Review: Aarna Spa at the Pasea Hotel & Spa

Our Review

  • Facillities 75
  • Treatments 83
  • Therapist(s) 95
  • Service 80
  • Products 85
84 California Repose
If you are staying at Paséa or are in Huntington Beach, then a trip to the spa is worth it for the treatments alone. The facilities are OK but not up to the Meritage Collection luxury size or standard. Visit the spa on a weekday for optimal spa time relaxation.

Paséa Hotel & Spa is one of the newest additions to the Meritage Collection of hotels, and celebrated its grand opening last year.  It’s a beautiful hotel, and is a shining example of the Meritage Collection’s portfolio of lifestyle and luxury hotels and resorts throughout California and Hawaii. The Paséa is within walking distance of  the iconic Huntington Beach Pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean,  and takes inspiration from the vibrant artistic culture and communal spirit of the area. The hotel introduces a new standard of luxury hospitality to Huntington Beach with its guest rooms, signature restaurant, expansive meeting and event spaces and of course, its spa. The spa is in its name, after all.

Paséa Hotel & Spa is a modern, elevated form of the classic coastal vibe with a unique design and casual style of service. True to the Southern California lifestyle, Paséa Hotel & Spa encourages relaxation, promotes wellness and offers various opportunities for an immersive Huntington Beach experience. Huntington Beach is the original Surf City, and hotel guests have a Beach Butler at their disposal to help them with all things surfing.

Guests also have access to a state-of-the-art fitness center, complimentary bicycle rentals, yoga classes, and a pool area featuring two infinity edge outdoor pools, a Jacuzzi and VIP cabanas with table service.

Sitting just off the center of the hotel, the Balinese-inspired Aarna Spa keeps that luxe coastal vibe alive. Spanning more than 5,800 square feet of tranquil space, the spa features eight treatment rooms, ESPA products, a boutique salon, relaxation room and outdoor garden.

Facilities

The facilities inside this “Balinese-inspired” spa are new, and have that kind of beauty that comes along with a freshly designed and constructed space. I have been to other “Balinese-inspired” spas (namely the Mandara and the Hylunia) and when Americans try and interpret Balinese design, all they really mean is that a lot of hand-crafted decor has been imported from Bali and tastefully displayed throughout the space.

I’ve also been to spas in Bali and let me tell you, they aren’t as nice as the Aarna spa. So, yes, I guess it’s completely correct to say that this tasteful and serene space inside the Paséa Hotel evokes some wonderful feelings of being in Bali. But it is by no means Balinese.

The women’s locker room was a decent size. I didn’t feel claustrophobic in the medium-sized locker area, but then again there weren’t too many people in there when I was at my locker. There are only two showers and two toilets however, which to me doesn’t feel like enough but thankfully they used the rest of the women’s space wisely and had a dry sauna, eucalyptus steam room and a hot tub. There were also a couple of sinks and opposite those, a vanity area for primping.

It was nice that they had all of these facilities for us to use, but I had two major issues with my visit: the first was that the facilities were messy and under-stocked — there were cups and glasses just laying around everywhere, there was water all over the floor (people had clearly walked around wet without toweling off) and the vanity area looked like it had just been used by a sorority girl rushing to go out on a date. The main shelf that held all the clean towels only had one towel left when I went to have a shower after my treatment. The outdoor lounge was in a similar disarray, with cups overflowing on the side tables, and the heavy teak furniture was all still moved around in random groupings to suit whoever was using it last.

My second issue is probably related to the first: whoever designed the space was either a man or an interior designer who didn’t think through how spa-goers actually use spa facilities because while there were all these nice things for us to use, the space didn’t encourage optimal usage and disposal of things. Thanks for having brushes for us to use but where do we put them when we are done with them? Apparently nowhere because all the used brushes were just left on the vanity counter, and there were no other clean ones in sight.

Thanks also for having a dry sauna and what you call a “eucalyptus steam room.” However, both of these hot spaces were small and barely had anywhere to sit! The sauna had two small benches that were nowhere near large enough to recline or lay down on. The steam room had one small bench and a large area next to it with no place to sit either? And there was no eucalyptus at all whatsoever. While they claim that the whirlpool is salt water, when I visited it was certainly hot but smelled heavily of chlorine bleach so I was reluctant to let it touch my hair or let the water touch my face at all. Not very inviting.

I felt like everything in the women’s facilities was bait-and-switch. So, while it was great to have a sauna and steam room, you’d better hope that no more than one other person comes in to use it at the same time as you. And if chlorinated water is your thing, then by all means enjoy the hot tub as well. At least that has room for more than two people. (Note to the spa: if your whirlpool has chlorine in it I don’t think you should say that it’s salt water)

Massage and Body Treatments

I received the Stressbuster (110 minutes, $319). It started with a full-body exfoliation to “rejuvenate the skin.” This exfoliation used both a dry brush and an ESPA scrub using a peppermint and apricot stones . Every time I hear that a scrub uses ground up apricot stones I think it’s going to be too harsh, but my therapist assured me it wasn’t and in the end it was actually quite lovely. The scrub was removed with hot towels, dry and wet. Since I didn’t rinse off, it was inevitable that there would be some bits left over, and there were. It wasn’t a big deal but it was a little distracting during the massage when she ran over them with her hand when that portion was supposed to be smooth.

The exfoliation was followed by a brief scalp massage that used some ESPA Pink Hair and Scalp mud. This part could definitely have been longer and a little more firm. It took a couple of washes in the shower before I could get all of that mud out of my hair.

The last part of the treatment was a hot stone massage. The therapist started it off by using the stones to warm up her hands, which I greatly appreciated. I think all massages should be done this way. She focused on the areas I mentioned which were troublesome for me, and ignored the rest, which I didn’t mind. I normally like really firm, therapeutic massages but this time I enjoyed the medium-pressure because it just allowed me to fully relax and completely space out.

I left my treatment feeling great, my skin was soft and smooth and my hair was also soft and shiny after I finally got all of the mud out with ESPA shampoo and conditioner of course.

Outdoor garden lounge at the Aarna Spa.

Outdoor garden lounge at the Aarna Spa.

Service

My therapist was super friendly and warm. She had a great energy and knew when to chat (I was a bit chatty at the start) and also knew when to be quiet (when I started spacing out). She seemed like she knew her stuff and delivered the treatment really well.

The front desk staff were fairly young, but they’ve all been trained exceptionally well. They were friendly, polite, respectful and kind.

On check out, another staff member helped me who I hadn’t seen when I checked in. He was also kind, respectful and competent. When he asked me how everything was, I mentioned the part about the facilities being really messy. I didn’t see any attendants until I got out of my treatment so the place was pretty messy until I was just about to leave. He explained that they were short-staffed because someone had called in sick, and profusely apologized for their inability to keep up with their traffic during a busy weekend. “I hope it didn’t negatively affect your overall experience,” he said. I told him honestly that it did make me consider whether or not I’d be coming back, because if there’s one thing I can’t stand in a spa (a place where I go to relax and heal) is being in someone else’s mess. And when you’re facilities are small to the point of almost being unusable, I might as well stay home, take a hot shower with my own eucalyptus spray and get a Soothe massage.

Bottom Line

If you are staying at Paséa or are in Huntington Beach, then a trip to the spa is worth it for the treatments alone. The facilities are OK but not up to the Meritage Collection luxury size or standard, which is a bit shocking really since the spa is in the name of the hotel. Visit the spa on a weekday for optimal spa time relaxation.

SPA AMENITIES
  • Sauna
  • Steam Room
  • Relaxation Area
  • Private Outdoor Garden Lounge
  • Hot Tub Whirlpool
  • Salon
PRICE RANGE

$$$$ = Pricey

LOCATION

Paséa Hotel & Spa is located at:
21080 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

HOURS OF OPERATION

Facility Hours:
Daily 7:30am to 8:30pm

Treatment Hours:
Daily 8:00am to 8:00pm

HOW TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT

For reservations, call 714.698.6110 or visit their appointment page.

http://meritagecollection.com/paseahotel/huntington-beach-spa-resort/

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About the Author

Spa Pro
This spa-loving mystery woman has been going to the spa for 10+ years, and has had therapeutic treatments like massages for over 20 years. Her ideal spa day would include stretchy time in the sauna, a sugar scrub, followed by 2-hour massage and ending with some meditative time by the ocean.

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2 Comments

  1. Eena

    Which one do you recommend more? Aarna or Hylunia Wellness Spa?

    • Spa Pro

      Hi Eena,

      It depends on what you are looking for in terms of a treatment and/or facilities. The only way these two spas are comparable are in that they are Bali-inspired.

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