The Southern California Four Seasons Westlake is a great halfway spot between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. From Los Angeles it’s about a 40-minute drive north, if you time the traffic right.
Owner billionaire American businessman and philanthropist David Murdock built the resort was after losing his mother and later his wife Gabriele to cancer. Murdock focused on helping researchers find a cure for the disease, while extending life through wellness and nutrition. He established the Dole Nutrition Institute, and in 2006 opened the California Health and Longevity Institute and Four Seasons Westlake.
Walking inside, one feels as if they are more on the East Coast with the Federal style interior decor offering a mixture of Georgian along with Neoclassical and Asian Art. It feels as if you are walking inside Murdock’s opulent estate.
Checking into my deluxe room overlooking the Westlake foothills, I admired the spacious California King bed with its soft white duvet cover and monogrammed (with the Four Season emblem) white pillows. The spacious marble bath offers a large shower and separate deep soaking tub. Two plush white bathrobes hang nearby.
I donned my bathing suit and took a swim in the outdoor pool, which was ringed with a confetti of yellow umbrellas. Attentive staff members lead guests to comfortable lounge chairs and offer complimentary iced water, sunscreen and magazines.
Later, I went back to my room to get ready for dinner with Robert Cima, the Regional Vice President and General Manager of the resort, along with Stuart Burdette Director of Marketing. I was eager to find out what’s new at this decade-old property.
“Soon the decor will be changed to a more elegant California Coastal design similar to the newer cafe STIR near the lobby,” said Cima. “We hope the renovations will be completed by May 2018. It’s going to be a $30 million dollar investment into the resort.”
I also learned that Four Seasons Westlake with the Wellness Center is the busiest spa in all of the Four Seasons properties, with roughly 120 treatments per day. “Our wellness therapists have to have 2000 hours of work experience before they can work here,” Cima said.
I told him I had to walk through the spa to get to the pool. He said: “Currently our interior pool is only for families, and our outside pool is only for guests 18 years and older. We are going to have a family pool outside with new cabanas.” With enthusiasm he also told me, “I also want to add a FlowRider surf machine.”
Also, the resort has hired new chefs to enhance their restaurants even more. They lured Executive Chef Jose Fernandez from The Peninsula Hotel. Originally from Spain, he trained at the Culinary School of Barcelona and enjoys using many of the fresh produce grown in this resort’s garden.
I sat down to dinner at the Wellness Kitchen and private dining room for a nine-course summer menu prepared by Fernandez, with the help of his friend and Executive Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy. We first started with gluten-free rolls, slices of French baguettes and tiny Parker House rolls served on a long wooden bread plank. Some were decorated with white and black sesame seeds, others with a sprinkle of Parmesan. Tiny bottles of herb-infused olive oil were available, to be poured for dipping.
Chef Jose’s menu focuses on highlighting healthy produce in his dishes. We started our first course with a smoked tomato tartar decorated with a sprinkling of citrus-basil watermelon and crispy, thin black Forbidden rice cracker. It offered a pleasing aroma, appearance and flavor.
Next was a grilled peach, mint, green bean and radicchio salad. “The peaches are from the trees around the resort,” Chef Jose told us. It was dressed with a light honey mustard vinaigrette. Other highlights of the dinner included semi-crudo Pacific salmon; garden zucchini flowers stuffed with goat cheese served with a delicious Romesco. I also enjoyed the sweet and savory grilled apricots and shallots on top of grilled pork belly.
Executive Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy is an expert in satisfying anyone’s sweet tooth desire. He makes candy cherries filled with cherry sorbet; cherries stuffed with chocolate; assorted bon bons, truffles and macarons. As with the spectacular bread plank, he arranged another plank filled with his sweet treats for us to share among the table.
Waking up the next morning, I went for one more swim in the serene pool, before heading back to the traffic and chaos of Los Angeles.
Next time you are in need of some rest and relaxation, the Four Seasons Westlake offers a healing environment to help you dextox all your stresses away.
To learn more and make reservations, go to http://www.fourseasons.com/westlakevillage/
Two Dole Drive, Westlake Village, CA (818)575-3000.