Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas. Soon we’ll be shoulder to shoulder with our fellows: elbows tucked in at the crowded Thanksgiving table, or slipping sideways between flocks of shoppers in filled-to-capacity South Coast Plaza. It’s time to frontload some solitude. Take your “me time” now while you still have the energy, funds, and presence of mind to enjoy it.
This is the spa of spas, simply gorgeous, and it’s in your backyard. Clusters of wildflowers and lavender are scattered across the gentle, rolling slopes of hillsides, and the 400-square-foot villa suites combine an unstudied, intimate French farmhouse aesthetic (wood-beams, whitewashed walls, and plank flooring) with boutique hotel touches (beautiful, one-of-a-kind antique pieces, delicate chandeliers, and bouquets of tea roses). The 200 private acres are dotted with what could be described as set pieces: a meditation labyrinth, a 400-year-old chapel lit only by candles, and a 17th-century stone dining hall, imported from Dijon, France, and then reassembled amid the vineyards. A true wellness spa, Cal-a-Vie offers dozens of fitness and “mind-body-spirit” classes. Gourmet food and spa treatments? But of course.
The 7-night European Plan—which includes a truly indulgent spa package—currently is $8,800 ($9,150 starting Jan.1). As for the solitude: those prices are based on single occupancy. Visit for more information.