The Spa at Shutters on the Beach is all about the backdrop. The hotel opens out onto the world famous Santa Monica beach with its quintessential Californian blue ocean rollers, along with lifeguard towers and quirky boardwalk activity. The Spa incorporates the relaxed LA vibe perfectly and inside its cosy interior, there is a fusion of shells and beach style furnishings making you feel like the spa and beach are one.
I had been in LA and at Shutters Hotel for a couple of days and in advance of a late evening flight, I decided to spend some time at the spa for a much needed massage and pamper. It had been a busy week and I was jumpy, so trying to switch off and relax was a task, which my patient massage therapist set about to accomplish. In the distance I could hear the waves on the beach, the gulls over head and the intermittent hum of day trippers to the shore. I soon began to unwind and drift off as my therapist worked on my tense shoulders and neck. It was busy at the spa with many clients waiting patiently in bathrobes for a treatment. So I decided not to hang about for too long in the relaxation suite and instead take the opportunity to go down to the beach and get some vitamin D.
I had been daring myself all week to try swimming in the open sea. Like Anne Morrow Lindbergh in Gifts from the Sea, I wanted to wallow in the salty water, something not often bearable in the Irish sea. But I was still feeling anxious as I walked with purpose down to the waters edge, completely self conscious and slightly terrified. Thinking that every chilled out sunbather on the beach was watching me, and sure that the lifeguards had their binoculars trained on me, I willed myself to take the plunge, get down in the water, do a bit of a paddle and then get the hell out. I need not have worried, a wave came along and knocked me over before I had a chance to even think and all of a sudden there I was swimming in the ocean! They say open sea swimming releases happy endorphin’s into the brain and I found myself floating on my back with a huge smile on my face, staring up at the blue sky overhead.
Later I walked back up the sandy beach in the evening sun and headed back into Shutters. I had time for quick supper of salad and water (this is LA after all!), in the beautiful Ralph Lauren-esque themed interior. And with a parting send off from the friendly hotel staff, I headed to LAX and caught my overnight flight to Heathrow.
[Shutters on the beach, 1 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, California 90495 USA]