La Costa Resort and Spa

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Despite its decadent spa and state-of-the-art Athletic Club, which has registered dietitians and exercise physiologists at the ready, one of the most famous aspects of La Costa is the fact that it’s home to the Chopra Center, founded by Deepak Chopra. The center is built around the ancient principles of Ayurveda and enjoys “an ideal marriage” with La Costa, says Rapozo, as its spa, services and therapies complement the Spa at La Costa well. Although the likes of Oprah rave about the Chopra Center, it actually offers affordable services and consultations, including 6-day wellness programs for groups of up to 25 called “Perfect Health” where people are taught how to achieve better overall health through Ayurveda, yoga, meditation and purification rituals.

the nitty-gritty Large and multi-generational families gravitate toward La Costa’s villas, which “always sell out,” says Rapozo, thanks to a spacious “home-away-from-home” feel and different sizes. Many have full kitchens and washer/dryers, plus fireplaces in the bedrooms and patios for cool California evenings. Rooms and suites overlook gardens and golf grounds, and are done up with large marble bathrooms, plush bedding and wood and leather accents, including delicious armchairs to sink into. La Costa is undergoing a comprehensive property refresh that will be done in two phases: the refurbishing of guestrooms should be done by next March, plus there’s a renovation of the conference center and other amenities coming up.

The dining star at La Costa? Blue Fire Grill, which does California dining in grand style with options such as pomegranate gazpacho and braised short ribs with saffron risotto.

Earlier this year, La Costa earned a Bronze level rating from Green Seal, which provides science-based environmental certification standards. Among the sustainable highlights: it’s one of the first kitchens in San Diego to install compost machines so that food waste can be turned into soil for its landscape; uses reclaimed water and environmentally preferable cleaning products; and takes advantage of golf course equipment that operates only on biodegradable oil. In 2008 alone, La Costa saved enough electricity to power 200 homes.

Rates for October through March start at $223-$293 for a Plaza room and go up from there, depending on room type. La Costa also has a Stay Longer – Save More booking promo through Dec. 31 for travel through March 2011 where guests get a third night free valid for Sunday, Monday or Tuesday arrivals with about 33 percent off regular rates, or a fourth night free on any arrival pattern with 25 percent off regular rates.