On a recent trip to Southern California, I checked out two spas, one a hip, brand-spanking new spa, the other, a time-tested, Old-world style getaway. And I can't lie: at both places I had the best of times.

The spa is ultra-modern, mostly white (white curtains, white carpeting), and very serene, with the exception of the disembodied ceramic hands sprouting from the walls. In the waiting lounge the expected healthy almonds and berries are on offer, as well as a refreshing agua fresca, whose flavor changes daily. (On my day, it was peach).

We also took an aquatic class that was the first one I've seen that wasn't geared toward the 65-and-over-crowd. Called Hydro Rider, it's basically spinning under water, using a bike specifically designed for pool use. The resistance from the water obviously makes the pedaling somewhat slow going, but it was a great workout and I definitely felt it in my legs the next day.

The minimum stay at Cal-a-Vie is a half-week "La Petite Session," which starts at $3,795. Weekly rates start at $7,295.