GP Deva Wellness Spa & Boutique (East West Magazine)

You won’t find too many spas in caves. The thought of stalactites and bats hanging around is enough to kill any desire to relax.

But on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, there sits a spa in a cave, albeit a faux cave made out of Styrofoam, which is all about Zen and the art of relaxation. And while the spa’s signature treatment —the 150-minute full-body Yang Qi Dao Zen Massage — costs $1,000, there are other menu options that are lighter on the wallet.

Who: GP Deva Wellness Spa and Boutique, 413 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, (310) 858-6545(310) 858-6545, http://www.gpdevausa.com.

The spa’s name is an abbreviation of the Sanskrit phrase “Gandha Puspa Deva,” which translates into “millions of angels scattering pure essence of flowers from heaven to earth,” says John Chou, general manager and a Forshang Buddhist monk.

Design: The spacious treatment cave is sectioned into three zones for massage, tea with your therapist, and Buddha worship (there’s a shrine). Designed to duplicate the “the most tranquil and the purest energy fields of the universe,” the Styrofoam cave is odd, like being on a “Star Trek” set, yet still relaxing. The boutique also houses a 12-foot-tall, two-pyramid structure, which locals stand near for its ancient healing properties.

Treatment: GP Deva therapists have more than 10 years of training before they are allowed to touch a client. Therapist “Luck” was worth the wait. Her small healer hands moved with gentle yet effective precision. The exclusive Zen technique uses the ancient Chinese meridian systems (aka, chi) and strives to be a “dance between two souls led by nature.” This is a private spa – only one client at a time.

Made in Taiwan: The spa’s top-of-the-line essential oils capture and transfer the regenerative energy of plants. And after my treatment, I wanted to plant myself into fresh soil and just grow again. The luxurious products, all made in Taiwan by Forshang Buddhists, are said to heal diseases and chronic conditions for men and women.

The spa also carries teas, fine totemic jewelry, sunscreen and a lower-priced essential oil line called Eddy, which outside of GP Deva is only available in Asia.

It takes a village: All proceeds from GP Deva spas (additional locations in Tokyo and Taiwan) go to the Forshang Shangri-La, a pilot utopian city in Taiwan, and a number of charities. Each staff member is paid the same salary from founder to therapist.

Enlightened: Celebs like Demi Moore, Ray Romano, Ming-Na and Paula Abdul have visited GP Deva, and I’d visit again if my bank balance shows healthy plant-like growth in the near future.

June/July 2006
By Jennifer Kim

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