Japan is one of the most eye-opening destinations in our travels. I still remember the very first time I set foot into a simple ryokan onsen or the “kon’banwa” that I hear when I get back to sleep at my hotel all the way to my first time stepping on board to the most amazing hospitality service from its First Class airline…. Japan is an omotenashi experience that you cannot get anywhere else in the world.
Until Tomoko Spa came along.
Tomoko Spa is an ultra-luxe spa sanctuary that’s hidden in the heart of Beverly Hills. It’s a transformative place that will take you 5000+ miles away to an imaginative place in Japan.
Our chauffeur to Tomoko is courtesy of the Waldorf Astoria hotel.
The entrance to this place is very unassuming. Like a speakeasy vibe, you can easily pass by it without even noticing.
From the moment you step into Tomoko, you can’t help but feel relaxed in the setting. The simple design, the way they take your shoes in exchange for slippers, and the way they escort you into the fireplace all lulls you into the most oriental state of mind.
A hot towel is presented to us as we wait for our tea to be poured. Man, I wish I can have this feeling every weekend…
In a kind soft Japanese accent as she places a dark chocolate piece by our side…
This is genmaicha made with organic brown rice
My pulse slows…
My breath deepens…
My soul relaxes…
Let’s do this. My body is ready for this spa.
The treatment room is of complete privacy in where it offers a shower, tub, couple’s massage tables, and a traditional tatami area for dinner.
Another pair of Japanese masseuses enters the room and pours us a pot of organic ginger tea. The details in their gestures are immaculate. From the way they hold the iron pot… to how they gently pour the tea… to how they use both hands to present the drink all makes us forget that we’re in the city of Los Angeles.
As we sip our ginger tea, the treatment begins with a foot soak and reflexology massage.
Afterwards, we’re asked to undress and lie on the massage tables. Miki by this time is already almost asleep. She’s probably dreaming about her 5-star breakfast in Osaka.
Then follows an hour of blissful Swedish and Hot Stone massages.
And a rated-R onsen couple’s bath that’s obviously private and not in pictures 😉
After we dress back in our kimonos, we press a button and our Japanese host welcomes us back and starts to prepare our sushi dinner from Sugarfish Beverly Hills.
Like Japan, the detail presentation of the sushi and Japanese delicacies are flawless.
Almost too pretty to eat.
All in all, the whole experience was about 3-4 hours long. It is one of the most indulgent things we’ve ever done in terms of getting a massage. For a spa, the prices for this is extremely steep where the full “Japanese Experience” for couples can range from $690-$1040 USD
My one & only complaint is that this place still asks for gratuity after the treatment. For a place that prides itself on transporting you to Japan, the experience should feel like Asia from beginning to end. And to me, gratuity included is part of that important essence in keeping that feeling alive. Simply put, it doesn’t feel like Japan anymore if I’m trying to calculate 18%-20% of the treatment cost.
That aside, Tomoko Spa is an amazing transformative experience. It’s more than a massage… it’s a zen journey. It’s a perfect escape 5000+ miles across Pacific Ocean.
Yes it is expensive. But hey if you look at the bigger picture, it’s cheaper than a round-trip flight to Japan. And yes, jet-lag is thankfully not included.