SoCal Perfection ~ The Balboa Bay Club & Resort
Down the road from the bright lights and big city of Los Angeles, The Balboa Bay Club & Resort has attracted a long list of notable guests since it was founded in 1948. Today it remains a “Private Membership Club” called Balboa Bay Club, but also has an “Open To The Public” component with meeting and wedding space, restaurant, resort accommodations, bar, etc.
On arrival, your first impression is that this is not your father’s private club, but one filled with enthusiasm and energy, as if it were wearing a perpetual smile. In fact, everyone seems to. From the valet to the front desk staff, food servers, locker room attendants and spa therapists, I found everyone to be warm, friendly and engaging.
My ground-floor room at the Mediterranean-style Balboa Bay Beach Club was luxurious and spacious. Inside, my accommodations offered the full-meal deal: big bed, big-screen TV, and big bathroom with an appreciated soaker bathtub and separate shower. Upon opening the French doors, I gazed out upon the thick green lawn, swimming pool, private beach and ocean beyond.
The Balboa Bay Club offers a bright and elegant dining room, the First Cabin Restaurant, with indoor and outdoor terrace seating, where I shared a delicious seafood lunch with friends. For a late meal, I chose Duke’s Place, a casual bar offering live music and food on request. Craving some pasta, I saw a gentleman at the bar enjoying his spaghetti. “I don’t see that on the menu,” I said to the waiter. “It isn’t,” was the reply. He smiled and said, “It’s on the children’s menu—and it’s a club favorite.” Minutes later I was enjoying my own pasta, and feeling like a Balboa Bay regular.
The Spa at the Balboa Bay Club is a special place, one that offers a peaceful and relaxing sanctuary of health and relaxation. Amenities were top-notch: full-size gymnasium, fully equipped cardio and weight room, and men’s and women’s separate spa change rooms with lounge, steam, Jacuzzi, sauna and every amenity you could think of. After a light workout, I made my way to the spa, where I was scheduled to receive an 80-minute BBC Massage and Propolis Scalp Massage. (Propolis, I learned, is a resinous material collected from beehives and is very nurturing to the scalp.)
I’m often asked what is my favorite spa or what is the best treatment I’ve received. It’s really an unfair question, as spas can be so different, but I often answer, “It’s the spa where I can spend the most time”.
After my visit to the Balboa Bay Club, I’m now convinced that 80-minute massages should be illegal. I mean, how can I go back to just a one-hour or, heaven forbid, a 50-minute treatment, after such an amazing experience?
My massage was performed by lead therapist Jamie, and without a doubt it was one of the best treatments I’ve had. I later learned that Jamie has been at the spa for many years and holds a wonderful reputation among members and guests.
All things must pass, and I left the Balboa Bay Club already knowing I wanted to return. The stunning property and picturesque location were delightful, but it was the people who really left me with a lasting impression.
The Balboa Bay Club & Resort
~ Craig Oliver, Editor-in-Chief, Spas of America