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Best of Health & Beauty 2018

BY The Editors | January 17, 2018 | Feature Features National

Best of Health & Beauty in San Diego
Observatory at Cal-a-Vie


One of the nation’s favorite destination spas, Cal-a-Vie, the classic sanctuary just north of San Diego with a 5:1 staff-to-guest ratio, 440 acres dotted with stone villas, and a renowned culinary program, has always felt a bit like wandering the Proven├žal vineyards of a wealthy friend. Perhaps to drive that idea home (and to emphasize that this spa is about abundance over asceticism), this year it added a white varietal, 2016 Chateau Cal-a-Vie sauvignon blanc, to its Chateau Cal-a-Vie estate-grown wines. But as timeless as Cal-a-Vie is, it’s also about fusing tech and wellness. This year, it introduces Muse, a brain-sensing headband that provides guests with real-time audio feedback on what’s happening during meditation, and WellnessFX, which gives guests a blood test, personalized consultation, and habit tracking that practitioners will help program into smartphones. If this all sounds like the tech you’re itching to get away from, go off the grid on one of 11 new hiking trails (Lavender Lane ascends one mile for the only view of Cal-a-Vie’s labyrinth). The spa’s most breathtaking addition, however, is its new observatory. Perched on a remote, light-free hill for maximum visibility, it seats 26 guests in chairs procured from Houston’s original AstroDome (Cal-a-Vie owners Terri and John Havens are also part owners of the Astros). Unwind and look at the stars under panoramic big screens or through the high-powered telescope, perhaps with a glass of the house grape in hand. Now that’s a spa experience everyone can love.

Molecular biologist Dr. Pauline Burgener combined her knowledge with the heritage of her father-in-law’s plastic surgery practice in Lausanne, Switzerland, to introduce her ultra-high-end line, Dr. Burgener, newly carried at The Spa at Fairmont Grand Del Mar, only the second spa in the country to offer it. Sign on for the 90-minute Grand Cru Facial, which includes microdermabrasion and an ultrasound infusion. Chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir combine in the Repairing Grand Cru Gold Complex (in dermatology parlance, flavonoids, resveratrol and polyphenols for firmness—plus gold for its anti-inflammatory and pro-fabulousness properties). You’ll finish up with green caviar cream—a rare algae combined with stem cells, peptides and hyaluronic acid to stimulate collagen. At $450, it’s worth every penny. You’ll leave addicted both to the facial and to Dr. Burgener products, which range from $100 to $750 and will help you keep up that preternatural glow until you next need spoiling.

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