Tours, travels, hikes and journeys!

Posts tagged ‘retreat’

The Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, San Diego, CA

I came to San Diego often as a child, and we always stayed on the ocean side of either Pacific or Mission beach. My parents had some friends who stayed on the bay side and as a kid, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to stay on the bay side.  I was familiar with the Catamaran, as it was across the street and a block away from where I often stayed on the ocean side. So I decided it was time to visit the Catamaran and find out more about it and the bay side appeal.

As an adult, I can better appreciate the peace, tranquility and quiet slower pace of the bay side now, and yet, the Catamaran is not just for those who want to lay by the pool or on the beach next to the bay.  Yes, the resort offers that lush hidden feeling of being in a secluded jungle and yet it has it’s own restaurants, exercise room, spa, numerous water sport offerings and even a steam boat to board to listen to music, grab a drink and dance!, And, since it is located right on Mission Blvd. it is just across the street from the ocean,  walking distance to stores, and numerous restaurants and night clubs. These are a bay side photo of the resort and another photo of the entrance.

 

CATentrance_lr TowerBayboards

The hotel and surrounding property were originally the summer estate of the Scripps family. and in 1958 William D. Evans bought it. He has remodeled it and added to it using Colonial Hawaiian architecture, materials from around the world, and art pieces especially from the South Pacific. There are more than 1000 species of plants and flowers, 100 varieties of palm trees, a Koi pond, 30 types of hibiscus flowers and exotic birds. The resort is even green certified!

There are 312 rooms, suites and deluxe studios, some with ocean and bay views, some with garden views. 151 of these are standard rooms, 110 are studios, and 51 are suites with full kitchens. These range in size from 329 sq ft to 604 sq. ft. The studios are 430 sq. ft and have kitchens, too. Prices range from $143.65 to $245.65 a night. Unlike most resorts there is no resort fee for internet, use of the pool, fitness center, etc.  Plus there is a complementary passage on the Bahia Belle historic river boat, with live music, cocktails and dancing, and a tour of the bay.  The Bahia Belle runs every night in the summer months and on Fri. , Sat. and Sunday during the fall and winter months. Here is a photo of the lobby and a bay view room.

Waterfall

BayviewPatio

Like I mentioned earlier, there are many activities available at the resort. There is a business center,  fitness center,  outdoor whirlpool tub,  heated pool, video arcade and gift shop. During the summer there is a kids camp, live music, bird shows, and a Polynesian luau with music, food and entertainment.  Other activities offered are sailing, surfing lessons, biking, skating, water skiing,  wake surfing, kayaks, paddle boards, boogie boards, power boats, ski boats, segways, all available to rent right on the property. My favorite is the fun cats, which look like big lounge chairs but they are powered and you can just lounge and cruise the bay!  Chairs and umbrellas are also available for lounging on the beach.  You can also access the bay sidewalk and walk for miles. Photos are of the lounge chairs next to the whirlpool which is next to the spa. You can see the water sport rentals in the background. Also, photos of the pool, pier and beach chairs.

SpaLoungers Pool_throw CAT_Peir_2 BeachLoungers2

As a long time holistic therapist I always enjoy seeing the spa, and the one at the Catamaran did not disappoint!  I loved the beautiful tiled floors, lovely cabinets, steam and dry sauna rooms, tranquility room, beautiful locker rooms and all the wonderful spa treatment offerings. The spa was built in 2005 and is 9300 sq. ft.  It has 10 individual treatment rooms, a ritual room for combination treatments, a Vichy shower room and a couples treatment room. The treatments all have marine and botanical elements.  There are skin and body treatments offered, along with a hair and nail spa. There are hydro therapies, scrubs, wraps, water therapies, and they all have a South Pacific or Asian influence.  There are monthly specials and locals are encouraged to come and partake in the spa, too. Along with a spa treatment, locals can enjoy the use of the pool and beach chairs, making a day of it.

During the summer, the pool bar and grill is open.  The Atoll restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a Sunday Champagne brunch.  Morays lounge has live music and offers a bar and food as well. This is a photo of the fire pit in the outside seating area of Moray’s lounge.

MoryasFirePit

The Catamaran is a lovely place for business meetings, weddings and other gatherings.  There are 14 function rooms available; 20,000 sq. ft. of contiguous space; and room for 30-450 guests.  In addition to the beach area and function rooms, you can even book one of the two 19th century 100 ft. Sternwheeler boats  and host up to 575 guests on it!

I am so glad that I took the time and had the opportunity to widen my views of the delights of staying on the bay.  You can find out more about the Catamaran on their website http://www.catamaranresort.com/san-diego-resorts/. 

Come and explore it for yourself!.

Photos are all courtesy of the  Catamaran Media relations manager.

Aerial_CAT_New_LR

 

 

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The Grand Del Mar Resort, Del Mar, CA

On Tuesday my friend and I received a wonderful tour from the delightful German assistant front desk manager.  We were lucky to be shown several rooms and suites including the palatial Presidental suites.  This resort is one of only 6 resorts in the world to be given 5 diamond/stars for their spa, resort and restaurant and one of only 23 five star spas in the country. It was built in 2007 and elegant touches are everywhere from the walls, ceilings, floors, floor coverings, lighting fixtures, furnishings, windows, and even mini-bar offerings.

The resort is located next to the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.  It has several green initiatives and works to support the preserve.  The resort uses energy efficient lighting; recycling; water conservation; china/glass/cutlery/cloth in all business retreats and large gatherings to avoid waste; organic/in season/local/sustainable/fair trade food as much as possible; chemical free dry cleaning; organic fertilization on the landscape; re-use of green waste for mulch;  minimize over watering; use a filtration system at their wash station; and work to protect the wetlands using native re-vegetation and other initiatives. They even have a manager for green initiatives and sustainability.

There is an 18 hole Tom Fazio designed golf course, 7 acres of practice areas, a junior academy and a 50, 000 sq. ft. clubhouse with the Club M restaurant that offers food and entertainment.

Golf course

There are 4 heated pools in the resort, including an adults only relaxation pool located next to the spa.  There is a bar next to a couple of the pools, offering light casual dining. There is also white sand seating.

View of pool from room Adult pool

There are various guest rooms and suites to choose from along with over 4500 sq. ft. Villas.  The guest rooms range in size from 550 sq. ft for $495 a night, to 2840 sq. ft Presidential suites that rent for $5000 a night. The Villas rate is $6000 a night. There are various packages available.

Villas Aug 27 2013 Presidential suite Room 1 Room 2 Room 3 Room 4

There are several dining options including the 5 star Addison, the more casual yet still very elegant Amaya Restaurant,  the lounge that serves afternoon tea and light offerings, pool dining, Club M next to the golf course, and several private dining venues in the wine and Champagne cellars. Here is a photo of Amaya. A friend ate there and was quite impressed with their large vegetarian menu. Of course they have other food as well.

Amaya restaurant

As I mentioned, the spa is also 5 stars. I was unable to tour it.  They have 11 treatment rooms,, have wet and dry areas for treatments, whirlpool, scrubs, Vichy shower treatments, massage, lymph massage, wraps, facials, waxing, a salon, and various packages available combing scrubs, massages, facials and wraps.

There is a fitness center with fitness and movement classes, including yoga and meditation and tennis.  There is an explorer club for children ages 5-12, beach service to transport and set you up at the beach, surf school, kayak tours, picnics, lawn games, and horseback riding and instruction offered.

There are many events available such as: wine tasting; behind the scenes food and wine secret classes at the Addison; a painting and wine event; happy hour; Sunday concerts; movie night; sand castle building on the beach; hikes; Italian movies; perfume making; and an art and architecture tour.

The various ball rooms can be divided or opened up for various size venues for weddings, corporate retreats and other large events.   I love this large lawn area that is available for weddings and the gazebo known to be a place for romantic engagements. The Capella is another beautiful chapel like area available for weddings and business meetings.

The Capella Gazebo Inside the Capella Lawn for weddings

Everywhere you look from the picturesque driveways to the elegant seating areas in the foyers to the luxurious hallways connecting the guest rooms, to the striking stairway, it is all designed to provide a high end resort experience, and yet is still very warm, inviting and friendly.

Staircase Driveway to Villas Part of Foyer

Come check it out as a local or a guest! You can find out more on their website:

http://www.thegranddelmar.com/

Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Ocean Pearl Spa, Carlsbad, CA

On Tuesday I received a tour of the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and the onsite Ocean Pearl Spa in Carlsbad, CA. http://www.sheratoncarlsbad.com/    http://www.oceanpearlspa.com/home 

I have been a holistic therapist, trainer and coach for over 34 years, and have worked in various resorts, so being able to tour a spa is always a special treat. And what a treat this small yet elegant spa is to see. They are  dedicated to using mostly  organic products in all of their treatments and a few of the lines are produced locally.  The spa director, Carol Holguin, described the Kimberly Parry Organics line produced locally, how Kimberly makes up the batches when ordered so they are fresh and how they’ve been able to go to the facility and ask for additions and alterations to the various ingredients to produce signature products for their treatments.  All body treatments are done with Kimberly’s line and all facial treatments are performed with either the Kimberly Perry line or the Hungarian line, Ilike, which is made up  of fruits, vegetables and herbs.  Several lines are carried in the lobby for purchase, too.

Carol also showed us a device used for non-invasive face lifts, called nuface, using a microcurrent.  She has used it and says in five minutes it produces visible results. This is available for purchase in their lobby. She also showed us poultices filled with herbal pearls that are used to perform both massages and facials, a signature treatment.

The spa has 2 facial rooms, 6 massage rooms, including a couples massage room; a manicure/pedicure station that looks out to the lovely pool;  locker and relaxation areas for both men and woman; a eucalyptus steam room.

Various massages, body treatments, and facials are available alone or in a package.  I love how dedicated they are to organic product;  water conservation and other green initiatives;  and all they do to support local guests as well as guests of the resort.  During the summer they have bi-monthly happy hour offerings with various treatments, vendors, and food. During the off season these are offered monthly.  Oct. 4th-6th, they are offering a weekend of wellness with classes, workshops, treatments, and wellness consultations.  My favorite was the special of a  lunch, use of the pool, steam room, outdoor hot-tub and fitness center, all for only $5 added to the purchase of a 50 min. treatment. Most resorts charge a fee of $25 for spa, pool and fitness center use alone.  They also cater to small groups, wedding groups, etc.

Here are some pictures of the spa. All are photos taken from their website except for the photo of the women’s locker room.

Women rest area website photo fitness center website photo Lobby websit photo Manicure station website photo Women locker room

I was quite impressed with the Sheraton Carlsbad resort as well. They are connected with the MarBrisa time share, too, so guests are welcome to use the main pool as well as pools connected with the time share.  They are in the process of building some new timeshare units which adjoin the new two pool area called “The Cove”. The cove is a lovely area with what will eventually be a family pool and an adult pool, a bar, outdoor pool and ping pong tables, and food service at the pool, plus several lounge areas. The pool can be partially rented out for groups.

The first and last photo are of the main pool. The last photo is taken from the website and includes a picture of the rooms.  The other three photos are of the Cove and the new MarBrisa time share units.

Main pool aug 27 2013 More Cove New MarBisa time share The Cove poolCarlsbad-Hotel-Pool and rooms website photo

The Sheraton Carlsbad is located right next to Legoland and has a private entrance to it, plus special rates to explore it.  I love the Mediterranean architecture and how lovely the landscaping is throughout the property. They are also next door to the Crossings Golf course. The resort has ocean views and all rooms have patios and balconies that face beautiful scenes of flowers and gardens, the ocean, the canyon or the fairway.  There is a large conference center and many companies hold meetings and retreats here as well as having business travelers stay here. There is 40,000 sq ft of meeting and event space for corporate retreats, weddings and other large gatherings. There are several outdoor spaces available as a sweet wedding setting.

Looking toward conference center and entrance Conference Center

Their Twenty/20 restaurant has recently been remodeled and has 5200 sq. feet of space, of which 1700 is outdoor dining with views of the Pacific Ocean. The setting is elegant yet casual.  They use local organic produce as much as possible.  I love the resorts dedication to green initiatives such as the Blink recharging system for electrical cars, use of recycled paper products, organically grown flowers, green transportation, sustainable food options, china service for meetings to avoid all the waste that often accompanies these events.  They even donate left over food.   These are photos from their website.

twenty20- restaurant website photo

The rooms range from 488 sq. ft to 915 ft. for the Presidential suite.  Prices start at $199 per night and go up to $639, plus a $12 fee for internet, paper, resort activities, and use of fitness center.  There are 250 rooms. They are pet friendly.

These are photos taken from the website:

Executive-suite website photo traditional-guestroom-choco website photo

I highly recommend these facilities for locals as well as guests either visiting Lego Land, or wanting a mid-range lovely resort option for their ocean vacation.  The airport is close by and soon there will be major airline service there, in addition to the computer jets.  It is very close to the ocean near the I-5 interstate and there is transportation offered to the beach and other local attractions!

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!

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

The Oaks at Ojai, Ojai, CA

I went to tour the Oaks in July.  I walked around on my own some and then joined their orientation tour for new guests at the spa.  In the orientation were a few guests who had been there before and the spa has a high percentage of returning guests. One woman had been on one of their cruises and along with that she was given 2 free nights at the spa.

Sheila Cluff, an international fitness expert, founded the spa 36 years ago. It is considered a destination spa and it’s main focus is healthy weight loss, wellness and conscious eating.  The daily rate includes 15 fitness classes a day, 3 calorie conscious meals and healthy snacks.  The majority of the guests are women.

There are 46 rooms with an occupancy of 78 guests.  The rates start at $199 a day double occupancy to $345, depending upon the room size and $269 to $319 single occupancy.   Along with the offered fitness classes, there are daily guided hikes and walks for people of all fitness levels, cardio and weight lifting equipment, pilates equipment, an indoor and outdoor hot tub, steam room, sauna, outdoor pool and nightly lectures and activities.

The Spa is located in the center of town on Ojai Ave.  The meals will accommodate vegetarians as well as various food allergies per request. The menus are posted and guests are invited to contact the staff if they need something else or don’t like what is on the menu.  There are cooking demos to assist the guests in continuing their healthy eating habits upon returning home.

The spa offers various massage and reiki therapies,  facials, body treatments, a salon, along with fitness and body composition consultations.  Life awareness coaching and wellness training is offered as well.

Throughout the year various theme and focus weeks are offered.  Cruises are offered that include fitness and weight loss classes.

Jacuzzi in womens spa Path to rooms Pool and outdoors area The entrance Treatment room

Casa de la Luna Retreat, Ojai, CA

I’ve been talking to Margaret Elliott, the owner of Casa de la Luna Retreat for 5 years about ways we could collaborate.  I finally got to meet her and see her retreat center in early July.  Margaret started out renting a house on the property and then when the owner decided to sell, Margaret purchased it and has since then turned it into a retreat center. Her vision is to also include an organic farm near by, and expand the offerings of workshops, ceremonies, events and partnering at the center.  She loves to connect up with other eco-villages and wellness centers around the world.  She has offered up her space for free to various spiritual teachers off and on over the years.  She is very warm and generous.

Casa de la Luna sits on almost 4 acres with produce trees, organic gardens, horses, oak trees and redwood trees.  There is a residential compound consisting of  5 private lodging units with 10 large bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, 5 kitchens including a large industrial kitchen,  and a large event room that holds up to 60 people. The event room has recording, live streaming, editing, and screening capabilities and Margaret is skilled in all of this and offers its use to the public.  The rooms can hold up to 20 people for retreats, reunions and other gatherings. There is a large ceremonial/event lawn that has held many public ceremonies, weddings, and other gatherings.   There are other indoor/outdoor event areas. The retreat center is used for transformation, education, outreach and healing. There are treatment rooms located on the property, too.

Come check it out, or if you are interested in investing, please contact Margaret at http://www.casadelaluna.org/

The photos are not mine.

1-Bedroom-Living-room_9645 2-Bedroom_0485 another entry way Casa-Entry-La-Luna_0019 Ceremonial-Lawn-Area_0118 ceremony Entry Housing Lawn Main house Redwood_1842 rooms vegetation

Canyon Ranch, Tucson, AZ

In Dec. I went with a friend to tour Canyon Ranch. We received an extensive tour, with a wonderful young man leading the way. He had been working there a little while and loved working there, was pleased with how supported he felt there, how much they encouraged him to grow.

Canyon Ranch was created by it’s owner who still lives in a home on the property, right a midst the rest of the offered lodgings. I was impressed with this.  There are several Canyon ranch facilities in different locations including 2 resorts, one hotel and spa in Florida, and 3 spa clubs at other hotels.  I liked the concept of this family starting this one resort and seeing how much it has grown and expanded to other locations. That must be quite fulfilling. Canyon Ranch Tucson was originally a working ranch, then from the 1930’s to 1970’s, it was a guest ranch.  It now consists of 200 acres including a housing development with the owners able to have access to the spa and activities.

It is nestled at the south side of the Santa Catalina Mountains, near Sabino Canyon.   Facilities include regular rooms to a  2700 sq. feet 2 bdr. home.  The rates are all inclusive and include use of all classes, meals, facilities. They start at $3030 for 4 nights, including $650 service allowance to $6500 for 4 days, depending upon room size chosen.  One of the great room amenities is your choice of pillows from the 20 pillow menu.  for someone who has purchased numerous therapeutic pillows and even attempted to make my own pillow, I loved this offering. The young man told us that there are people who come and stay for a month at a time or more, no matter the cost.

There are 4 swimming pools, including a watsu pool and aquatic therapy pools.  There are three food venues, with all nutritional information and ingredients listed on the menus, with various diet restrictions honored. There are regular cooking classes to teach guests how to cook using more healthy ingredients. No alcohol is served but you are allowed to bring alcohol with you and consume it in your room. The resort is a cell phone free zone.

Their spa, salon, and fitness facilities are VERY extensive, including a large staff of medical professionals, MD’s, chiropractic, acupuncturists, hypnotherapists and others.  You are able to choose your therapies or join in one of the various programs.  There is even a gait and footwear analysis.  The spa also has metaphysical offerings including astrology, tarot, clairvoyant readings, crystal energy sessions, Feng Shui, handwriting analysis, and numerology.  There are various spiritual programs, life enhancement programs and creative arts activities.

While I was there they were building a new ropes course to include in their fitness programs and business offerings.  They have hikes, horse back riding and other outdoor activities.

I was having such a good time on the tour that I only took a few pictures afterwards, so am including a few pictures from their website instead.

canyon ranch main canyon ranch pool canyon ranch room canyon ranch rope course Canyon ranch spiritual canyon ranch

Green Valley Resort And Spa, St. George, Utah

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 supervision, 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.  This one was on my list so I went to tour it while in St. George.  I was staying just down the street so was able to visit it twice.

This has been one of my top favorites I have visited so far.  It is family owned, created by Carol Coombs, an intuitive healer and her architect husband. It had the family feel to me. It is rated by AAA as a 4 diamond resort and the rooms are quite luxurious, and yet very warm and cozy.  The beds were wonderful rustic wood frames with soft cotton comforters.  The products in the rooms are created and produced by the resort.  There is high grade coffee, popcorn and a popcorn maker, along with a small fridge and other amenities to make people feel at home.

You can stay there and just pay for the room, pay a little extra for bed and breakfast or pay full price for 3 meals a day, snacks,  20+ classes offered a day, fitness facilities, spa offerings, tennis courts and an indoor golf facility for training.  The restaurant serves health oriented, seasonal, local produced food when available, grass fed beef.  The spices and herbs are combined using Ayurvedic principles.

They have medically supervised weight loss programs, stress recovery programs and other programs personally designed.  The spa has the normal spa offerings along with vibrational and energetic therapies. Carol is very interested in and has researched extensively color and light therapy and each day the spa uses different colored light bulbs, colored and aromatherapy infused baths to soak in before treatments and products produced by the spa to support the various energy systems in the body.  I had a long talk with Carol and she talked of gathering spa owners around the country to create the first spa association and then pushing them to start including vibrational and energetic therapies.  She was warm and friendly as was all the rest of the staff.

Guided hikes and adventure programs are offered, as well as classes with mustang horses, personal coaching for life goals, stress recovery, tennis, golf and other topics.  The facilities sit on 17 acres and includes a labyrinth, several pools, tennis courts, indoor golf facility, fitness facility, classes and transportation and guides to hikes in the area.

The resort offers suites, 1 and 2 Bdr. Villas and a presidential suite. Also, next to the resort are privately owned 1, 2, 3, 4 bdr. condos that are rented out and include use of the family fitness facility, tennis courts, pools, golf facility and access to the spa. The resort is available also for corporate and other events.  The resort extends its facilities for community use, too, and hosts a regular Sunday gathering of various guest speakers.

The resort rooms start at $129 for room only and $200 a day including meals and access to all activities.

Green Valley Spa Nov 27 2012 Labyrinth at Green Valley Spa More Green Valley Spa Casita views Pools at Green Valley Spa

Red Mountain Resort and Spa, St. George, Utah

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 supervision, 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.  This one was on my list so I went to tour it while in St. George.

 

Red Mountain Resort and Spa wins many awards, receives a lot of repeat business and is quite well known and regarded. The staff was friendly and have me a personal tour then I walked around some on my own.  It is in a beautiful red rock setting, has over 50 fitness classes, nutrition classes, cooking classes, specialists to check for things like bone density and other health related issues, and they are committed to setting up a personalized program to assist you in obtaining your personal health and fitness goals.  It has 82 rooms and 24 villas, one restaurant, and is on 55 acres.  There is a full service salon and spa, a spiral labyrinth, hiking and biking trails, guided hikes, and is pet friendly. There are rooms for corporate retreats and family reunions as well as venues for weddings and other events.  The room rate starts at $200 a night and includes 3 meals a day and all the amenities, which makes it very reasonable for it’s class and offerings.

Although the setting was quite beautiful, and the rooms well appointed, I found the rooms more corporate feeling that what I prefer. Although I could see why it is so popular given it’s price, offerings, amenities,  focus on fitness and the meals included.

It is situated on the north end of St. George.

Rooms at Red Mountain spa Entrance drive into Red Mountain Spa Restaurant at Red Mountain Spa

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