I long have told people that when I become rich one day, the first thing I will do is to hire a private live-in masseuse. There are few things in this world I love more than a nice, long, relaxing massage. My actual experience with professional massages, however, is fairly limited. Usually, I settle for trading backrubs with my mom as we watch TV - a far more economical option.
But there is certainly a time and a place when a professional spa day is worth the extra bucks, and I would say that a Disney vacation would fit. After (or before… or instead of…) a long day roaming the parks, guests at the Grand Californian Hotel at the Disneyland Resort soon can put their feet up and enjoy a wide variety of spa treatments at the new Tenaya Stone Spa.
Inspired by Yosemite Valley, the aptly named Grand Californian boasts a huge, wide-open lobby that encourages visitors’ gaze out and up at towering dark wooden beams, evocative of a forest clearing amongst huge redwoods. The Tenaya Stone Spa is a relaxing respite that complements that grand energy nicely. It provides a cozy space that pays respect to the spirit of nature in a more intimate way. Rather than looking out and up, the Spa encourages a viewpoint that is directed more down and in.
"In developing the spa, we aspired to create a fresh take on the principles of the Arts & Crafts movement by honoring nature. We drew inspiration from the foundation of the hotel, literally in the stones, the earth, and the trees, and figuratively in the promise of a place to relax and to dream," Walt Disney Imagineering Art Director Katrina Mosher said.
The 6,000 square-foot space is centered around an actual Tenaya Stone, a gift from a Miwok Elder and her family, who are descendants of Chief Tenaya in Yosemite Valley. The rest of the facility is oriented around this Stone like a compass.
Visitors enter the spa area from the north, and directly across to the east lies a relaxation room, softly lit by an intricately designed stained glass window. Brass elements in the detailing evoke a warm gold tone that brings out the fire element the room is oriented around. The south side is oriented around the color red and the element of air. At the end of the south corridor hangs a formation of pumice stones, which can bring aeration to soil. The north side pays tribute to the element of earth and the color white. At the end of the north corridor is a detailed, white image inspired by indigenous basketry.
You enter Tenaya Stone Spa through a boutique of fancy lotions, thick robes, and other luxurious items. This is literally a very grounded, rooted space. The chandelier hanging in the center of the room is made of tree roots, and the floor is tiled with slices of tree trunks that show each tree’s rings. This flooring decision was made with the intention to subtly showcase the circle of life and spirit of nature to guests immediately upon entry. Once you enter the central Tenaya Stone area through a set of big wooden doors, you’re swept into the narrative of this space, and you can feel the sensation of all the elements surrounding you.
Treatments at the Tenaya Stone Spa include a variety of massages, herbal body treatments, foot treatments, and salon services such as manicures and pedicures. I opted for a short foot massage while I was there, and my masseuse recommended the hot stone massage, aromatherapy massage, and the Nourishing Avocado Body Treatment in particular for my next visit.
There are also plenty of options suited for guests who are tired from walking around the parks all day. The Step in Time Foot Massage provides a calming foot soak and lower leg massage, while the Mindful Traveler Foot Treatment provides an exfoliating foot soak and energizing massage designed to help increase circulation and reduce muscle stress.
Overall, the Tenaya Stone Spa seems pretty good at tailoring services to individual needs. They offer a handful of massage services specifically for teens, as well as massage services for couples. I also was told that the aromatherapy massage in particular is a good opportunity to tailor your experience to your taste, as you get to select your aromatherapy scents and customize the massage a bit according to your pressure/area needs.
Tenaya Stone Spa opens to Disneyland Resort hotel guests on September 16, and to the general public at a later date. For prices and a full list of services, visit the spa's website.
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