Whether you're planning on celebrating the advent of spring with your significant other, or considering some quality alone-time to get back on track with your New Year's resolutions, I have the ultimate destination for you! Cal-a-Vie
, voted the #1 Destination Spa in North America by Travel & Leisure
, will exceed your expectations.
From the moment you arrive at this magnificent 200 acre retreat just outside San Diego, you'll feel transported to another world. The locale bears a striking resemblance to a small village in Southern France. The picturesque chapel where meditation class is taught was originally part of a Carmelite convent in Dijon, France, built in 1615. It was meticulously taken apart and reconstructed here in 2006. The newest addition to Cal-a-Vie also imported from Dijon, France is L'Orangerie, the beautiful cooking school/gala reception area next to the 400 year old Chapel. I should mention that Cal-a-Vie is also the perfect destination for a dream wedding or special event.
After you settle into your deluxe accommodations--there are 26 private and spacious Provençal-inspired villas lavishly furnished with 18th century French antiques, Frette bed linens, robes and slippers--you'll meet with staff to fine-tune your schedule. Mornings start with a vigorous morning hike or walk, or not, it's up to you. One thing that I was not prepared for was the 17,000 square-foot exercise pavilion filled with 16th and 17th century French and Italian antiques. Downstairs, The Great Room is dominated by an 18th-century tapestry commissioned by Louis XIV. The 17th-century Italian candle holders and a grand piano only add to the incredible atmosphere. Chances are you may not see much of the other guests since there are three spacious exercise rooms for fitness classes; a separate room for cardiovascular equipment; a Pilates and Gyro tonics studio; a weight room with resistance and strength machines and free weights. If you're focused on Mind-Body activities, there is plenty of yoga, meditation, tai chi and labyrinth walks in the beautiful gardens filled with lavender, honeysuckle, jasmine and roses.
Needless to say, since the ratio of staff to guests is 5 to 1, your every possible need is anticipated. I haven't even begun to describe Cal-a-Vie's menu of spa treatments, which includes beneficial therapies for women and men. Relaxing massages, a number of wraps, Vichy showers, reflexology, Thalassotherapy, hydrotherapy and aromatherapy rejuvenate the body as well as the spirit. You'll also enjoy hair and scalp treatments and hot stone pedicures in the salon along with an array of anti-aging facials. My personal favorite is the trio of Microdermabrasion with an Oxygen facial, which renews the skin at a deeper level, followed by the Microcurrent Facial Treatment, a highly effective toning of your facial muscles. All of this brings a sense of well-being and relaxation second to none.
Another pleasant surprise at Cal-a-Vie is the delicious and nourishing gourmet spa cuisine prepared by Chef Jason Graham. Best of all, you'll have the chance to learn some of the secrets of spa cookery during demonstrations in the kitchen and take some of this healthy knowledge home. All meals are nutritionally balanced with fresh, natural whole foods that are seasoned to perfection and I can assure you, the food is delicious and no suffering is involved!
In the end, the best part of this kind of get-away is the fresh mindset you come back with. The extreme pampering is blissful, but there's also something wonderful about trying all sorts of new exercises, classes, and meeting interesting, new people that opens your mind up to fresh possibilities. In addition to the regular packages, during the month of February, Cal-a-Vie will be offering a special "Romance In Art" program for guests who enjoy paintings and discussing great figures in art history. In March there will be a Women's Beauty Week to learn the latest from beauty experts who work with the A-list. For more information call (866) SPA-HAVENS or visit www.cal-a-vie.com.
Since it is a romantic destination, I thought of a couple of goodies you might want to take with you. Make sure to tuck Caswell-Massey's beautiful Cherub Long-Bar Bath Soap
or any of their new Fresh Cut Flowers products (www.caswellmassey.com) in your bag in anticipation of the wonderful long hot baths you'll be taking complete with fluffy Turkish towels and your own towel warmer. Ladies, you simply must snag a bottle of Nicole by Opi Nail Lacquer "Have A Heart"
for some Valentine merriment (www.nicolebyopi.com). It's a clear polish filled with adorable tiny red hearts!
Wishing for you all that is romantic and beautiful!
Fashion designer Mary Jo Matsumoto writes a nationally syndicated style blog at www.trustyourstyle.com. She is debuting a new line of fine jewelry and a women's couture line as well as expanding her successful luxury handbag line. To view her beautiful designs please visit www.maryjomatsumoto.com