Let’s face it: times are hectic. One way to slow down and reconnect with yourself is to book a wellness retreat, and there is no better place to do so than in beautiful Southern California. Start your journey to mental, physical, and spiritual health at these two wellness centers.
California Health & Longevity Institute
The Signature Retreat at the California Health & Longevity Institute inside the Four Seasons Resort in Westlake Village is a three-day, full-immersion into wellness lessons and planning for success in health. Participants leave the retreat armed with newfound knowledge on diet, meal planning, recipes, and cooking, as well as strategies for mental, physical, and spiritual wellness.
Days start with yoga and meditation promptly at 7 am, but the harder struggle may be just to get out of the beds, which seduce and soothe with a pillow top mattress, exquisite linens, and lavender aromatherapy.
After yoga and meditation — occasionally practiced in the onsite Chinese pagoda — guests are treated to culinary lessons taught by renowned chef, author, and dietitian, Paulette Lambert. Lessons cover cooking techniques, as well as tips and tricks to reduce caloric intake and make heathy meals without too much work. Recipes such as ancient grain porridge and 380-calorie breakfast burritos are taught in an interactive setting.
After breakfast, it’s time to work out. Inspiring personal trainers, including exercise physiologist, Scott Silveira, turn the exercise-phobic into fitness enthusiasts with helpful tips about the best ways to get the most out of your time at the gym. In addition to gym workouts, guests can go on guided hikes in nearby Malibu Creek State Park.
A big part of the program at The Signature Retreat is the time spent in lifestyle workshops led by wellness experts on topics such as “Sustainable Nutrition,” “Secrets to Your Metabolism,” and “How to Manage Stress for Better Health.”
Some workshops get deep about the connection between psychological challenges — anxiety, stress, boredom — and the tendency to over- or under-eat. Eating and body image psychologist, Alison Ross, teaches about maintaining and managing mindfulness, emotional eating, body image, and stress so triggers don’t lead to an empty bag of potato chips, greasy fingers, and feelings of shame.
In addition to fitness, psychological wellness, and culinary techniques, participants are rewarded with an assessment of their exact body fat percentage in the Bod Pod. The device determines the ratio of fat versus lean in your body composition. For many, it’s the kicker needed to give up donuts.
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
About 150 miles down the coast of California, you’ll find another truly spectacular wellness resort: Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa. Located in Fairbanks Ranch — where Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford sought to create their home away from Hollywood in the 1930s — Rancho Valencia comes with lush vegetation — including towering eucalyptus and citrus trees — and Mediterranean-style casitas, with private court yards, fireplaces, and five-star amenities.
The wellness program at Rancho Valencia is led by spa director, Kristi Dickinson, who invests in an experienced staff, great products, and best practices. Therapists and estheticians at the spa are trained by ASTECC — a comprehensive program focused on authentic spa traditions, natural remedies, and human connection. The result is a collection of therapies designed to heal, soothe, and repair.
In addition to a multitude of fitness options, such as Pilates, spin, hydrotherapy, and a full service gym with Peloton and pool, there’s also an amazing pavilion where yoga is practiced facing an infinity pool among the rolling hills. Guided meditation is also available daily here.
Improve your game or reignite your love of tennis with the renowned tennis program at Rancho Valencia. Guests can book a “Stay & Play Tennis” package, filled with lessons from two-time US Open champion, Robin White. There are 18 courts available, including with red clay.
Next time you’re feeling disconnected from yourself, add a few days to your California business trip and book into a wellness retreat. After spending time focused on your health and wellness, you’ll see an increase in overall productivity and happiness.