On Friday, I was given a very delightful and through tour of the Cal-a-Vie resort. http://www.cal-a-vie.com/.
As part of my 34 years of researching wellness centers and resorts, I had researched this resort several years ago. It opened in 1985 more as an upscale weight loss resort. With the purchase and restoration of the spa by the present owners, Terri and John Havens, it truly feels and looks like a small French village. With the 200 acres of hilly countryside , just 40 miles north of San Diego, the small orange grove that honors frequent guests and the grape orchards, you feel like you are in another country. This very private luxury spa resort treats its guests to a 5:1 ratio, and the extra attention and care is seen in every aspect of this place.
The first photo is of the Chapel and L-Orangerie, originally part of a Carmelite monastery in Dijon, France, built in the early 1700′s and brought over piece by piece to be rebuilt on the grounds. The other picture is of the rolling hills and orchards seen from the Chapel grounds.
When you enter through the front gate, you will see the Ted Robinson style private golf course to the east.
The entire resort is furnished with 17th, 18th and 19th Century antiques purchased by the Havens and shipped back to the resort for furnishings as well as to sell to guests at their antique store. I loved how each room is unique with it’s different couches, light fixtures, tables, etc. My favorite was the wood used on many of the floors, pine barn wood taken from an old world barn.
Here is a photo of the floor and antique storeroom.
The chapel and L’Orangerie are very special buildings, with a great history. The chapel is used for meditation, weddings, yoga, and other small gatherings. It has no electricity so everything is done by candlelight. The L’Orangerie is used for corporate retreats and meetings, weddings, and other gatherings. It’s demonstration kitchen is used to instruct guests in simple techniques they can take home to use for healthy meals. The meals demonstrated are then cooked right there and provided to the attending guests.
Here are pictures of the inside of the chapel, the foyer of L’Orangerie (a Cal-a-Vie photo), plaques on both of them, the demonstration kitchen and the wonderful lawn outside the L’Orangerie which provides a lovely space for weddings.
There are 32 Mediterranean style villas including 7 suites. The rooms run from 500 sq. ft. to 800 sq. ft for the suites. Each room has a private sun deck or balcony. The bathrooms have a jacuzzi tub and separate shower, and heated limestone floors. The rooms are furnished with unique French antiques and lighting fixtures. Rooms are cleaned with green cleaning products only. Guests come for 3, 4 and 7 day visits. A 7 day stay runs from $8295 – $8795; 4 days from $5295-$5795; and 3 days from $3995-$4395 plus tax. These rates include all meals and snacks, several spa therapies or golf, all classes, fitness facilities and recreational activities. There are special rates for 2 people signing up together. Guests are limited to 18 years and above.
Here are some pictures of the outside and inside of the guest rooms. The first photo is provided by Cal-a-Vie, a picture of a suite; the next two are ones I took of the outside; the next one is provided by Cal-a-Vie, a picture of the inside of a guest room; and the last one is one I took of the inside of a guest room.
The executive Chef, Curtis Cooke, formerly of the Golden Door resort, uses organic and local sustainable produce as much as possible and meals are served in the dining room, the outside patio of the dining room, the demonstration kitchen, in rooms when requested and even in the sweet room in the working windmill. The windmill room is offered to newlyweds, to have some time alone after their wedding and before moving on to the reception. There is no alcohol served with meals. Guests may bring alcohol to have in their rooms only. An on staff dietician is available for private consultation and teaches nutrition classes and gives lectures. The new chef is working to expand the organic garden onsite.
The first photo is taken of the windmill room, the second picture is of the dining hall, the next one is of the outside pizza oven and organic garden, and lastly, a photo of the outside patio and pond.
The focus of this resort is on providing guests with activities, instruction, therapies, cooking classes, etc. for relaxation, retreat, an opportunity to get back in shape and create a new healthier lifestyle they can continue when they return home. Guests fill out a questionnaire when they first register and then go through an interview upon arrival. During this interview they are asked about their particular health and fitness goals, past exercise routines, and needs, so that a personalized daily schedule can be created for them. Daily fitness classes aren’t scheduled ahead of time but rather created to meet the needs of the guests for that week. There are daily hikes, over 100 exercise classes, 20 mind/body classes; including pilates, spinning, yoga, walks, an Olympic sized pool and a smaller pool, water classes, meditation, tai chi, Qi gong, tennis on a clay court, sand volleyball, basketball, other lawn games, and of course the golf course. The fitness center is as luxurious as all the other buildings, looking much different than any other fitness center I’ve seen. There is even a labyrinth!
Below is a picture of the recreation courts, tennis court, labyrinth, the library and lobby of the fitness center and the Olympic sized pool.
As the resort focuses on creating a stress free environment, they provide windbreakers, rain gear, gray sweat shirts and pants, t-shirts, shorts, robes, bath shoes, and bedroom slippers so that guests don’t have to worry about packing. There is a boutique that sells anything else you might need. There are guest speakers and themed weeks throughout the year.
As therapies are a big part of this program, there are over 60 daily spa therapeutic treatments and services offered at the salon and spa. Some of the spa offerings are reiki, Thai massage, shiatsu, vibrational therapy, cranial sacral, acupuncture, facials, body wraps and various massage modalities. The spa rooms are beautiful, spacious and have the same elegant furnishings that are throughout this resort.
The first photo is the registration lobby, and then a Cal-a-Vie photo of the inside of the lobby and lastly, a sweet hot tub for relaxation.
My pictures don’t do this place justice so please go to their website for more information or better yet, book a retreat for yourself!