Despite having lived in California for 15 years, I’m not a huge Disney fan, and have actually only been to Disneyland twice in 30 years.
The second time happened to be on a very busy day in October, when I went with a friend and her 10-year-old niece to check out the Haunted Mansion Holiday theme. My plan was to reward myself with an escape to the Mandara Spa in Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel afterwards.
Opened in 2006, the Mandara Spa has a Balinese theme, and was inspired by the ancient and time-honored health and wellness traditions of Bali, Indonesia. Mandara’s marketing materials want you to believe that these traditions have been carefully blended with western science to offer a varied and holistic selection of treatments.
Sadly, although the brochure would have you believe that the spa is a luxurious outdoor sanctuary, the reality is very different. The facilities were very small, to the point of being cramped inside the locker room. I literally had to squeeze past anybody to get anywhere.
Although it’s less than 10 years old, the design and décor – with the exception of all the Balinese woodwork – looked way older and more dated than that. The pink showers inside the locker room were straight out of the ‘90s, with chipped tiles and outdated fixtures. Parts of the locker room looked like they needed a good cleaning, and there were many old and worn out fixtures and fittings that needed replacing.
Inside the women’s locker room, the only facilities were a steam room and a dry sauna. The coed lounge area, although much nicer than the locker room, was also small. There were only a couple of benches and chairs for everyone to sit on while they waited to be called for their appointments.
Massage and Body Treatments
I chose the Balinese Massage with a Frangipani Hair & Scalp Treatment as an add-on. The massage was described as a traditional therapy that combines stretching, long strokes, skin rolling and palm and thumb pressure techniques, while the hair and scalp treatment promised to restore luster and provide unadulterated relaxation.
The massage was very good, and my therapist was quite knowledgeable and very skilled. He used a different technique to any I’ve had before, and I liked that. The treatment definitely helped to relax me and ease my sore, tight muscles.
Disappointingly, the hair and scalp treatment was skimpy, and simply involved applying scented oil to my scalp and hair. It was barely even massaged in. I know it was an “add-on” treatment, but I understood that to mean it was a separate treatment added on after my massage time.
This wasn’t what happened and the whole treatment seemed very rushed. I didn’t like it, and felt its description as an add-on was a bit misleading.
I was very disappointed with the service I received with my hair and scalp treatment. I really felt it should have been longer and more thorough – a treatment on its own – and not just jammed in at the end of my massage time. Apart from this, I had no problems with the treatment service I received. Service at the front desk was pleasant and efficient, if not a little overly formal for Disneyland.
I think that this spa is a great escape for anyone seeking a little adult quiet time away from the noise and mania of their Disneyland visit. There are better spas in the area, but if this is the quickest and easiest way for someone to get into a spa, it’ll do.
- 8 treatment rooms
- Couples’ pavilion
- Co-ed lounge
- Separate men’s and women’s sauna and steam room
- 2 nail bars
$$$$ = Pricey
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
1600 S. Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
There are several other Mandara Spa locations around the world and on cruise ships.
SPA HOURS OF OPERATION
Daily: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
HOW TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
If you’re staying in the hotel, you can book at reception, but it’s better to book ahead of time to ensure you get the day and time you want. You can book online or by calling (714) 300-7350. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org