What’s New & Great in Los Angeles
Los Angeles, you may have heard, is having a renaissance. We’re not talking about an art renaissance. Or a snout-to-tail restaurant renaissance. Or a cute boutique hotel renaissance. We’re talking capital R Renaissance: the all of the above kind. While many of us were focusing on new bistros in Paris or great music in Nashville, Los Angeles, quietly, stealthily, redefined itself. And a groundswell of cool has taken over. As more East Coasters move out here, they’re bringing their beloved NYC institutions with them (looking at you, Employees Only and Apotheke), and those places are standing cheek by jowl next to true Los Angeles institutions: Botanica, Mh Zh, and the latest from the couple behind Bestia, Bavel. And in a city known for old-school, over-the-top hotels, there’s a new crop of contenders forcing the old-timers to step up their game. Speaking of old-timers: We’re also giving much love to the long-standing favorites that we missed in the past. Make no mistake: The Los Angeles you know is still there. It’s just cooler and tastier, and it comes with a whole lot more chutzpah. (For all of our neighborhood- and personality-driven guides, see here.)
Alchemie Spa2021 Main St., Santa Monica | 310.310.8880
The space is an eco-haven, designed with renewable, sustainable flourishes (the walls are made of cork, seagrass, and recycled wood)—and the facials are healing, pampering, and just: beyond. The Custom Superfood Facial floods skin with nutrients from tamarind, acai, turmeric, and manuka honey, while the Enlightening Ormus treatment’s miracle trifecta of microcurrent, LED light, and nurturing essential oil blends thoroughly revives skin.
Andy Lecompte Salon616 North Almont Dr., West Hollywood | 310.273.4100
As buzzy hair salons go, Andy Lecompte stands out for its fun, laid-back vibe. Most people know the salon for its stylists and colorists but you can also get a mani/pedi, threading, or a makeup touch-up while you’re there. (Ask for an iced coffee while you wait—they are surprisingly good.) We try to get in for a cut with Leanne Citrone when we can. She’s a co-owner of the salon with Lecompte. Citrone has a good eye for fixing cuts gone wrong or grown out, and she's great at coming up with a style that suits you. But she also listens, so you won’t get quietly bullied into something you don’t want. She’s warm and funny and cuts with her go by faster than we’d like. If you’re going in for a treatment later in the day, plan to meet friends and grab a drink or dinner at Gracias Madre around the corner.
CorePower11819 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood | 323.545.9642
There’s no doubt that the familiar forms of yoga, like Ashtanga and Jivamukti, can be incredibly rigorous, but typically we associate yoga with feelings of calm. CorePower combines the stretchy, lengthening magic of yoga with the strength-building power of weights. The studios are kept warm to help loosen up stiff joints, and the upbeat teachers make keeping up easy (or at least easier). Wear fitted, sweat-wicking workout gear if you have it—the combination of free weights downward dog breaks a steady sweat.
Erika Bloom Pilates LA11611 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood | 212.288.3410
Erika Bloom Pilates has finally ventured west (until now, it was just New York and Connecticut that got to sculpt and tone with the best in the business), taking up residency in Brentwood. The open space is flooded with natural light, making it a relaxing and—oh yes, we’re going to go there—fun workout. The studio’s knowledgeable staff curates personalized routines that borrow from Pilates, yoga, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, and weight training. There are also programs for pre- and postnatal women, osteoporosis, injury prevention, acupuncture, bodywork, and holistic health consulting.
HotBox835 S. Hill St., Downtown | 213.628.3221
The first thing you'll notice when you walk into this sauna studio is how spotless it is. Impeccable, in fact. That can be said of the décor, as well: A streamlined, all-white aesthetic reigns—up until you enter one of the sauna suites. Here, you can choose to cast a colored light based on your mood (we chose orange for its mood elevating, stimulating, feel-good effect) during your sweat. Then you sit back and do just that—sweat—for forty-five minutes. Each suite comes with an iPod and a vitamin C–infused rain shower. Given the benefits of using an infrared sauna, there are plenty of reasons to come here. But what keeps us hooked is simple: We always leave feeling calmer, clearer, and just all-around better. (An added perk: HotBox just started carrying goopglow.)
Knockout LA177 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey | 310.927.7257
New spots continue to pop up in Playa del Rey, the beach neighborhood just south of Venice and Marina del Rey. One of the openings Westsiders are excited about most is Knockout LA, a fitness studio on the increasingly busy stretch of Culver Boulevard right in town. Knockout’s core class offerings are dance, yoga, meditation, and breathwork. There’s also a series of rotating workshops, like Disruption. Taught by Erin Ward (who also does Taryn Toomey’s The Class), Disruption is a feel-good mashup of everything you’ll find at Knockout—plus it manages to weave in a few minutes of writing as a form of emotional release. (Go with it: It works.) The front of Knockout is a pretty, curated beauty/wellness/workshop, so bring your wallet with you if you want to shop after om. The studio space itself is one long room that’s lit up by a wall of inset candles.
Loom5259 W Pico Blvd., | 323.413.2404
Loom is doula Erica Chidi Cohen’s home base in LA for women and families in every stage of their journey—thinking about conceiving, struggling, expecting, parenting, and everything in between. During the Roadmap class, you’ll learn more about the menstrual cycle and reproductive health than years of sex ed and Google searches could teach you. Baby Care Basics is a giant parents-to-be chill pill in the form of a two-hour class covering everything—diapering, sleeping, swaddling, all of it. After the baby is born, there’s baby massage, parents-and-me playgroups, feeding support, and so much more. Sessions with Cohen should be mandatory for body, sex, and overall wellness positivity, plus she—and every therapist, doula, lactation expert that works at Loom—is just so cool. The adorable, pastel-and-wood space hosts special events, talks, and drop-in playgroups regularly. (If you happen to be a new mother and can’t catch Coehn in person, check out her book, Nurture.)
Love Yoga835 Lincoln Blvd., Venice
We're big fans of this Montauk studio, so we were thrilled when it opened a second beach-town location—on the West Coast. Yoga directors Kyle Miller and Sian Gordon have converted their Lincoln Boulevard space into an airy paradise that smells more like white sage and Diptyque candles than a sweaty yoga studio. The aesthetic matches the beachy interiors of the Montauk space, with white walls, teal floors, and geometric neon wall murals by local artist Carly Margolis. While the studio interior has obvious appeal, the teaching is what really shines. The overall vibe is laid-back—no heat, no mirrors, and definitely no weights—with a meditation and healthy Savasana built into every class. And while clear direction and game-changing adjustments will make seventy-five minutes go by extraordinarily fast, there’s nothing about this that’s easy: Expect to sweat (a lot) and to feel it the next day.
Los Angeles Yoga Club1206 Maple Ave., Downtown | 323.977.4777
The Los Angeles Yoga Club is a traditional Ashtanga yoga school that follows the teachings of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (an Indian yogi and Sanskrit scholar who’s credited with bringing Ashtanga into the mainstream). A sister school to Eddie Stern’s Brooklyn Yoga Club, the aim is to assist students in the development of their personal practice, with the disclaimer that it’s within a class setting. This sounds unusual, but it works in the sense that yogis take the asanas at their own speed, and the focus is on personal form and ability rather than keeping up with everyone else. This type of self-practice has all—or at least most—of the benefits of a one-to-one class minus the price tag.
ModelFIT Los Angeles8067 W 3rd St., West Hollywood | 323.852.3480
On a pedestrian-friendly stretch of West 3rd in WeHo, ModelFIT relies on small movements using hand weights, a resistance band, gliders, and mini exercise balls to target small muscle groups as opposed to more traditional jump squats, burpees, etc., in a bright, light-filled space. Among the best classes: ModelFIT Scuplt, which targets butt, thighs, and abs, and a dance-cardio version, featuring follow-along dance moves. A bonus? After class, fuel up with lunch at nearby Sweetfin Poké or Sweetgreen.
Natural Pilates2894 Rowena Ave., Silverlake | 323.522.6108
Natural Pilates may seem mild, fairly easy, and somewhat gentle. Do not be fooled. In the hour-long class of small, subtle movements and dynamic stretching on the Reformer, you may hardly break a sweat, but your muscles will be aching for days afterward. The space is small, with eight Reformers in a sparkly clean, functional studio. Individual sessions are also available, and classes are at convenient times—like the popular 7 a.m., which means you can exercise and still make it to work on time.
Plumb Line1913 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica | 310.453.2369
Allison Oswald wants to help women feel better. As a physical therapist, a board-certified women’s clinical specialist, and certified Pilates instructor, she’s uniquely equipped to take on that task. Many of her clients find their way to her bright, whitewashed studio with pelvic health issues, often during the postpartum period. She works with clients one-on-one and for as long as it takes to get them feeling confident and pain-free. Once they feel up to it, she—or one of Plumb Line’s excellent instructors—may suggest clients keep up their work with a Pilates regimen.
Sauna Bar11677 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood | 310.652.5522
Cleanse, decompress, or boost your immune system. Whatever your wellness goal may be, the Sauna Bar acts as a sort of one-stop rejuvenation shop. As the name suggests, the infrared sauna pods (they’re lined with jade crystals to double the healing and infrared effects) are the main draw. The lymphatic compression massage and a unique Magnesphere machine, which aims to improve your balance and sleep by way of deep relaxation, are so very worth exploring.
Shorty Yoga333½ South Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills | 424.646.3330
Kids are tiny balls of energy. Yoga burns energy. Put the two together and you have Shorty Yoga. Picking the right class is blessedly easy. There are three: one for preschoolers, one for elementary-school-aged kids and up, and one called Mamastay, for the under-two set and their caretakers. The space is cute but not cutesy, meaning that you won’t mind hanging out while your child is busy learning simple positions, dancing, and letting loose. (La Colombe coffee and free Wi-Fi also help.)
Speir Pilates427 7th St., Santa Monica | 310.260.4808
With only nine Reformer beds, classes at this beloved Pilates studio are small—which means plenty of attention from instructors despite the fact that classes are almost always fully booked. The space is sun-soaked and tranquil; the only wall not filled with mirrors or windows displays a white neon sign that aptly reads “sweat + good vibes.” Andrea Speir teaches many of the classes herself; they vary in purpose and intensity but all share the same challenging but gentle ethos (and heart-rate-upping playlists). Every instructor here is great, but we love Kit’s early morning cardio class prework, and Dane’s evening barre class if you require some extra motivation to push yourself after a long day. Also note: There’s usually plenty of free street parking before 8 a.m., and at any other time, you can park into the public garage underneath the Santa Monica Public Library a block away. For one-on-one instruction, book time at the private studio a couple of doors down.
Take Care41 Perry St., West Village | 212.677.2717
Sadie Adams’s unique therapeutic approach is designed to help clients tease energy and vitality out from within. Her technique stems from her studies in anatomy at the School for Body-Mind Centering and in Ayurveda and yoga therapy at the Ayurvedic Institute. She founded Take Care Face & Body in New York City and recently opened a second location, Take Care Center for Body Mind Regeneration, in Santa Monica. Adams combines science, ancient wisdom, and intuitive awareness to support physical and spiritual healing. Her therapies include microcurrent facials, a restorative therapy that stimulates marma points on your face, promoting deep relaxation and healing throughout your entire body.
The Wall730 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City | 323.745.0031
As the metaphor of its name suggests, the Wall is for anyone looking to break through her own individual physical boundaries. The Wall helps you do this by way of high-intensity interval training full-body workouts, paired with great motivating music. If you’re intimidated, don’t be: The staff is trained to keep everyone’s particular workout history in mind, guiding you through every step and making sure your movements and posture are in line. The signature classes combine core exercises with circuit training and indoor cycling, all set in a sleek and chic atmosphere.
Vie Healing360 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills | 310.927.3097
Acupuncturist Mona Dan runs her own spa in Beverly Hills, and we hear she’s opening another location in West Hollywood. You can see her for a single acupuncture session or buy a pack of five or ten sessions. Clients also come to Vie Healing for bodywork—massage, cupping, Reiki—and the rejuvenating variations of peels and facials. You can also sometimes catch intuitive energy healer and Reiki master Kelsey Patel if she’s in town.
WMN Space10764 Washington Blvd., Culver City | 310.570.9492
This all-ladies clubhouse is welcoming (to women) and airy, perfect for healing, supporting, and learning from other women. If you’re imagining the stodgy members-only clubs of yore, don’t. WMN is deliberately unfussy. Founded by doula Paula Mallis, WMN Space offers everything from pre- and postnatal workshops, to meditation and movement classes, to full-moon circles. The roster of in-house specialists includes a vaginapractor (if you’re not familiar, it’s essentially a chiropractor for your vagina), healers, hypnotists, as well as talk and body therapists.
Y7 Silver Lake4300 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
It’s hot and dark, and it can get crowded—but honestly, the more the merrier. Thanks to a booming soundtrack of Drake and 2 Chainz and the only light coming from candles, you can neither hear or see other yogis. It sounds a bit corny, but we’re saying it anyway: Y7 makes exercise fun. The beats, the upbeat teachers hollering encouragement, the lack of forced-upon-you Zen mean that an hour flies by. Prepare for a serious sweat and stretch, with a side of convenience. Mats and towels are available for rent at the desk, the lockers are the combination kind, meaning you don’t need to come prepared with a lock, and there are several showers (as well as deodorant, face wipes, and hair ties to freshen up) on the premises.