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Retreat and Recharge

Lauren Finney | February 11, 2019 | Story Weekend Escapes National

Right before I’m whisked up PCH, I stuff my face with pizza at Gjelina in Venice, lamenting that it’s likely to be my last dose of carbs for the next four days. I hear the words “wellness retreat” and immediately assume I’m to eat nothing, be exercised to death and (hopefully) leave 10 pounds lighter.

California Health & Longevity Institute, adjacent to the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, does none of these things during its Signature Retreat. The wellness center helps those who want to live longer, healthier lives—all in a hospitality-forward setting. For the last 12 years, the wellness center has brought world-class science to everyone from C-level executives to everyday individuals looking to make a lifestyle change.

Over four days, a bevy of workshops, meals, hikes, and daily meditation and yoga are interspersed with spa and relaxation time. Registered dietitians, sustained living chefs (Paulette Lambert, RD, CDE, patiently debunks every food myth I bring up), exercise science coaches and psychotherapists lead me through cooking classes, guided meditations, body testing (the highly accurate tests are eye-openers) and more to put together a personally tailored experience in a small group setting. It is revelatory to be able to ask direct questions to these experts with only five other people in the room.

What ends up happening for this cynic is unexpected. Sure, the Champagne Ritual Manicure ($150) and the upgraded treatments in the spa’s world-renowned 40,000-square-foot facility (the adult pool is a slice of heaven) are delicious, but what really feels most indulgent is the time commitment. For four days, I focus on myself and resetting my lifestyle—and I have a team of experts focusing on me too. I’m never hungry and never exhausted. The concepts they teach are not complex—the simplicity of it all is astounding—but to have several days devoted exclusively to me is a revelation. I don’t lose 10 pounds (only a few), but I do gain a new perspective, learn so much and feel completely, totally at peace and rested. There truly is nothing more luxurious than taking the time—in style, of course, thanks to the hotel’s ongoing multiphase transformation to be completed next fall—for yourself. Packages from $2,106

Editor’s note: While the surrounding area was recently devastated by wildfires, the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village is fully functioning and welcoming guests.

Originally published in the January/February issue of Silicon Valley

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