Northern California's Sonoma County, an hour north of San Francisco, is becoming known as Napa's more relaxed sister. Sonoma offers lovely inns, picturesque wineries, terrific restaurants, and more (including the unique Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary).
Here on luxurytravel.about.com, let me communicate my passion for Sonoma.
• Why you must visit Sonoma, and great places to stay
• Sonoma's 10 best farm-to-table and ocean-to-plate restaurants
• Sonoma's 11 best wineries for tours and tastings
Another Reason to Visit Sonoma: Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, Northern California’s Most Zen Spa
Osmosis is an extraordinary day spa in northern California's Sonoma County -- and one of the best spas anywhere.
Location of Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
This spa oasis is nestled in the hamlet of Freestone in southern Sonoma County.
• Freestone is an hour and a quarter’s drive from San Francisco
• And a 20-minute drive from Sonoma's wild Pacific coast
Japanese Mood of Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
When you're at this Zen-inspired retreat, you're in the Land of the Rising Sun. The five-acre spa is continually groomed to look and feel purely Japanese.
• Think: Zen gardens, pagodas, koi pond, bamboo groves
• Since 1985, Osmosis has been guided by founder Michael Stusser, who
studied Zen Buddhism and landscape gardening in Kyoto
Style of Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary blends the best of Eastern and Western spa traditions.
• This adults-only spa is full-service, focusing on massages, facials, and healing baths
• You'll find classic therapies like deep-tissue massage, but also East-West treatments like meridian massage
• This spa is consistently high-end, with expert aestheticians
• Prices tend to be lower than Sonoma County resort spas
• Services can be performed in tranquil indoor treatment rooms or in a private pagoda
• A pair of couples' suites are reserved for twosomes
• Spa menu and spa packages
Waterless Cedar Enzyme Baths, the Signature of Osmosis
Get ready for something really different and blissful: Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary's signature offering, exclusive in North America, cedar enzyme baths.
• The bath is adapted from an age-old folk remedy at Japanese onsen springs
• The experience is for one or two, and takes place in a handcrafted wooden tub the size of a queen bed
• You immerse yourself in the tub, filled with a fragrant, velvety-soft blend of powdered evergreen wood and rice bran
• The mixture is above body temperature and conforms to your contours, feeling like a total body caress
• Living enzymes within the mixture create the heat and stimulate metabolic activity and healing: muscles, joints, circulation, digestion, skin, stress
• The cedar enzyme bath is followed by a body brushing
Osmosis’ Top-of-the-Line, Day-Long Service
Osmosis's ultimate indulgence is The Ritual, a dreamy, multi-stage treatment in the $500 range. It delivers five-and-a-half hours of mind-body healing via:
* A ceremonial tea service
• Cedar enzyme bath
• Box lunch
• 75-minute customized massage
• Half hour of hammock rest to calming, meditative music
• 75-minute facial
• Made-for-you massage oil to take home
Where to Stay Before or After Your Day at Osmosis
Osmosis does not offer overnight guest rooms. But within a half-hour drive are these refined Sonoma inns, all profiled here on Luxury Travel. (The inns with an * asterisk are Osmosis hotel partners that offer special lodging packages to spa clients.
Explore the Village of Freestone on Your Visit to Osmosis
Within walking distance of Osmosis, the historic hamlet of Freestone delights visitors with signature shops such as:
• Wild Flour Bread, a cult bakery whose wood-fired brick oven finesses bread and pastry
• Freestone Artisan Cheese, bursting with local and international fromage, charcuterie, and kitchen items
• One of Sonoma County's most inviting tasting rooms, Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards
Find Out More About Osmosis
As is common in the travel industry, the Guest Author was provided with a complimentary visit for the purpose of describing the spa. For details, see our site's Ethics Policy.