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SPA SECRETS (April 2002)


Annabeth Gish, Rebecca Romijin-Stamos and Lise Haxton.

Quality Time With Gal Pals.

Annabeth Gish has not slept a wink in 24 hours. The 31-year-old actress pulled an all-nighter on the X-Files set before heading directly to the Los Angeles airport to meet her friends, model turned actress Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, 29, and eyewear designer Lise Haxton, 30. The trio has been planning this trip to Skylonda Spa, located about 35 miles south of San Francisco among California's majestic redwoods, for about two years, and the departure day has finally arrived. "I liked this place because it's nice but not too froufrou,"says Romijn-Stamos. "We wanted a place where we could escape in a natural environment without having to eat too much granola."

Miso soup is what they get instead, sitting down to lunch at the spa a few hours later. Though all three women live in Los Angeles, they rarely manage to spend a solid weekend together. Romijn-Stamos was in Paris for four months last year filming Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale. Haxton works overtime designing Oliver Peoples eyewear. And Gish works about 80 hours a week (a lot of nights) on The X-Files. "Whenever I have free time, I want to spend it with people who nourish me, like Rebecca and Lise," says Gish. And she loves the idea of sharing that time without distractions. "A spa is one of the few places where we can focus on each other and nothing else," Gish adds.

After lunch, Gish, whom Romijn-Stamos describes as the "spiritual one," goes for a pedicure, a manicure and as Elemental Ritual massage, based on ancient Ayurvedic principles. "I have makeup artists and stylists touching me all week, so I opted for basic treatments," she says.

Romijn-Stamos, a self-confessed "spa hag" ("I go to them all the time"), chooses a Kundalini Kelp wrap and a facial, followed by a four-handed Harmony massage, performed by two massage therapists. "I told the masseuses they were like Rogers and Astaire, and I was their dance floor," she says. "They were like, 'Yeah, OK. Would you please put your clothes on now?'"

Haxton, who picks the Elemental Ritual massage, a facial and the "four-hander," enjoys running into her friends between treatments. "It's fun to compare notes," she says. "And it's nice to know they're being taken care of." The others feel the same way about her. "Lise's the nurturer of the group," says Romijn-Stamos. "At any hour, if you need her, she'll be on your doorstep." September 11 was no exception. "That morning, Lise picked me up and we drove to Rebecca's," says Gish. "My parents live in New Mexico, and when Lise showed up, I realized, this is my family here. I think that's one reason we finally got our spa trip together after two years of talk.

After dinner and a glass of wine in Skylonda's Great Room, the women slip into flannel pj's, retire to Gish's room and start howling. As Romijn-Stamos recalls the following day, "We laughed so hard that the front desk called at 9 p.m. and asked us to calm down." For Gish, that incident exemplifies how her friends balance her out. "I was worried that we were being disrespectful to the other guests," she says. "But Rebecca and Lise taught me how to loosen up and have a little fun in life."
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