H. Gillerman Organics Aromatherapy Massage

Santa Barbara may be the most celebrated destination in California, but the rustic grandeur of the city is actually best seen from inside a luxury hotel – the Four Seasons Biltmore – not just on State Street, where most jumbled tourists spend their time. Jetsetters from here and abroad have been known to swoop into the sleepy beach side town for some much needed rest & relaxation, but serious luxe insiders know the old style romantic Four Seasons will entice you with its reputed low key elegance found in every corner, from every staff member, and from every glass of vino.

So, when did I start reviewing spas? I haven’t. But, what I have experienced and want to share was my quick overnighter after luxuriating in an H. Gillerman Organics Aromatherapy  Massage ($180). Designed by the always impeccably charming, Hope Gillerman, the decadent True Relaxation massage features Hope’s organic therapeutic oil formulations Stress & Muscle Remedy, which designed to target the most common modern-day stress issues such as chronic muscle tension from long days at the office or on the gnarled freeways of Los Angeles.

The fantastical spa menu is highly edited, bringing a diverse roster of choices for anyone needing serious reprieve from city life. No matter what service you choose, a dunk in the 84F mineral whirpool is must. Soaking for 15-20 minutes in the frothy bubbles will help loosen up the tightly wound muscle fibers and deliver a deeper massage. Nothing is gimmicky about the spa. Staying true to the philosophy of holistic wellness, the Four Seasons makes sure the bliss of beauty is unrivaled by that of any of spa experience you have ever had.

Even the über ticklish will relax under the watchful eye of Alex, a lionized masseuse. Personally trained by Hope on essential oils, Alex’s languorous treatment begins with a deep inhalation of the thoughtfully distilled Stress Remedy, a meditative blend of Lavender, Tangerine, and Sandalwood to help your senses transport themselves into that tucked away corner of calm. The perfectly up to date suite – shaded, peaceful and modern – offers you an ocean front view unless you prefer the serenity of the sitar tracks to soothe your inner zen. During the unstoppable 80-minute massage, Alex honed in on some pretty deeply oblique knots and kinks I didn’t even know I had.

But, what makes this experience a cut above the rest is the unbridled release of essences from the Muscle Remedy. The healing powers of Basil, Birch, and Vetiver are not only kneaded into every single pore of the body, but the resulting halo of essences quietly hovers over the table to help induce a relaxative state. Alex never rushes through any nook or cranny. Working with a astute, dare I say near rigorous deliberation, he uses his full palms and thumbs to loosen up your tension going deeper with his forearms that now bear the scent of the essences.

Once you’ve been reduced to a blubbery sense of serenity, you can continue the experience in the Eucalyptus steam bath or dry sauna before popping into the expansive showers complete with a rain bar. My question is how do I buy a bottle of the private label shower gel? The foamy alchemy of pear-tinged swirls proves to be beguiling, but was too large to pocket away in the oversized plush robe. Yes, I tried. I’ll just say I want…ahem, I need this gel. In the end, I left with skin that glows with a renewed hauteur.

If a deep tissue session isn’t your thing, choose from three other spectacular massage alternatives – Pure Breathing, Natural Rest or Clear Mind - to help you get your groove back.

It’s official – I have found my bimonthly pilgrimage of pleasure to refresh the soul. Come and join me in November...