Total Refresh - Estancia La Jolla

The spa at Estancia La Jolla is one of several spas we highlighted in this issue. It has an outdoor couples’ bungalow with a private deck!

“You spent all afternoon at a spa? You can do that?” That was Troy Johnson’s response when I told him I’d just spent a sunny Saturday afternoon at a resort in North County getting a massage and hanging out at the pool. I booked that spa experience after a friend recommended it—I wasn’t ready to travel yet, but I was looking to treat myself and relax. Troy’s question sparked the editorial team to create a spa guide, our first ever on this topic, for our New Year’s wellness issue. San Diego has dozens of day spas, including at large resorts—which don’t require you to stay overnight to enjoy all the spa perks—at a variety of price ranges. But how do you pick the right one?

We designed our guide with both novices and regular sauna-goers in mind. There are treatments you can enjoy whether you have a whole afternoon or just an hour to spare; maybe you want to try a new skin treatment or find out how the spa experience has changed since 2020. We’ve got you covered. 

Inside, you’ll find information on hotel spa experiences, which massages to try, exfoliation services at a new Korean spa, where to go for a day with friends and which places are best solo. We also cover the latest skin care trends (gold facial, anyone?). And if you’re looking to totally unplug, we rounded up some wellness retreats that are either within the county lines or just a short drive away.

After the past two years, we are all in need of some serious self-care. Treat yourself by booking an appointment (you deserve it!), or use this guide to get a spa gift card for a loved one. Whenever you’re ready, relaxation starts here!

Good Things Ahead

Just before the holidays, we had a big announcement here at San Diego Magazine: We’re under new ownership! Our longtime editor-at-large and food critic, Troy Johnson, and his wife, Claire, became majority owners of the company. 

To call this moment historic is an understatement, since the magazine has had only four owners since it was founded nearly 75 years ago. Plus, it’s now a publishing company being led by someone from the editorial side of the business. Not only is that uncommon (most of us creative types recoil from spreadsheets and P&L statements), but in our current media landscape, locally owned outlets are even more rare. Business Insider reported that in 2012, 90 percent of mainstream media outlets in the US were owned by just six companies, and according to The Financial Times, private equity firms have a stake in half of the country’s newspapers. It’s important that small outlets such as ours remain locally owned.

Troy has been a trusted colleague since I started here at the magazine in 2015. I’ve always enjoyed his writing and admired his devotion to finding and sharing impactful stories about the city he grew up in. I cannot think of a better person to take up the baton from Jim Fitzpatrick, who owned the company for nearly 30 years. The editorial staff and I are thrilled to have Troy and Claire lead this company into a new era.

Here’s to looking forward, and a new year filled with promise!

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