The Los Angeles spa market continues to heat up with the Aug. 27 opening of a luxury spa at the Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills, complete with amenities like digital monitors in the sauna and nighttime candlelit massages in the poolside cabanas.

The spa, with an open view of the fourth-floor pool area, comes with a $3 million price tag and was six months in the making.

"Twelve years ago, for a city hotel, a spa wasn't a necessity, but it is now an amenity we cannot do without," said Four Seasons spokeswoman Joyce Bonaventura.

To make room for the spa reception area, eight guest rooms were demolished. The hotel compensated for the lost rooms by dividing several large suites into smaller rooms.

Bonaventura said parent company Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which manages 48 properties in 20 countries under the Four Seasons and Regent brand names, now considers a spa as one of the top five amenities sought by its guests. All new Four Seasons outlets will be built with spas, she said.

"With the wealth of the travel set, I think they have come to expect a spa when they stay somewhere like Four Seasons," said Bryan Maher, a hotel analyst at Credit Lyonnais Securities.

The hotel hired what it considers top-flight spa personnel 30 in all to help get the venture off the ground. Daisy Tepper, a nine-year veteran of The Peninsula Beverly Hills, will serve as spa director. Steven Miller, touted by the Four Seasons as "facialist to the stars" because of his large Hollywood clientele, also has new digs at the spa.

As new spa director, Tepper spent several months designing the treatments and had input with a line of in-house aromatherapy oils.

In the middle of the spa installation, the hotel redid its poolside caf & #233; with the spa in mind. The kitchen was enlarged and "spa cuisine" lighter foods with calorie counts listed was added to the menu.

For the interior design of the spa, the hotel hired Stella Abdoulin of Barry Design Associates. The design, a mix of neutral colors and classic mosaic tiles, incorporates high-tech extras like flat-screen TVs, which can be found under the massage table headrests and inside the sauna.

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