-oriented products from all over the world, including the organic lines Ilike from Hungary and Jurlique from Australia, as well as Umo from Japan, So Natural from Korea, and Casmara from Spain.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY HOTEL PASEO
The co-ed Discovery Relaxation Room includes a vinyl record listening station with headphones.
"We offer both organic and non organic products,” Chung says. “Whatever the guests are looking for. We create a wellness environment while not pushing our definition of what that is.”
Unique in the desert to Spa La Lé is its 24-Karat Gold Drench anti-aging facial ($500, 110 minutes), which brightens, firms, and smooths while eliminating toxins and deeply hydrating the skin with a compound of Gamma GPS.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIEL COLLOPY
Spa La Lé, located inside Hotel Paseo in Palm Desert, can host spa parties of 6 to 40.
Non-hotel guests with a 50-minute or more treatment are welcome to arrive earlier than their designated check-in time to change into their robes and enjoy the relaxation room, or put on a bathing suit and head out to the hotel pool and hot tub area — making Spa La Lé a perfect “day retreat” for locals. (For meals, guests can just pop in to the hotel’s AC3Restaurant + Bar.)
A day of spa for parties of 6 to 40 is also available. “We create entire retreats,” Chung says. “It could be a six-hour party, and we could incorporate yoga and pool time, as well. We customize it to their needs.”
Lucky desert dwellers can take advantage of the spa’s seasonal specials. “We want our locals to know we are here for them,” says Chung. “We will know them by their first name and remember what they want.”
Now that’s bliss.
To book a spa treatment or for more information, call 760-895-4872 or visit lalespa.com.
For more information on El Paseo, visit elpaseocatalogue.com.