Inside the Ayres Hotel and Spa in Mission Viejo, Athena Spa is a calming oasis with large and spacious cream-colored rooms. The full-service spa upgrades traditional spa treatments with deluxe add-ons. Facials, for example, intensify with the addition of freeze-dried seaweed compresses or the rejuvenating extracts of caviar and pearls. The contents of body wraps appear to be plucked from a five-star restaurant, with ingredients such as crème fraîche, papaya, pineapple-salt mousse, and pomegranate. In their signature massage, therapists don’t restrict customers to a single style of touch, but combine several modalities, including Swedish, shiatsu, deep tissue, and the grizzly-bear womp. In addition to these aesthetic treatments, an onsite yoga studio invites customers to relax from the inside out.
Salon 117 & Essence Day Spa treats tender outer layers to the touch-ups and rubdowns they so earnestly crave. The combo massage rubs out tension in a session that alternates between gentle Swedish strokes and diligent deep-tissue techniques.
Licensed massage therapist Adil Panton, the mastermind behind Healing Arts Touch, uses energetic touch to move his clients toward calm, health, and well-being. More than two decades of experience and training in Eastern practices guide both his hands and his practice, which focuses on five types of massage and on qigong, a Chinese approach to self-healing that incorporates focused breathing and meditative movement. Panton uses intuition to personalize his massages in a holistic manner, helping his clients heal not only their bodies but also their minds, spirits, and exoskeletons.
Timea Tokes’s built her 20-year career on the belief that what touches your skin matters. At Timea’s European Skin Care, she and aesthetician Andrea Kramer put that belief to practice by judiciously choosing the tools and products that power their facial and waxing services. For example, their signature facial revitalizes skin with ingredients from Éminence Organic Skin Care products, and the Repêchage facial adds moisture back into parched surfaces with multiple layers of European seaweed. The spa duo also dabbles in tech-savvy components, including the FSD microphototherapy’s light and heat energy and the Bio-Ultimate firming facial’s microcurrents and robot tears.
The Spa Gregorie team won Spa Finder’s Reader’s Choice award for Best Day Spa of 2011 for rejuvenating skin with Spa Gregorie's botanically enriched product line and encrusting toes with Swarovski crystals. In addition to brining beauty and relaxation within grasp, each location expands the reach of Western medicine with alternative therapies for pain relief and programs geared toward new mothers and oncology patients. Contributions to the Make a Wish Foundation and multiple cancer research organizations echo this allegiance to health care, and any nonprofit group or charitable organization may use the Del Mar spa's conference room for free. Attentive to both human and environmental health, Spa Gregorie's efforts to reduce waste, energy consumption, and chemical use earned OC Metro's 2011 Green Team award.
In 2011, the International SPA Association honored Spa Gregorie's CEO Angela Cortright with the Dedicated Contributor of the Year award. The press release cites her commitment to well-being and public service beyond her three eucalyptus-scented spas and reveals her favorite quote to be Muhammad Ali's maxim, “Service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on Earth.” This attitude has earned the company an avalanche of awards, which document the good works of its expert aestheticians, hair designers, and massage therapists, as well as the saint bernards that dig them out from under piles of laurel wreaths each day.