For my final Four Seasons LA stay, my husband and I got in our car and started driving west out of the city, all the way to Westlake Village which straddles Los Angeles and Ventura county.
While I’ve driven up the Pacific coast to Malibu and Brentwood, I had never been as far inland as Westlake Village. It seemed like a slightly strange place to have a Four Seasons, and it felt even more so when we drove up to the property, located in a cul-de-sac not far off the Ventura Freeway.
But after we checked in and walked around the property, it made sense why the Four Seasons is there. The California Health & Longevity Institute is right next door, and the Four Seasons spa connects the properties. Staying at the hotel is a perfect accompaniment for the medical, dental and lifestyle services that the center provides (there’s a five-day Extreme Makeover weight loss package, for example). The hotel’s restaurants also have lower calorie CHLI items available on their menus.
The Four Seasons Westlake also seemed to be a wedding favorite in the area, with a room set up for prospective brides and curious guests to tour. I also noticed more conference attendees than you would see at other Four Seasons, which probably has to do with the price ($220 per night on Expedia, much less expensive than other properties under the brand).
Even high end hotel brands usually drop their prices for suburban locations. While the Four Seasons brand doesn’t use blind sites such as Priceline or Hotwire, they do have special rates listed on Expedia.
After the hipness of Four Seasons LA at Beverly Hills and the grandeur of the Beverly Wilshire, I was a bit disappointed by rooms at the Four Seasons Westlake. Unlike the others, which capitalize on either their location or their architecture, I felt like we could be anywhere. The property is nicely landscaped, however, and we did have a nice view of the grounds from our room.
My faith in the Four Seasons was restored, however, when I went to the hotel’s spa. It’s a sprawling masterpiece, with 41,000 square feet, 28 treatment rooms, 30 face and body treatments and 12 types of massages. The breadth of their program is no doubt due to the affiliation with CHLI mentioned above, and it also offers club memberships to locals. Yet despite the size, I still felt like I had personalized attention during my facial. And I loved the Japanese inspired Tranquility Room where I waited for my services.
Relaxed and glowing, I was ready for dinner. We had reservations at Mercado Italiano, the hotel’s new upscale buffet concept. When I had first read about the service, I was confused. A buffet? For dinner? At the Four Seasons? We didn’t know what to expect.
When we were ushered to our seats – low slung comfy armchairs and a small table – I looked around in surprise. The place was full and buzzing, mostly with locals who have embraced the concept. One table held three couples, clearly out on a date night (all of the women had identical Chanel handbags and all were wearing Christian Louboutin heels). Another group had parents at one table, their teenage children on sofas nearby. The city’s mayor – the real one, not a Foursquare equivalent – was also in the house.
Our waiter explained that we could grab a plate for the center buffet, which had several hot dishes, an olive bar, a bruschetta bar, made-to-order pasta with sauces and salads. Servers would come by our table with pizza slices and wine. Even though it was a buffet, the food reminded us of the best upscale Italian delis, like Philadelphia’s DiBruno Brothers or Dean & Deluca.
I came away from dinner more impressed with Four Seasons Westlake Village. It’s a difficult location, but it seems like the hotel has done a good job at marketing its services, such as the restaurant and spa, to locals. It’s not particularly convenient to people visiting Los Angeles (luckily, we were leaving on a Sunday so we didn’t have to face traffic back to LAX), but I’m not sure that’s their audience. If I was going back, I’d definitely want to take advantage of the CLHI partnership – and book lots of spa time.
My lodging during my Los Angeles trip was provided by Four Seasons, but my opinions remain my own.
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