Beverly Hot Springs -- Hollywood's spa of choice for celebrities like Madonna and Brooke Shields

By Nina Malkin
Updated October 30, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

Where do real-life players go when their projects are in turnaround and their neck muscles are in knots? For Madonna, Pauly Shore, Brooke Shields, and Jean-Claude Van Damme, among others, the place to find watery serenity is Beverly Hot Springs, L.A.’s only pure-alkaline mineral-water spa and the industry’s local de-stress option of choice.

Located in Koreatown, just a crystal’s throw from Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Beverly Hot Springs takes advantage of a natural artesian well discovered at the turn of the century — and of the privacy afforded by its unglamorous location.

”It’s really a world apart,” says United Talent agent Andrew Cannava. ”Going from the boiling-hot spring to the freezing-cold pool leaves you euphoric.” Favorite treatments include a traditional shiatsu massage, the invigorating Body Scrub, or Body Care, during which a no-nonsense therapist pummels clients into peacefulness with an arsenal of natural potions.

When heavy hitters really want to unkink in lavish style, however, they do what Tim Robbins and Greta Scacchi did in The Player: go to Two Bunch Palms, located on what was once Al Capone’s sprawling hideout in Desert Hot Springs, 120 miles east of L.A. A fave soothe-all site for Meryl Streep, Bette Midler, Daryl Hannah, and Ozzy Osbourne, among others, Two Bunch Palms is at once ultraluxe and laid-back: Calorie counting and deprivation are out, nurturing indulgence is in. And so, too, are the latest left-of-center therapies, among them Watsu (a sort of aquatic, shiatsulike apache dance performed in the hot-spring pool); the Esoteric (during which a lovely, golden-haired psychic gives chakra tune-ups with assorted lotions and crystals); and the gloriously icky mud bath a deux.

”There’s a genuine healing energy, and celebrity clients require an extreme amount of care and compassion in a short amount of time,” says spa director Dana Bass Smith. ”They also know no one’s going to badger them for an autograph or to find out what script they’re reading.” Which is, perhaps, the deepest relief of all.