The Ranch, Malibu
California’s original boot camp is a working ranch nestled in 200 acres of sun-bleached mountains – and it’s where the well-heeled go to get fit. The experience is literally breath-taking: you’ll hike for hours each day, fuelled by small quantities of almonds, before retreating to the open-air kitchen for a plant-based supper, and finally to your calm, whitewashed cottage to pass out. Never mind the exhaustion – you’ll return home lean, tanned and feeling fabulous.
At 12,220 Cotharin Road, CA 90265. (+1 310 457 8700; theranchmalibu.com)
Known by aficionados simply as ‘The Door’, this golden-gated 600-acre sanctuary is where A-listers and mortals alike have been coming to reset since 1958 (Zsa Zsa Gabor and Barbra Streisand were regulars). It’s full of Far Eastern promise, from the Japanese gardens to the elegant accommodation with its sliding screens, cotton kimonos and beautiful calorie-controlled bento boxes. You’ll be kept busy with hiking, stretching, cookery classes, watsu and personal training, and you’ll leave pounds lighter, with your head noticeably clearer.
At 777 Deer Springs Road, CA 92069. (+1 760 761 4144; goldendoor.com)
Esalen is the real, soul-finding deal, popular with spiritual thinkers, Silicon Valley tycoons and Hollywood stars suffering from burnout (even Don Draper wound up here in the Mad Men finale). The Point Houses, with redwood decks where you can watch migrating whales and the crashing waves, are calm and sheltered – though true enlightenment is found through canyon hikes, group therapy and naked hot-spring baths.
At 55,000 CA-1, CA 93920. (+1 888 837 2536; esalen.org)
Ventana Big Sur
Big Sur has long been a refuge for writers, artists and musicians, and this mountain hideaway is a glamorous place to soak up the magic. Sound healing, charcoal drawing and photography hikes are an immersive way to connect with nature – as are the treetop suites. Otherwise, bed down in a Redwood Canyon tent, where you can marvel at the great outdoors from around the fire pit (or the comfort of your bed).
At 48,123 CA-1, CA 93920. (+1 831 667 2331; ventanabigsur.com)
The best LA hair and beauty salons
Drybar is the Starbucks of blow-dries, and our favourite outpost in LA is on sunny Sunset Boulevard. White and bright, with jolts of egg-yolk yellow, it’s a happy place for hair, with a comprehensive list of styles – from beachy waves to Manhattan straight – on offer. Bookings are via the app, the prosecco flows, and the staff are perky. Even those with the most high-maintenance manes will be impressed.
At 8,595 Sunset Boulevard, CA 90069. (+1 323 843 4777; thedrybar.com)
With its coral-pink awnings and glossy interiors, Blushington is as pretty as the services it offers. Locals drop in for expertly done make-up applications using industry-favourite brands such as Kevyn Aucoin and Laura Mercier – and there’s a menu of looks to pick from (such as Red Carpet Ready, Teen Makeup or Eyes Only). Lash extensions and brow tidies can be added to the appointment – and there is even a grooming service for men.
At 8,591 Sunset Boulevard, CA 90069. (+1 310 652 5874; blushington.com)
This chic, all-white clinic has been polishing the complexions of Hollywood stars since 1972. But don’t go along expecting an old-fashioned cleanse, tone and moisturise: its Signature Facial is a punchy, results-driven regime that guarantees to leave skin gleaming. The extractions are thorough, the products (such as vitamin C-soaked strips of gauze) hard-working – but the pièce de -résistance is a S&M-style leather ‘mask’ which emits a galvanic current to firm the skin.
At 8,701 Santa Monica Boulevard, CA 90069. (+1 310 855 1150; faceplace.com)
NYC skincare studio Heyday opened in an industrial-chic West Hollywood space last summer, and Angelenos can’t get enough of its fuss-free facials. The 30-minute appointments promise glowing skin in a flash; the 75-minute extravaganzas are great when there’s work to be done – better still, the aesthetician-led treatments are utterly bespoke, with deep cleaning and meticulous extractions. Its membership scheme (offering monthly facials and discounts) is wildly popular. At 7,228 Beverly Boulevard, CA 90036. (+1 310 733 3935; heydayskincare.com)
Brentwood locals go crazy for this all-natural nail salon which delivers immaculate manis and pedis using its own brand of nontoxic polish. In fact, everything – from the sterilising equipment to the paint on the macramé-covered walls – is chemical-free (even the free-flowing rosé is organic). New is the healing crystal pedicure, which includes a foot soak in rose quartz-infused water and a labradorite massage.
At 11,714 San Vicente Boulevard, CA 90049. (+1 310 820 0906; coteshop.co)
The best LA gyms
The Class by Taryn Toomey
Taryn Toomey’s mat-based class has a cult following. It’s best described as functional movement meets therapy (muscle-quivering poses are followed by moments where you’re encouraged to shout and let go of pent-up emotions. Beware: weeping isn’t unusual). Cardio, yoga, express and even sweat-free classes are on offer, each as highly charged as the last. A stronger body – and a more resilient mind – await.
At 11,606 San Vicente Boulevard, CA 90049. (+1 646 850 0937; taryntoomey.com)
Tracy Anderson’s Brentwood studio is a celebrity bottleneck. Gwyneth and Brad are regulars, and Alessandra Ambrosio often rocks up to her 9am dance class, where devotees master fast-paced, waist-whittling routines. You’ll sweat profusely for 50 minutes (the studio is fitted with humidifiers, so book a blowdry for afterwards) – but the energy is infectious.
At 11,918 San Vicente Boulevard, CA 90049. (+1 310 207 5212; tracyanderson.com)
Beverly Hills’ best Pilates flies under the radar thanks to its private studio. The group reformer classes will challenge your stability and hone a core of steel, but for a posture-correcting, joint-mobilising workout, book in for a one-on-one session of Gyrotonics.
At 11,638 Barrington Court, CA 90049. (+1 310 208 0724; naturalpilates.com)
In a dimly lit studio with pounding music, Burn 60 might just be Brentwood’s most brutal workout. You’ll sprint on treadmills, hold planks until your arms turn to jelly and lift seriously heavy weights, over and over, while trainers shout from the sidelines. Excellent for when you’re feeling lazy.
At 159 S Barrington Place, CA 90049. (+1 310 476 5656; burn60.com)
LA’s foremost ‘urban sweat lodge’ promises to burn 1,600 calories in a 55-minute session. Though there’s no exercise involved – instead regulars (including Demi Moore and Selena Gomez) wriggle into sleeping bags heated by infrared to 158 degrees fahrenheit, in front of individual Netflix-playing screens, and simply sweat. It’s an utterly relaxing, metabolism-increasing, sleep-improving marvel.
At 653 N Robertson Boulevard, CA 90069. (+1 855 567 2346; shapehouse.com)