Open up and say spa: 7 Tahoe-Truckee places for pampering

Float your worries away at The Sanctuary in Kings Beach. Courtesy The Sanctuary
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in the Summer 2016 edition of Tahoe Magazine. It was first published on this website in August 2018 and is presented in its original form.

Think about the last time you really pampered yourself.

The last time you splurged on a touch of “me-time” luxury. The last time you allowed yourself to truly escape from the daily grind of life.

If you have to rack your brain or leaf through the tired pages of your day-planner to come up with an answer, it’s safe to say you’re long overdue for some good-old-fashioned R&R.

There are few things in life more beneficial and therapeutic to the mind, body and soul than a trip to the spa. An integral part of any long-term approach toward preventative care, spa treatments — like massages, body wraps, facials, aromatherapy oils, hot stone therapies, manicures and pedicures — can reduce stress, relieve pain, enhance sleep quality, lessen depression and anxiety, improve joint flexibility, boost the body’s network of biological systems, and repair the condition of your largest and fastest-growing organ, the skin.

From extravagant weekend retreats to all-day pampering packages to basic massages or facials, Lake Tahoe has a range of spa options to help you relax, reboot, and renew your body’s overall balance and harmony.

Start your spa experience with jaw-dropping views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada to calm your mind and strengthen your body, instantly transforming the way you feel from the inside out.

Splurge on a deep tissue massage or hot stone therapy to reprogram, reset and relieve muscle tension, as well as melt away pain associated with injury, strain and imbalance. Indulge in organic oils and aromatherapies to naturally relieve tension, stress and soreness.

After a heavy dose of sun, wind and snow exposure, anti-aging facials, hydrating cleanses and scalp massages can help rejuvenate, restore and protect the layers of your skin, pores and overall complexion.

Embrace everything Lake Tahoe has to offer from the mountains to the massage table. Whether you’re a vacationer, a winter sports enthusiast, an extreme athlete or a local looking to relax and unwind, there’s a spa treatment designed to suit your lifestyle and leave you feeling more blissful than, say, wrapping yourself in a Snuggie and sipping on a steamy cup of a tea next to a crackling fireplace on a snowy night.

In fact, any one of the following spas can likely recreate that Snuggie-hot-tea-fireplace experience for you, too.


Stillwater Spa boasts a swim-in, swim-out feature at the Hyatt. Courtesy The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe

Nestled against the north-eastern shoreline of Lake Tahoe, Stillwater Spa sets the gold standard in luxurious pampering. With a warm sophistication and natural elegance, all 16 Tahoe-themed treatment rooms overlook the quintessential white-sand beaches of Incline Village, set against the vast stretch of deep-blue water just beyond.

After being greeted with a plush robe and slippers upon arrival, the luxurious hospitality continues through the welcomed use of amenities like the sauna, steam room, relaxation lounge, locker rooms, year-round heated pool and Jacuzzis, and state-of-the-art fitness center.

Treatments are personalized from head to toe, each service tailored to the individual guest in order to maximize overall health and wellness. Decompress with a deep tissue or sports massage after a day on the slopes, or unwind with the ultimate definition of comfort and relaxation with the Mother Nature Massage, designed for the expecting mother.

“We have created customized packages such as the Stillwater Retreat that include a full day of pampering including a dry exfoliation, massage, facial, manicure and pedicure with a healthy lunch so our guests can truly rejuvenate and enjoy the benefits of our beautiful relaxation spaces,” said Julie Orblych, assistant spa director.


Find yourself at home at the The Spa at the Landing Resort in South Lake Tahoe. Contributed photo: Erin Walsh

Synonymous with tranquility, relaxation and ultimate luxury, The Spa at the Landing Resort in South Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to treat yourself, your partner, or your wedding party. Sip on a glass of sparkling wine and unwind in one of four state-of-the-art treatment rooms before taking advantage of the dry sauna, steam room, fitness center, and showers.

Experience the benefits of the spa’s “Express Retreat Menu” or upgrade your pampering pleasures through a plethora of therapeutic offerings like their signature facial, which is personalized for all skin types and includes a double cleanse, exfoliation, extractions, plus two treatment masks to help renew, repair and treat any skin condition.

Additional treatments range from the Peak Recovery Massage designed to address athletic fatigue, strain or injury to the Prenatal Massage, specialized to enhance body function, tone, and comfort during pregnancy for both mother and child.


Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Tahoe City is the Lighthouse Spa, where guests can indulge and detoxify the mind, body and spirit. With 25 years of healing Tahoe locals and visitors, Lighthouse Spa practitioners will teach clients how to incorporate meditation practices, pranayama breathing exercises, aromatherapy and specific yoga postures specific to your personal body type and overall wellness goals.

“At Lighthouse we approach spiritual wellness with crystal energy which you’ll see throughout the spa in all our treatment rooms, waiting area and retail offerings,” said spa owner Sheila Barnett. “In addition to helping reduce stress, crystals strengthen your healing abilities and help you get grounded.”

Body treatments at Lighthouse are inspired by the healing wisdom of Ayurveda — a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing derived from Ancient India. More than a mere belief system for treating illness, Ayurvedan oils, techniques and cleanses are designed to help people reach optimal healing by promoting balance of the body, mind, spirit and environment.

Extend your Lighthouse Spa experience with a visit to their satellite location at Granlibakken Resort, where you can attend your own healing retreat from a private getaway to the annual Women’s Wellness Weekend, each experience aimed at reaching your body’s full rejuvenation potential.

THE SPA AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, LAKE TAHOE — near Northstar California

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Lake Tahoe, offers leisure and luxury. Courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Indulge in 17,000-square-feet of luxury at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Lake Tahoe, where the awe-inspiring magnitude of the mountains meets an oasis of pampering services to instantly melt away the stresses and strains of everyday life.

Step into one of 17 treatment rooms to begin your high-altitude experience in ultimate restorative luxury. Reset your body after a day on the slopes with a seasonal Après-Ski Massage, which specializes in elongating stretches and pressure point techniques — or turn up the romance with a couples massage.

“The Cozy Cabin Couple’s Massage is another unique experience that offers treatments tailored to the needs of both individuals,” said communications manager Robin Penning of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. “Treatments are performed in a romantically illuminated spa suite featuring its own fireplace where couples can relax as though they have escaped into the woods.”

To achieve optimal health and wellness results, dive into the heated co-ed spa lap pool overlooking the slopes at Northstar California, sweat it out at The Ritz-Carlton’s state-of-the-art fitness center, or take advantage of their fully-integrated fitness programs including Pilates, yoga and spin classes.


Alternate between massage, acupuncture, yoga and Pilates at this one-stop-shop for wellness, health, relaxation, healing, and spiritual growth.

Practitioners offer a wide array of therapies to create an all-encompassing space for connection, rebuilding and restoring the mind, body and soul. Services are designed to instill balance and inner connectedness that is sure to stay with you long after your time at The Sanctuary.

“A day at The Sanctuary offers an opportunity to re-set, unwind, and begin to rebuild. It’s a break from the demands of not only a job, but the demands of home life,” said Julie Morrison, who owns and operates the business alongside her mother, Kris DeBerg. “We believe that when someone feels better, they live happier and healthier lives. Our massage therapist, acupuncturists and teachers offer people an experience that will enable them to shift their mental and emotional health as well as an opportunity to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually.”

TRILOGY SPA — Olympic Valley

Step out of your ski gear and into complete comfort at Trilogy Spa, located in the Village at Squaw Valley. Award-winning body treatments, massages and skincare services are available year-round at the stylish, chic and comfortable 4,000-square-foot spa.

“Taking time for yourself to just breathe and relax is an important part of spiritual well-being,” said Trilogy Spa owner Alli Cautilli. “We offer Pre-Natal Massage for the deserving mother to be … and we have a lounge space that is perfect for a ladies weekend away, bachelorette parties or bridal showers.”

Drop in to the Lava Lounge any time for a glass of premium wine or champagne with friends and select from an à la carte menu of mini-treatments for the ultimate après-ski gathering or off-season occasion.

Need a little nosh before sipping on the wine? Spa receptionists will happily order sushi from nearby Mamasake or sandwich patters from PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn, delivered right to the door of your exclusive experience.


A stone’s throw from the north shore of Lake Tahoe is North Lake Massage & Skin Care in Tahoe Vista, where the scent of therapeutic grade essential oils seep from the space, inviting guests to spend a day of pampering in peaceful privacy.

This hidden-gem-of-a-spa is only a short drive from Incline Village, Kings Beach, Northstar California, Squaw Valley and Tahoe City.

Enjoy the gravity and strength brought on by the deep-tissue, bare-foot massage techniques of Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, or unwind with the nurturing touch of Swedish, Thai, or hot stone massage.

“Try our Herbology Texturizer Wrap for a service that never disappoints as you are gently massaged with exfoliating micro-grains that melt into your skin, wrapped into heated blankets and finally finish with a luxurious lotion used over the whole body,” said Bethany Lambrecht, the spa’s licensed esthetician, massage therapist and co-owner. “Come spend a day with us and we will be sure to send you home feeling blissful, relaxed and happy.”

Jenny Goldsmith is a former reporter for the Sierra Sun and a former freelancer for Tahoe Magazine.
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