Imagine romance and practicality growing up and falling in love in Italian wine country, then moving to Southern California. That’s our slant on The Westlake Village Inn, an airy, almost poetic retreat just 40 minutes north of LA proper.
The Westlake Village Inn is still in Los Angeles County but much closer to the sunny shores of Malibu, an easy top-down drive to the beach, shopping outlets and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Because it’s so close to quite a few corporate headquarters, it’s a favorite of business travelers who get to indulge in a boutique, estate-like stay with all the trimmings of a leisure getaway. But this, according to director of sales & marketing Maria Solorzano, is also “the place to stay and play.” Fragrant gardens, rose arbors and trellises with ivy swirling about have made for such a beautiful backdrop that Hollywood often comes calling—the property has welcomed the likes of “XXX” with Vin Diesel, “Desperate Housewives,” “My Fair Wedding” and others, as well as numerous interviews with celebrities. “The Westlake Village Inn is also the host hotel for the Tiger Woods Golf Tournament,” adds Solorzano.
The property’s gorgeous gardens and air of quiet elegance and seclusion is also a big reason why it hosts a few hundred weddings a year. Several outdoor sites, including a lakeside gazebo heavy with the scents of lavender and rosemary, a Tuscan-like setting with a pergola and a cascading waterfall set in The Westlake’s working vineyard, find their way into the hearts and videos of many newlyweds. Reception areas are also plentiful, but there’s a clear winner here for an intimate fete or a rehearsal dinner: a wine cellar complete with stone-covered colonnades, wine barrels and a private bar, heavy in ambiance and with views of the man-made lake.
The pet-friendly property’s Mediterranean-style buildings house 141 rooms and suites, each a study in cozy chic with daily USA Today delivery, refreshment centers and either patios or terraces. We loved the sight of freshly cut flowers, a Keurig coffee maker and especially the fireplace in our room, which came in handy during cool nights. The largest suite of them all is the 1,500-sq.-ft. Villa, a 2-story extravaganza large enough to use part of it as a hospitality suite, complete with its own bar area and yes, a grand piano.
Next door, across from some of the rooms, is the tree- and lake-dotted 18-hole Westlake Village Golf Course, a local favorite with its own driving range and putting green. Both the greens and the lighted tennis courts were busy with activity during our visit, with the hotel’s pool filled to the hilt as well despite it being a weekday.
Another Westlake perk is guests’ complimentary use of bicycles—some with flower-filled baskets for added inspiration—so they can explore their surroundings. “They can enjoy a scenic ride around the lake or appreciate the nature of the Santa Monica Mountains,” says Solorzano. The staff will gladly prepare a picnic basket for their offsite adventure or arrange visits to area attractions. Upon their return, they can get refreshed with a poolside or in-room aromatherapy massage or other treatment from Remedy Skin + Body, the onsite spa.
Then there’s the dining angle at The Westlake. Mediterraneo, has long been a local favorite for area residents, with an open kitchen and a full menu of European and Italian fare that includes a lovely Colorado lamb sirloin and salmon nicoise. Steps away is Bogie’s, a stylish, Art Deco-infused lounge and bar with a dance floor, well known for its martinis and private cabanas.
The new addition? The coffeehouse-by-day, wine-bar-by-night The Stonehaus. Set within the hotel’s vineyard, the place offers roasted coffee options and freshly baked goodies in the morning; as evening nears, rotating menus and wine and cheese tastings make an appearance. According to Solorzano, this is guests’ and area residents’ go-to place these days. “…You feel like you have been transported to Europe! The Stonehaus offers over 150 wines from all over the world,” she explains. “Our guests like to sip on a glass of wine sitting by the fireplace in the stone courtyard while looking over our private vineyard.”
Some epicurean experiences at The Westlake Village Inn to look forward to: a famous Easter brunch buffet; a harvest crush in the fall, and wine dinners in the vineyard.
Rates at The Westlake Village Inn start at $149 for a guestroom and $160 for a suite.
The Westlake Village Inn: (800) 535-9978; westlakevillageinn.com