As California and the rest of the United States are beginning to return to some form of normalcy after what was a year we’ll never forget, the California State Tourism Board has launched a campaign to entice its residents to keep their travel in-state.

I decided to take the plunge and experience some of the beautiful properties located in my own backyard. First on my list is Westlake Village Inn, an iconic landmark with an over 50 years heritage, located halfway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Photo by Victor Elias Photography.

After passing through the inn’s wrought iron gate, one immediately realizes the upcoming stay will be magical, as one discovers the property’s lush, green landscapes, cobblestone paths, vineyards and captivating gardens. (Not to mention the lovely welcome gift in my suite – a bottle of Veuve Clicquot rosé.)

The iconic landmark was established in 1968 by international financier, developer and philanthropist, John L. Notter, fondly known as the “founding father” of the City of Westlake Village. The Swiss native’s vision included opening the inn as a 75-room hotel serving as a stopover between Los Angeles and California’s Central Coast along the historic El Camino Real. Over the years, the property has evolved and expanded within its natural surroundings becoming a secluded deluxe retreat for leisure and business guests.

Adjacent to the 18-hole Westlake Village Golf Course, Westlake Village Inn today features 17 acres of outdoor space, 156 rooms including 90 suites and a 1,500 sq. ft. free standing villa, with wonderful dining and entertainment options. The property is home to some of the most popular hotspots in the area, including Stonehaus winery, a boutique enoteca reminiscent of Italy, Bogie’s nightclub on the Vista Terrace, perfect for cocktails and dancing, and Mediterraneo, a European-style upscale restaurant with a beautiful outdoor dining patio overlooking the lake.

Mediterraneo Dining Patio


Last year, just prior to the pandemic, the property underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation, unveiling Spa Relais, a world-class retreat inspired by the great spas of Europe. The impressive addition includes a 25,000-square-foot luxury spa, a fully equipped gym, a magnificent pool with two lounge areas, a health-conscious café, and a 14-suite boutique hotel.

Balcony View from Suite

Owner John L. Notter and COO Chris Cuilty collaborated with architect Doug Mansfield to create an exceptional destination for those who crave high-end spa treatments in a luxe environment. Spa Relais’ design is reminiscent of a Tuscan village with its traditional stone buildings, arched brick doorways, flowing fountains, statuary, flower-filled courtyards, reclaimed bricks and barn wood, and a magnificent bell tower. Guests are immediately transported to a serene Mediterranean paradise that combines Old World charm with modern sensibilities.

John L. Notter and Chris Cuilty

The spa offers separate men’s and women’s locker rooms that embody coastal-chic sophistication, a dramatic sun-filled lounge crowned by an impressive Murano glass chandelier and accented by objets d’art, all personally selected by owner.

Photo by Victor Elias Photography.

Personalized attention is the hallmark of the spa. Guests are invited to enjoy complementary foot soaks, refreshments, and use of the magnificent outdoor pool, cold-plunge pool, Jacuzzi, quiet rooms, saunas, and dressing rooms stocked with high-end amenities.

All spa therapies are designed with the healing properties from the earth, sea, air, and vine in mind. Each treatment incorporates signature skin and body products, including ingredients derived from every part of the grape to nourish the skin.

Services are enjoyed in 13 custom treatment rooms named after grape varietals, all with private patios and outdoor showers, with corner rooms having copper soaking tubs, and couples’ suites with fireplaces and soaking tubs.

I was lucky enough to enjoy the “contouring crushed cabernet scrub,” a deep exfoliation and slimming treatment, which can only be described as divine! As you lay on a state-of-the-art infrared waterbed, a scrub containing six organic essential oils, cabernet grape seeds, honey and brown sugar is applied, leaving the skin looking radiant, smooth and toned. The scrub is then washed away with a Vichy shower. One thought comes to mind – True Bliss! It’s no wonder the spa is becoming a celebrity favorite.

Photo by Victor Elias Photography.

I had the chance to spend one night in one of the beautifully appointed suites (including a fireplace) and prior to my departure, enjoyed a delicious in-room breakfast on my patio overlooking the quaint koi pond.

Photo by Victor Elias Photography.

Definitely a stay to remember!

Photos/Videos Courtesy of Westlake Village Inn.

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