It's funny that something supposedly trivial like a good day spa could do so much to define my LA experience thus far, and yet I find myself drawn to this place for so many reasons.
My initial experiences with Gabe and Everardo were phenomenal. Between the two I've had massages, facials, and body scrubs, and without a doubt the best (and not the most expensive) I've had. More recently I've availed myself of the services of Jon Delaney, and again had such a good experience; it's starting to make me think that the owner, the ever-charming Topper Schroeder, must grab massage and aesthetician school valedictorians somewhere between their gown fittings and the stage.
Bottom line: There's no weak link in the chain. The front desk is staffed by Noel and Nancy, each of whom have great personalities and welcoming energy. Michael and Topper, two of the owners who are most often present, know everyone by name by their second visit, and treat all like guests in their home. The services are provided by the best of the best. I came out of my facial appointment feeling aglow, only to see my friend coming out of his hair appointment with Chris looking outstanding. We then grabbed a glass of wine with a few other patrons on the back patio (practically a Gendarmerie tradition) and relaxed for two hours before going out into the nitty gritty city.
I realized how awesome this place is the other day when I had a bad telephone interview, was in a foul mood, went for a walk, and ended up here. Didn't go to a friend's place, didn't grab a drink at a bar, and didn't call my therapist. I stopped in at the Gendarmerie, got a hug and a glass of Pinot Grigio, made an appointment for a much-needed massage, and left feeling better.
Discovering this place literally caused me to renegotiate my feelings about living in LA. Go there. Get a massage. Tip well. And feel connected to a refuge in a city that makes you feel, frankly, like you need one.