Stepping into the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village this past weekend felt as close as I could imagine to walking into a John Hughes Christmas movie. With old fashioned holiday songs on the stereo, bellhops buzzing in black suits, handing out champagne to guests waiting in to check in, towering grand firs decked in rich gold ribbon glistening happily in the center of the lobby with a toy train circling round the bottom and children gathered, glossy eyed over this whole glorious scene as their parents and grandparents, dressed in wool coats and diamonds, secure their room key.
I've never stayed at a Four Seasons before so my first impression was a dazzling one. The boys and I (Mike, always buried with shop orders this time of year) came as guests for a night to experience and review the Winter Wonderland extravaganza. Which came with the added bonus of a surprise room upgrade. A 7th floor (swoon worthy) suite with more space (and beds!) than I even realized hotels could manage. My boys, more accustomed to stacking bodies onto fold out futons, or sharing cots as a more luxurious alternative to sleeping bags (which is more typically the case) splayed out on the ground whenever we travel.
This room, it was really something else. Three TVs, a big Jacuzzi tub, wide window views, and antique china. So cozy it was a hard to even want to venture out. But we did. Obviously in the good name of the Winterland adventure where we sipped hot chocolate under machine powered snowfall. Ate gourmet hamburgers for dinner, decorated sugar cookies with Mrs. Claus, laughed so hard it hurt watching Rex and Arlo spilling across the lot of a makeshift ice rink in skates they couldn't control, hitched a train ride with Hayes, and then showed up after all of it to sink our bones into that incredible heated indoor pool straight out of my wildest childhood fantasies where we stayed for almost two hours. I could have stayed there all night, but the Let it Snow festivities wore the boys out royally so it was only a matter of time before the terry cloth bath robes made it back on and we were all shuffling our way out of the hotel arcade room, and into bed for a late night movie to unwind.
Before we left our last indulgence was the breakfast buffet downstairs where characters mingled with guests and tables full of big families gathered in matching plaid pajamas to devours plates stacked high with all the delicious goods offered. Rex claims that he ate 8 pieces of bacon (all to himself) and if you knew anything about his love of bacon, one might be tempted to believe him.
Just before we were leaving, as life goes, I got a phone call informing me of an old family friend's unexpected passing. A call that sent a shock through my bones and a crack in my heart. A new despair I knew waiting outside of those big glass doors as I gathered our things to leave. Picking up my grieving best friend from the airport. Thankful for our night together, where we lived briefly inside of that sweet winter dreamland with all the best parts of the holiday season to hold us tight.
Winter Land Info Available HERE