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Posts tagged ‘golf course’

Cal-a-vie Resort, Vista, CA

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.

View of chapel and L'Orangerie  View east from chapel

When you enter through the front gate, you will see the Ted Robinson style private golf course to the east.

Front gate Aug 23 2013 Golf course

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.

Old world wood floors Antiques in storage room

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.

Plaque on L-Orangerie Demo kitchen in L'Orangerie Inside chapel Lawn outside L-Orangerie L'orangerie foyer Cal-a-vie photo L'Orangerie reception hall Plaque on Chapel

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.

Suite Cal-a-vie pnoto entrance to guest room 2 entrance to guest room Guest room Cal-a-vie photo Inside 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.

Room inside windmill Dining room Pizza oven and organic garden Pond and outside dining outside dining hall

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.

Sand volley ball basket ball court other games Clay tennis court Labyrinth Library in Fitness center Lobby of fitness center Olympic pool and administration building

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.

Spa Building Front lobby Cal-a-vie photo Relaxation place

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!

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Park Hyatt Aviara Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, CA

Last Friday, I was treated to a delightful tour of the resort by the marketing coordinator at the resort.  As you drive in via the main entrance you drive within the Aviara planned community and past the Four Seasons residence club which has time shares.  Real estate is available in this community but the jewel of this property is the beautiful AAA 5 diamond resort and Arnold Palmer 18 hole golf course.

The Spanish Colonial architecture is complemented by the lush landscaping on the 200 acres and the breathtaking view of the Batiquitos natural lagoon and the ocean beyond.  There are sculptures placed around the property and all the guest rooms have either a private balcony or terrace to access these views.  Even the pools are situated to best take advantage of the lagoon, ocean and landscaping views.

There are 329 sleeping room, from the 540 sq. foot guest room to the 855-2140 suites, including the Presidential suite.  All rooms are certified hypo allergenic with special cleaning processes, materials, etc. to provide this clean environment.   When I looked today, the rates ranged from $259 per night to $459 for the Park Suite deluxe, plus the $25 a night resort fee and a parking fee.

There is 78,000 sq feet of indoor/outdoor facilities for weddings, business meetings and events, and 17 meeting rooms. The meeting rooms are  held on one side of the hotel and the guest rooms on the other, to keep a separate and more private space available for guests and attendants.

There are five dining venues as well as in room dining. The Vivace is the fine dining venue, Italian, offering dinners and a Sunday brunch. The California Bistro has a wonderful buffet that the marketing coordinator says is exquisite, featuring locally sourced and organic food as much as possible.  The Argyle Steakhouse is located next to the 18th hole on the golf course.  The Ocean bar and grill is next to the pool and lastly, the Lobby lounge is in the library area and serves tea and finger foods as well as cocktails in the evening. Wed. through Sat. there is live music in the lobby and lounge area.

One of my favorite offerings at the resort is their quarterly Masters of food and wine events.  The event during the summer months is focused on teaching families how to make pizza dough,  mozzarella cheese and decorate cupcakes.  Earlier in the summer it focused on the local Carlsbad Aqua Farm, with a tour, and oyster tasting paired with fine California wines.   Later on the focus will be on Single Malt scotch tasting paired with cigars.  Bridgette stressed that food is one of the main focuses at this hotel, one that lifts it above the rest.

Other facilities in the hotel are various shops, 6 lighted tennis courts, a game room for kids and adults, a golf academy aligned with the Arnold Palmer golf course, 1/2 court basketball court, sand volley ball, movies, and camp Hyatt for the kids.  There is a large and lush family pool and a more secluded adult only Tranquility pool below that one. Another fun offering through the resort is called their Beach Butler service. They offer transportation to the beach, along with beach chairs, towels and umbrellas; a picnic lunch and/or morning coffee service.

I wasn’t able to view inside the spa as it was booked full with appointments but a friend of mine has visited there and says it is lovely.   It is 15,000 sq. ft, has 20 treatment rooms, an indoor solarium lounge, whirlpool, steam room, sauna and a fitness center. They offer various body treatments, facials and massage treatments. There is a salon onsite as well.

I am sharing the photos I took here but if you want more info or pictures, you can go to: http://www.parkaviara.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

This is a view of the lobby and fountain, the view from the fountain and the view of the lagoon.

Lobby and fountain Aviara view from lobby looking west Aug 9 2013 Lagoon view

These last two photos are of the fine dining restaurant and the bistro:

Bistro Fine dining restaurant

Although this is a fairly large resort, it felt very comfortable and intimate to me.  Go visit yourself and let me know what you think!

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Ojai, CA

I have researched Wellness centers and resorts for 34 years, interviewing people who started wellness/retreat centers, people who managed them, land developers, organizational developers, construction supervisors, real estate agents who specialize in selling large properties for this use, spa managers,  venture capitalists,etc.  Along with this, I have researched online over 70 resorts, spas and wellness centers/learning centers world wide.  I have done this research to not only prepare to one day create my own, but to also act as a consultant to people wanting to create wellness centers and refer my clients to resorts that fit their budget and desired experiences. The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa was one of the ones I researched and has long been one of my favorites due to their beautiful Spanish architecture and use of tiles. In July I finally got to visit in person and thanks to Ashleigh Tripp, a warm, generous and enthusiastic guide, who works in the marketing dept.,  I received a wonderful tour of the resort. I had walked around a little before hand and took some photos but Ashleigh really filled in the picture for me and was very patient with all my questions.

I loved learning the history of the place…that it was first conceived in 1923 and built as a country club and golf course but the first rooms for the Inn weren’t built until 1934.  I love that those rooms have still been kept intact.   In 1942 the land was used  by 1000 army troops for a training ground and they took over the golf course land, pretty much leaving it unusable as a golf course. The Navy also used the property after that for a recuperation facility.   In 1947 a new owner reopened it after restoring it. The golf course had originally been created leaving large trees and other natural areas left intact and that was kept in mind in restoring it. Through different owners and over the years, all the renovations have kept true to the history and the original architecture.

The resort now has 308 rooms and suites ranging in size from 425 sq. ft to 1200 sq. feet and 1200 – 1900 sq feet for the penthouses.  Along with the rooms there is also a gorgeous villa, called Casa Elar which is 10, 407 sq. ft, has two two-room master bedroom suites, it’s own massage room, 2 bedrooms downstairs, staff quarters, its own pool and spa.  Room rates start at $389.  There are packages available and the resort regularly offers coupon and other offers to locals. The room rate  has an added $25 service charge which includes use of the golf practice facilities, tennis courts , fitness classes, Nest teen center, and activity center along with a few other amenities. The resort is pet friendly and even offers dog training classes.

Everyone I encountered was very warm and friendly, and it was obvious that the resort truly welcomes its guests, both local and from other locales.  The resort even has some onsite housing for employees.

Sustainability is a strong focus and the onsite apothecary makes all the bath products available in the rooms, and recycles any of them left over. Recycling containers are sprinkled around the area and strongly encouraged.  As much as possible they serve local and organic produce, even growing herbs in their gardens onsite and heirloom tomatoes.  They turned an old horse ranch and barn into an organic farm and split the crops with the growers and use the rest in their restaurants. The barn was turned into a wedding venue.  They use only certified fish on their menus as well.

Facilities include tennis courts and instruction, an 18 hole championship golf course and other golf training facilities, 4 pools, ping pong, a basketball court, a game room located at the adult only Herb Garden pool, activities and camps for the kids.  The golf course offers golf academies spread  throughout  the year, catering to different skill levels.  In the building that houses the apothecary and artist cottage, guests can paint glasses, tiles, silk scarves or use mixed media, in addition to personal assistance in creating a hand picked aromatherapy oil to be used in their body treatments or massages. The spa offers the usual massages, facials, salon offerings, along with several spiritual therapies and a unique Native American flavored sweat and clay ceremony/treatment that honors the history of the local tribes.  Guests can choose a room near the spa or golf course if that is their focus for their stay. There are six restaurants scattered around the resort and in-room dining.

With all of its array of facilities and activities, this is a great place for business events, reunions and weddings. There is a large expansive event lawn near the herb gardens and heirloom tomatoes. There is an arbor with seating under it for a cocktail or quiet place to gather.  I enjoyed all the spirited sculptures placed around the grounds and the beautiful landscaping.

The resort even hosts resident parrots that have their own trainer to care for them and educate the guests!  I was very impressed with this resort and it’s attention to sustainability, comfort, variety and beauty!  Come check it out.  It is close to LA, close the beach, close to mountains!

Approaching entrance Entrance Flower on tree in garden Herb garden pool Herb garden Outside patio in gardens Rooms near herb garden pool Rooms on south side of property Stairway to roomsSculpture in garden

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