The Brokest Guys at the Rich Guy Spa: A Week at a Wellness Resort
Cal-A-Vie is located just outside of San Diego in beautiful Vista, California. It looks more like the French countryside. I’ll be honest, it’s ridic expensive. And I’m not ashamed to admit we sprung for a suite due to the fact that regular rooms don’t have TV. Our suite, #31, also had a spa bathroom larger than my first apartment. Danny couldn’t help but compare this place to a fancy rehab.
All of the queens have been here: Oprah, Barbra, Latifa. A certain Food Network star was there during our week. The rest — Titans of industry, CEOs, wealthy socialites, mothers and daughters, celebrities looking for relaxation and privacy. And us, the only guys with visible tattoos and maybe a little rough around the edges. We felt like bulls in a china shop. When we overheard someone claiming to have come to Cal-A-Vie for a “digital detox,” it solidified the fact they we did not fit in.
Have it your way.
For our usual travels, I spend weeks mapping out all of our plans. Where to stay, what to eat, things to do and how to do them. Here, no need. You pack (and not much) and go. A daily schedule is curated for you, tailored to your interests which you’re free to blow off. Ours generally had the two of us doing the exact same things, just as we like it. We took yoga classes in a chapel circa 1615 that was shipped from Dijon, France and reassembled on the premises. Danny discovered an interest in pilates. I was a complete teacher’s pet in Tai Chi. No lie, the instructor told me, “ you clearly have a background in dance and it really shows.” Wonderful, I excelled in an activity geared towards 80 years olds.
Self Care Isn’t Selfish
We may not have always completed the four suggested workouts a day (more like 1-2), but we were not about to miss any of the spa treatments. Hot stone manicures and pedicures, daily massages, facials, reflexology, and some that were new and novel like the seaweed wrap, scalp treatment, and leg rejuvenation. Danny and I truly enjoyed being manhandled and thoroughly pampered.
I could get used to this.
I got the feel that Cal-A-Vie has its share of demanding guests. They’re good at granting pretty much any request and I heard some doozies: Private meditation sessions in Spanish, a vitamin IV drip to be administered in bed, accommodations for an “emotional support” bird, 2 bottles of Pellegrino with ice delivered everyday at 4:30pm. (Ok, that last one was us). You’re set up with daily laundry services and they’re fast. Your clothing will be laundered, folded, and returned within a matter of hours. There’s also three times daily housekeeping. It’s like they’re daring you to find a towel on the floor or a piece of trash in your wastebaskets.
The food is farm to table and your preferences (in my case, shellfish allergy) are carefully considered. The chef takes it from there. You have a few options at breakfast, but aside from that, you don’t order. Fresh, super healthy, and delicious cuisine is brought to you. I can’t say that we weren’t struck by an occasional KFC craving, but tbh, we felt nourished and satisfied, a difficult feat when we chose to restrict our calorie count by probably half of what we’re used to. All meals were served with fruit iced tea (if it looks like wine, I assure you it is not) and an option of a hot tea from their expansive tea menu. The food highlights included gluten-free blueberry pancakes and pizza, turkey burgers, and sea bass. We all looked forward to the daily smoothie break.
A few things of interest…
Situated on 450 private acres, there’s a mess of hiking trails, swimming pools, clay tennis courts, basketball, horseshoes, and bocci. There’s also a labyrinth, private observatory, and a floating fucking duck sanctuary.
Of all of the crazy things about this place, this one is my favorite: There are no keys. I’ll repeat. You do not have a key to your room. You go about your business leaving your door unlocked. Can you wrap your head around that one? We walked around for a week just trusting one another.
Friends we made, most repeat visitors, clued us in on a few secrets. You can request snacks to be brought to your room after dinner like a fruit or cheese plate. The seasoned popcorn is quite popular. The guacamole and chips though is a guarded secret. Another tidbit that not everyone knows is that you can have a private dinner for up to 4 served in the windmill.
After 7 days, 16 spa treatments, a total of 8400 calories, and having spent an entire week in yoga pants and bathrobes (and no makeup, which for me is huge), my chakras are all aligned. One of our instructors said anytime you notice something new about life, you’ve made an accomplishment. Here’s what I now know: I don’t need caffeine, I do need tv and wifi, and billionaires are people too.