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I didn’t plan on having an Asian theme on my recent getaway to Santa Monica, it just turned out that way – and boy are my body and stomach sure glad it did. It all started when a friend suggested I check out the Tikkun Holistic Spa and then have dinner at Sushi Roku.
Located a few blocks from where I was staying at the Shore Hotel, Tikkun Spa is a wellness sanctuary designed to heal and rejuvenate the mind and body. It boasts 6,500 sq-ft of health-enhancing of co-ed far-infrared heat therapy rooms, each lined with different minerals with health giving properties.
My visit began with an incredible Tikkun Signature Full Body Treatment. Unlike any spa treatment I’ve had before, this exotic journey started in a private room, with a relaxing soak in a stone tub. This was followed by a unique Korean Body Scrub. Performed by a skilled masseuse with a pair of traditional Korean scrubbing mitts, this procedure invigorated and exfoliated my body from head to toe. During the scrub, I felt like a sports car getting a fine detailing.
The treatment was rounded out with an awesome,15-minute, hot oil rub and a soothing warm milk rinse that turned my body a silky-smooth, moisturized temple.
After the Korean Body Scrub, I tried a series of soothing rooms, including the far-infrared heated jade room, a clay room, a Himalayan salt cave, a green tea Jacuzzi, a eucalyptus steam room, and an ice room.
The full-service spa is owned by Niki Schwarz, a reiki master, and her husband, an orthopedic surgeon. The property, which boasts a minimalist interior, decorated in chocolate brown and white, offers therapeutic massage, body wraps, acupuncture, skin-care services such as hydrafacials with diamond microdermabrasion, and waxing.
One of the spa’s signature services is the Tikkun Signature Jade Facial, a deep-exfoliating treatment that incorporates a facial massage to assist lymphatic drainage, and a volcanic ash mask.
There is also a women’s facility enhanced by sea fossil steam, clay sauna and a large soaking pool infused with green tea. And the romantic couple’s suite is a retreat within a retreat, designed as a sanctuary for couples or friends.
After a couple magical hours at Tikkun, I met a friend for dinner at Sushi Roku on Ocean Blvd. Using fresh fish from around the globe, Sushi Roku is a pioneer of contemporary sushi and a “must-dine” restaurant in Santa Monica. The exciting menu at Sushi Roku incorporating diverse, non-traditional ingredients from California’s eclectic culinary vocabulary, such as jalapeños and avocados, and Europe, such as olive oil.
Our meal began with a tasty seaweed salad with cucumber sunomono, along with a bowl of miso soup. Next we tried a delicious tuna flight, with three styles of Nigiri sushi, served with fresh wasabi root and homemade soy sauce.
We then sample seared albacore sashimi with crispy onions and garlic ponzu, followed by one of my new favorites: Toro sashimi, which is tuna belly. We then devoured a Katana Roll, with spicy tuna, shrimp tempura and yellowtail tuna. We concluded our dinner with mackerel sashimi and the Roku Signature Style Sushi in which the master sushi chef created for us on the spot a scrumptious 8-piece fish sample plate.
While eating we sipped Japanese beer and sake and chatted with the chef, who created colorful dishes before our eyes and told us about all the fresh fish laying in front of us at the sushi bar.
Tikkun Spa is located at 1460 4th Street, Santa Monica, 90401. For more information and to make an appointment, call (310) 319-1111 or visit http://www.tikkunspa.com. Sushi Roku is located at 1401 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 90401. For more information and reservations, call (310) 458-4771 or visit: www.innovativedining.com/restaurants/sushiroku.
-Photo by Greg Aragon