Splash review 2007

It was a tough choice: Swedish or deep tissue? Splash, the spa at the Sports Club/LA gym, offers them as distinct treatments.

More in the mood that day for pampering than pain, I opted for Swedish. Much of the 50-minute session ($115) in a candlelit treatment room was devoted to my neck and shoulders, a trouble spot because I’m usually glued to my laptop.

My massage therapist, Scott, used knuckles and palms in long fluid strokes as well circular motions to ease tension. At times, he would just hold my head a certain way, stretching tiny muscles in the neck. He also rubbed vigorously above the ears, a new move on me and one I made a mental note of to suggest to other massage therapists because it felt so wonderful.

Sliding off the table onto a velvety rug, I felt rejuvenated—and ravenous. So I grabbed an apple from the basket in the lowlit lounge. Then it was off for a sauna and steam in the women’s bath area.

Splash’s locker room is built to handle a lot of people, which means plenty of showers, mirrors, hair dryers, and the like. It is also spacious—no bumping into three other people when changing.

And though there’s the large and luxurious fitness center (think squash and basketball courts) and pool, they’re off-limits unless you book two 50-minute sessions or come with a member. (It might be worth it, as celebs like George Clooney have been known to frequent the place when they’re in town.)

Happily, the light-filled Sidewalk cafe next to the spa is open to all. And because that apple didn’t quite quell those hunger pangs, I grabbed a table and ate a proper—and virtuous—lunch of spicy chili tofu and Mediterranean chicken salad.