Parents’ Travel Guide: What to Do in Westlake Village With Kids

This upscale community provides a luxurious wellness retreat for families seeking excitement combined with serenity in Southern California.

Oct 29, 2014
Westlake Village, California
In Westlake Village, families can pivot in almost any direction to see the best of Southern California.
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

California’s Westlake Village is a hidden gem—it’s near Los Angeles, but very different. Picture hiking through fields of wildflowers in the spring; mountains that change colour with the seasons; and bright blue skies made possible by ocean breezes creeping inland through canyons.

The truth is that once you park the family at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, California, it might be difficult to leave. Both Condé Nast Traveler and Trip Advisor Channel rank the Spa at Four Seasons as one of the best hotel spas in the United States. Multiple lounging areas, a serenity pool, lifestyle classes and an extensive range of wellness and beauty treatments are designed to nurture mind, body and soul.

Creative, locally-sourced menus fill happy tummies while family-friendly activities around the property exist inside and out—making weather less of a concern. In this part of the world, the odds of sunshine are in your favour, especially during spring and summer.

Why go

  • Rejuvenate in a family-friendly environment. Have both inner and outer beauty addressed by experts, and check out feeling like a new person.
  • Farmers’ Market Breakfast. Weekends are a culinary treat at the Hotel. Each Saturday and Sunday, the Lobby Lounge transforms into an interactive Farmer’s Market Breakfast featuring local produce, organics, fresh breads and hearty favourites. Bold colour is everywhere: purple carrots in baskets, oranges piled high ready for juicing, fresh watermelon on ice and exquisite attention to detail.
  • Mercato Italiano. Return to the Lobby Lounge in the evening on Saturday’s to find the same spot decorated as an Italian Market, with the staff as festive as the real deal. Mercato Italiano includes wood-fired pizza, custom-made bruschetta, cured meats and a not-to-be-missed gelato cart. (An extra hour at the gym downstairs is worth a few extra bites here.)
  • It’s easy. The Hotel has cribs, monitors, step stools, DVDs, etc., to lessen the strain on your luggage. Early morning coffee (in addition to the ever-important in-room coffee maker) and muffins in the lobby curb pre-breakfast meltdowns. Other perks: The freeway is right around the corner; your kid’s will master the property’s layout on the first day; and, there’s 24-hour laundry service.
  • It’s comfortable. Collapse onto a huge bed in a sun-filled room. Use ample storage space to settle in for your stay of active leisure or spa zen. Roam from room to pool in plush robes to make the Hotel feel like home.
  • Location. The Hotel is located roughly half-way between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, a 25-minute drive to the beaches of Malibu, close to local farms, uphill from outlet shopping and around the corner from a kid-friendly presidential library—to name a few. Tip: It’s best to have a car.

What the kids will love

  • The indoor heated pool and Jacuzzi beneath a huge glass roof—inflatable pool toys and noodles included. Order up snacks, lounge on a chaise, or go out the side door to the patio.
  • Running around, playing horseshoes and other games on the Activity Lawn.
  • Kids’ Activity Room. Grab a key from the Concierge and head downstairs to play games as a family or watch DVDs. Older kids surf the web, play Foosball, listen to music and make new friends in their own Teen Activity Room. Pool table included.
  • The gelato cart at Mercato Italiano. OK, you’ll love it, too. Be sure to try the salted caramel flavour.

What you will love

  • California Health & Longevity Institute. There is so much to learn here, including how to navigate the grocery store, posture assessment and cooking classes.
  • Ocean breezes and wine. Explore Malibu’s tasting rooms on a luxury tour while catching glimpses of celebrity homes and plenty of gorgeous scenery. Curiosity peaked, but short on time? Sample Malibu and other local wines all over the Hotel, including in-room dining.
  • Farm-to-hotel eats. It’s not just the wine—food is locally-sourced whenever possible. See it all first-hand by picking your own vegetables and learning about organic produce at nearby operations such as McGrath Family Farm or Underwood Family Farms’ Moorpark location.
  • World-renowned golf clubs. Choose from six nearby courses, and enjoy exclusive access to Sherwood Lake Club, a collection of Jack Nicklaus’ premier par-3 holes.
  • Spa experiences beyond the average massage. Try acupuncture, a Feng Shui makeover designed to unleash natural beauty, cosmetic dentistry or even treatments with the kids. Take a wellness class or have a personal fitness plan developed for you.

Look for

The big red pagoda next to the Spa—a stunning place to blow off steam and relax. The kids will love exploring the flowers, open space, the pond and rocks.

Eat this

Dine in

  • Despite the swanky atmosphere of ONYX Restaurant, it’s actually kid-friendly with crayons at the table and a menu designed just for them. Order the lobster roll and popcorn shrimp. This is a popular spot with the locals, so reservations are recommended.
  • Relax with in-room dining.
  • Try one of the weekend signature dining experiences: Mercato Italiano, the Farmer’s Market Breakfast or Jazz and Champagne Brunch.

Dine out

  • Build your own gourmet burgers at The Counter, within stroller-pushing distance of the Hotel.
  • The recipient of numerous accolades—including the best deli in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times—Brent’s Deli serves Reubens, latkes and delicious pancakes for breakfast.
  • In Malibu? Paradise Cove is a casual restaurant that’s right on the beach.

5 family to-dos

1. Lounge on a Malibu beach. Build sandcastles, catch a wave, read magazines and soak up rays on the popular white-sand shores that are often photographed with celebrities doing the same.

2. Eat well. Splurge, go healthy or meet in the middle. Signature Four Seasons dining experiences, on-property restaurants and in-room dining have well-rounded options, including healthier fare that doesn’t sacrifice taste. Even your kids may eat carrots for breakfast, just because.

3. Unplug. With complimentary WiFi, this might be difficult. Give in to the stress-free atmosphere and do it anyway in order to reconnect as a family.

4. Go outside. Hike, bike, horseback ride or search for wildflowers at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a one-of-a-kind national park. Other options included visiting a local farm or booking a whale-watching excursion—the choices are vast.

5. Learn. Forget boring history textbooks. Walk through Air Force One, see the first lady’s dresses, ride a horse with the Gipper and picnic on the gorgeous grounds at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. Or, visit The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, which makes learning the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria family-friendly through special programmes and events targeted at school-aged kids.


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