These days, Los Angeles spa visitors want all the perks the spa has to offer, but they want to be entertained while they relax. Enter spa parties. Visitors are still escaping to the spa, but they’re taking their friends and family with them for a truly social spa experience.

Imagine getting pampered with group pedicures or relaxing together with “healing touch” massages. Or simply getting to catch up on each other’s lives — not among clanking cups and tense business conversations at the local coffee shop, but within the tranquil haven of a Los Angeles spa.

This wasn’t always possible. A decade ago, a spa functioned primarily as an oasis of peace and solitude. It was a temporary vacation from the hustle and bustle, a quick getaway to relieve stress.

Spas induced meditative states of relaxation, a by-product of calming treatments — Swedish massages, saunas, salt baths, Champagne facials. They were trying to provide complete bliss and looked at isolation and seclusion as answers.

Now, spa patrons are looking to reach those peaceful states with friends, using spa time to relax and bond with each other. In other words, they're looking for a party.

Los Angeles hotel spas are often the setting for spa parties. The spa at Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, for example, has organized parties for groups as few as five to as many as 100. Events range from bachelorette and birthday parties to corporate meetings and wedding receptions. Many parties are simply an alternative to going out to a club or bar.

Spa party coordinators help you plan your spa party, running through a list of services you might want. Corporate companies have chosen shoulder and neck massages from Equinox Spa at Century City, the spa for the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. Some spa parties have gone with a facials theme, choosing different treatments from the spa menu, from age-defying facials to clear-complexion facials. And others have focused on energy balancing with Thai massage or hot stone therapy.

Be Well Incorporated organizes spa parties for Los Angeles hotels such as the Hilton Checkers Los Angeles, often providing out-of-the-ordinary twists. In the past, Be Well PartiesTM have offered yoga, meditation, belly dancing, Pilates, tai chi and more. The main focus: to use social interaction as a way to relax.

“We’re looking to integrate wellness into daily life,” says Carrie Reinagel, owner of Be Well Incorporated. “Traditionally, food and drinking have been the away to get together, but a spa party is a healthy way to reconnect with people.”

More and more, visitors are embracing the idea of having a social haven, knowing that being social is often a way of being healthy. In a city like Los Angeles, it’s a philosophy that fits like a glove.

So when did the spa party trend begin to catch on? “Probably back with the Greeks,” Reinagel laughs.

In fact, she’s right on the money. The spa party isn’t so different from the basic concept of ancient spas. Social baths appeared as early as 500 B.C. Even then, the primary focus of spas was health and wellness. Over the years, the baths became an entertainment complex where citizens could relax, recharge and socialize — much like today's spa parties.

In many ways, the spa has come full circle, getting back to its social origins. In Los Angeles, it’s the new, healthy way to relax, have fun and party.