To enter Estrella Spa you’ll find your way through the entrance of the Avalon Hotel and walk through a garden maze of cabanas, pools, and palm trees with mountain views in the distance. Boasted as the hotel’s centerpiece for health and wellness, Estrella means “star” in Spanish.
The spa is the epitome of Palm Springs cool, Desert Modern style. Originally built in the 1930’s, a section of the hotel’s bungalows were renovated and turned into what is now Estrella Spa. Upon entering I was smitten with its whimsy character that’s so unique to Palm Springs!
Spoiler Alert: this was one of my favorite spa experiences to date!
When the weather is beautiful you can opt for an outdoor massage underneath a cabana, and the spa has its own set of whirlpool tubs separate from the main grounds. Since we decided it was a good idea to visit the desert in August, I definitely elected for all indoor activities.
Estrella is a boutique spa, so it’s quaint and small. The main building hosts the front desk, relaxation area, a room for nail services, and changing areas. As I walked into the women’s changing area I commented on how cute the space is! Every bit of wall is lined with retro subway tiles. There are two large vanities with all the amenities you may need, private lockers with your own personal key, and a sauna is available as well.
Once changed into my fluffy spa robe I headed to the cozy relaxation area while enjoying ice cold lemon spa water, because when it’s 110+ degrees outside nothing is better. Here’s the only negative out of my experience: I was sweating under that fluffy, cozy robe. While I blame Estrella for nothing, it’s worth noting: be prepared. The thermostat is set low, the changing area is crisp and cool, but the front of the spa is warm.
When your therapist picks you up you will walk in your robe across the courtyard and into a secondary building where massages and facials take place. Your sweet therapist will set the tone for your service with a slow pace, but my 5’0 legs attempted speed-walking that ish. Any other time of year you’ll be unfazed, just not during the dog days in the desert.
I’m always nervous to book massages when traveling. I have my regular therapist in Dallas, I almost always leave other services disappointed. That’s not to say everyone else is terrible, I’m just spoiled. This time, though, Jennifer proved me wrong. While I usually go for deep tissue my focus was relaxation and releasing tension from my neck and scalp. Jennifer’s touch is firm, but those who prefer a lighter touch would enjoy her technique just as well. She worked on kinks, did some magic on my problem areas, and left me feeling new again.
Depending on which facial you book your esthetician will use either Dr. Alkaitis or Natura Bisse. At first, I scheduled an Oxygen Facial with Natura Bisse, but the weekend prior my skin decided to become finicky and last-minute changed my service to a Customized Facial with Dr. Alkaitis. I’ve experienced Dr. Alkaitis before and loved it!
Lead Esthetician Audrey is incredibly knowledgeable and her massage techniques are so relaxing! If I stop running my mouth while you’re working your magic, you know I’m in heaven. Audrey is familiar with blending essential oils and customizes her facials with unique blends for each guest. I asked tons of questions and she didn’t skip a beat, Audrey knows oils like the back of her hand. For me, she blended jojoba oil with frankincense, rose geranium, cypress, and pink grapefruit to address wound healing and calm inflammation. I had acne scars on my chin which she contributed to hormones and my digestive system, thanks to her training in Chinese face mapping. Audrey paired her oil blend with lymphatic drainage, pointing out inflammation on my left jawline, likely related to my TMJ. She gives a killer neck, shoulder and scalp massage, too! Because, you know… TMJ is a B. If you don’t know, count yourself lucky.
By the looks of my tranced face, you can see these ladies did their job and left me in a state well past relaxed. I would return to Estrella Spa in a heart beat! Book your next service with Jennifer or Audrey and you won’t leave disappointed, I promise!
FYI: Valet parking is your best bet, during the off season you can find street parking easily. The valet or hotel staff are accommodating and can show you the way to Estrella. Even though the space is fairly small it’s easy to get turned around among the cabanas. On their menu, 60-minute facials start at $150 and 60-minute massages at $145. Arrive 15-30 minutes early so you have time to enjoy amenities and fill out paperwork prior to your services. A lot of spas in Palm Springs run specials in the summer. If you don’t see anything on their website, call and ask!
*While planning our vacation to Palm Springs I called Estrella Spa inquiring about their facials. I was offered a discount in exchange for my honest opinion on their spa services.