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Four Seasons Westlake Village - Wellness Spa + Retreat

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Finding Balance | A Girlfriends’ Wellness Spa Weekend Retreat Quiets the Noise

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Four Seasons Westlake Village

Got goals? A wellness spa retreat refresher can retune your body, mind and spirit.

Two lifetime friends who share fast-paced careers, active families and enough stress to bring down a giant are now part of the sandwich generation caring for kids and parents at the same time. So, what can reset one’s mindset and lifestyle faster than stopping to smell the eucalyptus during a wellness spa weekend retreat for two?

Anne and I took nearly a year to get this real-life pause on the calendar, and only the commitment of two friends kept us from canceling this trip. We calendared the dates, made provisions for our families, scheduled time off work and just did it. 

We packed our yoga mats, reusable water bottles and sun hats, and journeyed to Westlake Village, a little town outside of Malibu, California, with views of the Santa Monica Mountains. We agreed that we’d embrace all this weekend could offer us and kept an open mind to get out of our comfort zones and experience everything. 

Four Seasons Westlake Village

It all started with our wellness coordinator, who focused on our individual goals to personalize our time at the Center for Health & Wellbeing on property at Four Seasons Westlake Village. Sarah helped us create our ideal stay, complete with fitness classes, assessments and one-on-one consultations led by experts committed to our wellness journey. Of course, that also included healthy meals and time in the world-class spa.

There are options as to how to program your stay—some opt for group retreats, some are locals with memberships and then there were the two of us that packed a lot of healthy, good stuff into three days on what was called a wellness spa weekend.

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Upon arrival, we toured the facilities, got our itineraries and then found spots at the beautiful spa pool, where we unwound from our trip and enjoyed a lovely lunch. 

Tasty

Photo by Renee Dee

An hour later, we were off to our assessments—I tested my VO2 max to determine at what heart rate I should work out for optimal results, and Anne stepped into the BodPod for a body composition analysis. Once we determined we were not as fit as when we were 20, but not bad for today, we moved on to a sound bath meditation class–one of the available wellness electives—before dinner. 

With the knowledge that our high school bodies had not completely given up on us, we fine dined our way through a decadent, yet healthy menu at Four Seasons Westlake Village’s Coin & Candor. Chef Jesus Medina’s menu offers health-conscious, wood-fired local dishes. We enjoyed octopus with charred serrano chili aioli and a wild mushroom truffle risotto. We also shared the striped bass with tomato mole and brussels sprout leaves, and finished with an apple tart tatin because, hey, we’ll be working out all day tomorrow.

And indeed, tomorrow came too fast, and we ran out of our room like executives late for a meeting with a cup of coffee to go in our hands. We had an 8 a.m. meeting with Jenny, our fitness coach, soon to be Tai chi instructor, who spent an hour teaching us stretching exercises for people who sit at desks and then a great express workout for women who want to be their flexible, active best. 

Coin & Candor

An hour later, Jenny handled us off to Rod, who had an obstacle-course set up on the event lawn of the resort. There, we met a fitness member who worked out with us on a circuit-training loop that made us remember why you eat breakfast in the morning. As the day went on, we had life strategies coaching, where we talked about stress-reducing strategies, a session on intuition and some marvelous wellness spa appointments followed by time in the spa steam room, sauna and jacuzzi. Oh, and we shopped at the spa boutique and purchased some fun finds (I love spa boutiques!). 

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Keeping up with our healthy weekend, we thought it healthy to sit by the pool at sunset and enjoy some friend time and a glass of rosé before heading to dinner. While we dined at Coin & Candor again, we enjoyed entirely different selections, noting the versatility of the chef.

For our third day, we again met up with Jenny, who is a patient Tai chi instructor with graceful movements. She explained the benefits of the practice and honestly, this was one of the big takeaways from the trip—more Tai chi please. Both energizing and relaxing, Tai chi causes you to have to calm your mind and be present and active in almost every muscle in your body. We loved it, and I loved gaining a greater understanding of the practice. It resonated with me big time. 

Renee and Anne

We indulged in a yummy Saturday brunch and then left the property for a local hike. Even though it took us an hour to reach the trailhead, we hiked the path and returned to the Four Seasons Westlake Village with 20,500 steps achieved. It’s a good reminder you can do anything with the support of a good friend. Plus, we talked the whole way. Pool time was in order next, and our wellness coordinator booked us a lovely private cabana soaking up the sun and reminiscing about our amazing three days together.

We walked into town that night—keeping the wellness theme going—for sushi and another sunset. By morning, we were feeling oh, so relaxed, rejuvenated and refreshed. We had done it! We quieted the noise, engaged in lots of healthy activities and gained some new tools we’d take home with us and make part of our lives going forward with renewed energy and purpose.

I’d like to end this story by telling you that Anne’s plane was not canceled, and that we didn’t race to get her to an alternative airport to get her home. But, alas, I will tell you that we did it with a calm perspective and knowing that we learned strategies over the last three days that would cause us to remember that this alone will not take us out of a Zen state. We learned that we could handle what life hands us—and in fact, wasn’t that part of what we were to learn this weekend?

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