Get a Taste of Wellness at Four Seasons Westlake Village

The Taste of Wellness package at Four Seasons Westlake Village is a great one-day immersion into the spa and wellness experience at the property’s California Health & Longevity Institute.

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Yoga class on the lawn at Four Seasons Westlake Village

Did you know that at the Four Seasons Westlake Village there is a whole wellness center? It’s called California Health & Longevity Institute (CHLI) and it’s one more very big reason to visit Westlake and the Four Seasons. CHLI offers medical and dental treatments, nutritionist consultations, healthy cooking classes, dermatology, fitness classes, and so much more that I wasn’t even aware of. People travel from all over to experience their services with top medical professionals in the serene and luxurious surroundings of the Four Seasons property.

Taste of Wellness

Working in partnership, the hotel and CHLI have introduced a new package for guests that introduces you to what the center has to offer. It’s called Taste of Wellness, and it only takes a half a day – or longer if you can spare the time to chill out in the spa or pool when you are done. You can choose from three different themes: Detox + Disconnect, Relax + Recharge, or Shape Up + Slim Down.

Relax + Recharge

The center and hotel invited me to try out Taste of Wellness, and since I was between a long trip and back-to-school coming up, I chose the Relax + Recharge package, which includes:

-Life Strategies Consultation
-Somadome Meditation
-Tranquility Massage

Those words all look great to me, but I didn’t know exactly what it all entailed, so I arrived and checked in near the spa (which is already my happy place) with curious optimism. I had no idea how blown away I was about to become.

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Check into CHLI in the south wing of the hotel, across from The Spa

Life Strategies Consultation

Dr. Ilana Kukoff is a fixer. She’s not a therapist, there to listen to you vent and cry and walk out of her office with puffy eyes, feeling like you got hit by a train, but so much better since you unloaded your problems. No, Dr. Kukoff is there to give you action steps to make your life better. I hadn’t prepared myself for meeting her, since I hadn’t known it was coming. After she introduced herself and described her background (she runs The Center for Child & Family Wellbeing at CHLI, grew up on the east coast like me, and has two grown and successful children, plus a book coming out this fall, etc.) she asked me what I needed help with.

After a moment of thought, I told her about my current crossroads: my older son is going to middle school, my duties as PTA president are over so I have time to work more, but I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up! Dr. Kukoff didn’t miss a beat. She immediately gave me a pad and pen, and said “Write this down. Number 1…” and gave me two pages of action steps that covered not only my career path but also my children’s school challenges, the name of an agent I should meet when I finish my novel, titles of books and magazines I should read, and some quotable bits I’ll have to use in another post!

My head spun pleasantly with all the new ideas in the wake of Dr. Kukoff’s personable energy. At that point I could have used that buzz to work out, because in addition to the services I experienced, the package includes access to daily exercise classes offered by CHLI, like yoga, pilates, cycling, barre, and “Aqua Blast.” Since I had to get back to my children in a few hours, I skipped the exercise. At least, that’s my excuse. Besides, it was time for lunch.

Ahi Poke Bowl

Ahi Poke Bowl

Sustained Living Lunch

The Taste of Wellness naturally includes lunch from the Wellness Kitchen, served in the main dining room at Four Seasons. Menu items were designed by Paulette Lambert, the nutrition director at CHLI and author of the cookbook by the same name (which is really fantastic – I went home with a copy and already made 2 dishes from it, which my whole family loved).

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For lunch during my day at Four Seasons I had the 1, 2, 3 Lunch! entree and chose tomato & burrata salad, the quinoa garden bowl with pistachios and blistered tomato, and, not exactly super healthy but it has fruit, the most incredible peach melba I’ve ever had. The Taste of Wellness package includes non-alcoholic beverages only, but I had to go outside the box and try the Antioxidant Mojito. It’s for the story, right? Conclusion: I heartily recommend.

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Somadome Meditation

After lunch I checked into the spa, which is really just the best place on Earth, and got a locker, a robe, and slippers. The spa clerk showed me to the Somadome, which is a giant futuristic egg stationed in a classically decorated wing of offices around the corner from the spa. The juxtaposition of the plush, cozy room and the new-agey egg was striking.

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What followed was a 20-minute suspension of reality. Inside the egg, there’s no visual stimulus except for the glowing white interior. I donned headphones and chose the “Success” meditation, during which a calm female voice uttered motivational mantras, echoing herself, over thrumming electronic beats.

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About to meditate in the Somadome

It was super trippy at first, and I had to take photos, too, but after a few minutes I relaxed into it and completely zoned out. Just as the meditation track was ending, the clerk returned and knocked on the egg to transition me back to the ladies’ spa for my massage.

Tranquility Massage

You’re going to get the top of the line at Four Seasons’ Spa no matter what service you choose, but the Tranquility Swedish massage is what comes with this package. It’s a 50 minute relaxing massage with pressure as you like it. I added a foot scrub to it, too, since I’ve been traipsing around in flip flops all summer and my feet needed a little tune-up. My therapist, Roe, was a total pro and I left there feeling relaxed and ready to soak in the spa or lounge by the pool…

…except that whole parenting thing. My time was up and I had to head home. But the food for thought I got from Dr. Kukoff, the meditative state of mind from the Somadome, the relaxed muscles after my massage, and the nourishing food I put in my belly all conspired to give me a peaceful, slightly energized feeling when I got there.

Book Your Taste

I absolutely recommend this experience, especially as you’re gearing up for a change in your life, or you want to kick-start a fitness program or come down from some hard summer partying. If you’re a parent and you can set aside some time once the kids go back to school, a Taste of Wellness day will be perfect!

To book, call 818-575-3000 or visit the hotel’s website here.

The day package is only $299 per person, and it includes everything I mentioned above. That is a slam dunk amazing deal, considering the spa services alone! It would be a really nice gift, too. You can schedule your day as you like with the people who make the reservations – and I would even go so far as to say get your massage before lunch to avoid any unpleasant digestion noises that might embarrass you.

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This package is available to overnight guests, of course, so make it a staycation and keep that pleasant buzz with you all day and night and into the next morning. The Four Seasons Westlake Village feels like a world away from the rest of the area. A stay there is restful and good for the soul.

I experienced Taste of Wellness as a guest of Four Seasons and CHLI. All opinions are my own.

Spa File: Glen Ivy Hot Springs, the Amusement Park for Grownups

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Glen Ivy Hot Springs charges admission – more than Magic Mountain – to let you in the gates of this wonderland spa, and while that might seem unusual, well…it is. But it’s worth it.

Admission gets you into the Disneyland of spas – a maze of pools, palm trees, treatment rooms, and servers who bring you drinks, right to your spot in the pool. Services like massages and facials are extra, but you could spend the whole day just lounging around. I made the 2-hour drive to Corona to spend a day there with my friend Desiree (who posted about it here, with more enticing photos).

IMG_5830Little boxes of natural hot springs. Good for the complexion.

We started by soaking in a few of the pools, then each went in for our massages. My massage was very relaxing. I could have ended the day right then and there, but this place charges admission, plus I had driven 2 hours. And I had a hall pass to be on my own for the day. If I close my eyes and think of a happy place, this is it.

IMG_5837Post-massage, post-lunch, post-cocktail. Happy place indeed.

There’s a certain order you’re supposed to “take the waters.” The natural hot springs, the salt baths, the cool pool. And “Club Mud,” a pool of  murky water with a plinth of clay at its center – people scoop a handful of the clay off of the main lump, rub it all over the body, and then wait for it to dry like a full body mask. On this day there was a special event. Every 15 minutes an attendant would assembled mud-covered crowd into lines and spray them down with castille soap suds with a giant hose. I did all of this, and then we showered it off. Castille soap is very soft. I had no idea.

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A special experience takes place underground in “The Grotto,” where polo-shirt-wearing young women paint your body with warm moisturizer. It’s supposed to rub the lotion on its skin for 10 minutes, then shower it all off, then sit on a rock ledge in an underground cavern like a set from Land of the Lost, drinking tea and eating fresh cold apples. I just followed Desiree through all the motions because she’s been there before, but I was definitely confused. Still, I found it very pleasant.

A more bizarre, more relaxing experience I cannot imagine. Plus experiencing it all with a friend I hardly ever get to see was great. I didn’t even mind the 2-hour drive back home that I had ahead of me. I rolled in around 9:30, kissed everyone hello, and went straight to bed. Best day ever.

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I received complimentary admission to facilitate this feature. All photos except the top one are by Desiree Eaglin.