Welcome Back Travels with Journey: A Lab in Luxury



You could say he’s spoiled. Or you could say so are we. You’re right. Living the life with a Lab in Luxury can only happen at the posh and prestigious San Ysidro Ranch. No one does it better than Ty Warner. Where in the world can you experience a couples massage while your dog stretches out on your private terrace  and gets one too.

LuxEcoLiving- photo credit- thank you to Peter for his healing hands. Journey loved his special massage




Nestled in the lushness of Montecito in Santa Barbara California you enter THE RANCH in what has become known as a private 500 acre reserve. Dating back in history, the natural surrounds; trees laden with fresh citrus, the smell of a wood burning fireplace, the melodic pulsations of frogs at twilight and dawn…. all of these accompaniments take you back to a time when life for the very wealthy (the Kennedy’s honeymooned here) was well preserved.


Queen Elizabeth needs to take her entire brood of Welsh Corgi’s for a visit. They would love it and so would she. Not a bad idea for another Beanie! Triplets in this case with a free collectible SYR tea cup and saucer.


The New Valmont Spa at the San Ysidro Ranch

                A Healing Nest. It’s a great idea! You check into your cottage, put on your robe and slippers, call the front desk and within less than 2 minutes you’re jettisoned to one of the most charming cottages on the property.

The soft palate of an artists creation rendered the walls with the branches and birds that are common to the area. The sweet smells from an array of aromatherapy oils, a new signature product of the spa, greet your senses with an immediate feeling of relaxation. And within only a few feet down a corridor you are welcomed by two well trained therapists, (mine was Nomi and Jim’s was Pamela) who offer you the chance of serenity and togetherness in a space that you never want to leave. The warm water from the large soaking tub, turns colors of the rainbow into a primordial blessing. You soak in deep relaxation and undisturbed with only the sound of  champagne bubbles (complimentary for guests experiencing a couples massage) luring you into the “mood” for a celebration. Together, you put aside the familiarity of your everyday lives and get lost in the warm glow of this haven and heavenly retreat. Both therapists were fantastic. So warm and welcoming. We left the nest begrudgingly and wanting more.



With Valmont You See Miraculous Results

“Sophie Guillon, the companies co-founder has dedicated her life to creating products that restore the skins natural ability to illuminate. Without cosmetic surgery or fillers, a Valmont facial with a trained aesthetician taught to use a special butterfly technique which helps to restore the natural collagen and boosts the need for plumpness which adds a youthful appearance and the best part about it… is it lasts!  Valmont drew its inspiration from the butterfly; a symbol of metamorphosis, beauty, grace and lightness. This motion targets precise areas of the chest, neck and face and also boosts the microcirculation and promotes lymphatic exchanges allowing for the elimination of toxins thereby making the skin more receptive to the treatment. Melinda provided the signature technique and I was thrilled with the results.” A 90 minute facial is what I recommend. It includes a very relaxing partial body massage but the emphasis is on the face and neck. More about the treatment here.

Valmont’s origins are derived and developed in Switzerland. The company thrives in a very unique way. It has encapsulated products that rival the 4 aggravating factors of cutaneous aging; Hydration, Energy, Firmness, and Radiance.

Valmont is one of the leading cosmetic companies in the world. For most women and some men, Valmont is a religion. It is the most essential time piece, ritual, and anti-aging program that does reverse the inevitable signs of aging from all skin types, naturally.

I had a chance to speak with one of its founders, Sophie Vann Guillon during my recent stay at Le Meurice in Paris. I am delighted to share this information knowing guests who check into The San Ysidro Ranch will have the same opportunity in the privacy of their stay. This is truly an experience not to missed.


For me, the Eucalyptus Cottage with its fabulous hand painted bath tub and soaring ceiling, in-cottage dining at your finger tips… and more… the warmth and amber glow from the fireplace while relaxed in the magnificent 4-poster bed… the sound of the frogs…. but best of all… the look of contentment on your beloved dogs face makes this one of the best vacations of your lives. Togetherness has a new meaning…just three of us and it’s darn swell.


Editors’s Notes: Tell them Journey sent you.

The San Ysidro Ranch

Set on 500 acres, this upscale boutique hotel dates to 1893. It’s just off Highway 101, a 6.1-mile drive from Santa Barbara.
Address: 900 San Ysidro Ln, Santa Barbara, CA 93108