Best of L.A.

Best Of 2013

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Place to Service Your Mercedes

Like many German makers these days, Mercedes has aimed downmarket. You can get an entry-level Benz for nearly $30,000, much less if you don't mind a low-mile lease turn-in with a couple years under its belt. That's Toyota Camry cash. But here's the thing: Keeping your Teutonic ride on the road still takes Mercedes money, because oil changes can run eight times the normal rate, not to mention regular service sessions (ahem, $400 at the dealer). Enter Larry, owner of Westwood Mercedes, which is not actually in Westwood. (He moved from West L.A. to a Shell gas station on Cloverfield in Santa Monica a couple years ago.) He's an honest-to-goodness German mechanic who knows your wheels backward and forward, and he won't always charge the price of airfare to Stuttgart. If you want half off what dealerships and other indie Merc shops often charge, Larry's your guy. Just don't complain if he disses your newer ride as being inferior to the '70s- and '80s-era German steel he has parked around the garage. 1802 Cloverfield Blvd., Santa Monica, 90404. (310) 477-6405, westwoodmercedes.com. —Dennis Romero

1802 Cloverfield Blvd., Santa Monica, 90404
MAP
310-477-6405
Best Isolation Tank
Float Lab

If you are feeling at all uneasy about spending two hours floating in water in total sensory deprivation, Crash, the shaggy-haired, flip-flop–wearing owner of Float Lab, will make you feel at ease. Each of his two womblike chambers is filled with body-temperature saltwater and encased in dark, soundproof walls. With nothing to distract, you are free to explore your mind completely unencumbered. During the big isolation-tank craze a few decades ago, it was said that some famed writers came up with their best ideas inside the tanks, and that the mind invented vivid colors and patterns. Stand-up comedian Joe Rogan is a fan and regularly touts Float Lab on his podcast. The popularity and constant waiting lists have prompted Crash's expansion plans, with a new 10-chamber facility on Wilshire in the works. 801 Ocean Front Walk, #5, Venice. (310) 396-3336, floatlab.com. —Jackie Adams

801 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, 90291
MAP
310-255-1905
Best Place to Get Flushed

While colonics might be a daunting thought for some, if one ever requires or desires this purportedly detoxifying treatment, Healing Waters Institute in Studio City is a great place to get flushed. The clean and cozy facility features state-of-the-art equipment that makes colon irrigation mostly comfortable and largely non-invasive. Owner Annabelle Cordova is a sage when it comes to colon health, and she's compassionate and funny to boot, gently guiding clients through the process while explaining exactly what's coming out of you, why it looks the way it does (yes, you can see it), and what you can do to make it look healthier. Foot reflexology and abdominal massage are performed during the session for greater "releases," and the facility also offers a hyperbaric chamber and foot-detoxification therapy. Most folks leave with a better understanding of their digestive system, and a few pounds lighter to boot. 4343 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City. (818) 506-7592, healingwatersinstitute.com. —Katie Bain

4343 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Los Angeles, 91604
MAP
818-506-7592
Best Spa

The Koreatown bathhouse emporium Wi Spa is tricked out with saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms, clay rooms, salt rooms, ice rooms, 200-plus-degree rooms and myriad other methods of detoxifying and refreshing body and mind. The entrance fee is $30 (with a variety of deals and discounts throughout the week), and once inside there's no limit to how long you can stay and soak. The space is divided into men's and women's spas, and a coed area features treatment rooms along with a café and a casual hangout space. There's also free Wi-Fi, a few TVs and an area for napping. Massages, salt scrubs, deep-tissue work, waxing, manicures and more are relatively inexpensive, and the staff does a consistently great job. The place is pristine and open 24 hours a day, making it a prime place to disappear into for an afternoon or unwind at after a long evening. Parking is free, and patrons can even get a car wash. Full service, indeed. 2700 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown. (213) 487-2700, wispausa.com. —Katie Bain

2700 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 90057
MAP
213-487-2700
Best Place for a Strong Touch
L.A. Sports Massage
Photo: Adam Gropman

The word "massage" can mean a variety of things. There's Swedish massage, Thai massage, deep-tissue Rolfing, and the kind of massage you get at fringe-y parlors that elicit snickering chatter about "happy endings." L.A. Sports Massage offers a targeted and quality-assured service: a rigorous, but not extremely painful, reparative and restorative massage aimed at addressing specific physical ailments common to athletes and other physically active people. LASM says that in many cases, a few sessions in its bright, cheery Culver City space with one of its athlete/massage therapists not only gives relief from muscular or joint pains but can also actually reverse the intrinsic problem. Now that's a real happy ending! 13205 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 439-1421, lasportsmassage.com. —Adam Gropman

13205 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, 90066
MAP
310-439-1421
Best Adult Store

If your idea of an adult shop is a shame-inducing hole-in-the-wall with sticky magazines, XXX video booths filled with men on the sex-offender list, and leather accessories worthy of a farm, Pure Delish probably isn't the place for you. It has no videos and no magazines, but, taking a page from Hustler Hollywood, that mall-like boutique for smut and unmentionables on the Sunset Strip, it has lingerie, shoes, lube, condoms and toys. The women who work there dress in candy-striper outfits, which is nice. But here's the thing: Most of the customers are female. The sales staff will happily, without much blushing or giggling, demonstrate the latest in battery-operated technology, too. And the prices are good. Not that we'd know. 10746 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 591-8792, puredelish.com. —Dennis Romero

10746 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 90232
MAP
310-591-8792
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Best Place to Service Your Mercedes: Westwood Mercedes

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