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THE SPECIAL YEARS : 50 AND BEYOND: THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE : Getaway Guide to 'Woopie' Weekends : Well Off Older People (Age 50 to 65) Are Very Active Trekkers. Not Only Do They Have More Disposable Money, They Also Have the Time to Spend It. And Spend It They Do.

May 04, 1989|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a regular contributor to The Times' travel section.

It must be downright discouraging to the yuppies that the "woopies" are having so much fun--woopies being Well Off Older People, more singularly known as mature travelers.

The travel industry has found these travelers, age 50 to 65, to be a distinct market from the true seniors, those 65 and older. The mature travelers are very active and not only have more disposable money but they have the time to spend it. And spend it they do.

Today's active mature travelers are not fools. They'll gladly accept discounts and other benefits offered them to travel mid-week to help fill a resort's rooms. That means easier access to golf courses and tennis courts.

Mature travelers don't mind spending the bucks on travel, but they do demand value. Here are some of the places you might find them in Southern California:

SOMEWHERE EAST OF TIBET

It was appropriate that Frank Capra chose Ojai Valley to serve as the location shot for Shangri-la for his 1937 "Lost Horizon."

Somehow you do feel younger in sequestered and sophisticated Ojai. Many discover that feeling on the lush fairways of the Ojai Valley Inn and Country Club.

Reopened last year after a $36-million renovation and expansion, the 60-year-old resort now has 218 rooms and suites, modernized and updated but maintaining the 1920s version of Mission architecture.

The 200-acre resort offers eight tennis courts (four lighted), two heated swimming pools (one is a 60-foot lap pool), a spa, exercise rooms, and cycling, jogging and hiking trails.

There are four indoor and terrace dining areas, a lounge, room service and such appreciated amenities as no-smoking rooms, in-room mini-bars, and terry-cloth robes. All this and attentive service has earned the resort a four-star rating by Mobil Travel Guides for 1989.

The Ojai Luxury Golf Holiday runs three days, two nights at $298 per person, double. It includes two breakfasts, two dinners from a choice of the inn's restaurants and menus; unlimited course play, and free driving-range balls.

The Ojai Tennis Holiday costs $178 per person, double, for a three-day, two-night stay, with luxury accommodations, two breakfasts, court fees, and free tennis-ball-machine practice time.

There are also fitness holidays, honeymoon and anniversary package plans, and a bed-and-breakfast rate. For information and availability, telephone toll-free (800) 422-OJAI. Ojai is 73 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

SEE THE SPA BY THE SEA

Down at San Diego's colorful cusp of Coronado, where the venerable Hotel del Coronado is now in its 101st year of operation, a French ingenue, the Le Meridien, is debuting for its first summer season.

Situated on 16 prime acres of bay-front property, Le Meridien has 300 rooms, suites and villas, three swimming pools (one a 75-yard lap pool), six tennis courts, a health club and spa, and two excellent restaurants (plus 24-hour room service).

All this is situated amid a lush garden ambiance with lagoons, waving palms and a low-rise resort setting with a dazzling view of downtown San Diego.

The resort would appeal to any vacationer, not only the mature traveler. Likewise, all would enjoy the free daily introductory clinics in golf, tennis and other sports, such as wind surfing.

Ah, but for those women who modestly admit to mature years, Southern California's newest resort also offers Le Meridien Spa and Clarins Institut de Beaute.

In addition to a full program of such spa treatments as special baths, herbal wraps and massages Le Meridien is the first spa in the United States to offer the highly regarded skin-care treatments and products of France's Jacques Courtin-Clarins.

(And, this being an equal rights article, mature men also are welcome to all spa and beauty treatments.)

With its range of sports and spa activities, Le Meridien has a number of special package plans. They start from the two-night Bed and Breakfast at $144 per person, double, that includes a luxury room and two breakfasts.

Spa programs also vary--from a One Day Rejuvenator with a low-cal spa lunch, Swedish massage, Clarins facial, herbal wrap and fitness class for $124 up to a four-day, three-night package that offers up to 14 spa services, plus accommodations and spa meals for $822 per person, double occupancy. For informationtelephone (800) 543-4300.

A MOST CONGENIAL SPOT

You could spend a bit of time in Camelot with a one-night (or longer) package at Griswold's Claremont Center, where the Lerner & Loewe musical is encamped until mid-June.

Long popular with mature travelers, Griswold's attractive Candlelight Pavilion features Broadway musicals in a spacious dinner theater; dinner shows are offered Wednesday through Sunday, with Saturday and Sunday lunch matinees.

Griswold's has a package that includes a deluxe room, dinner and show for $60 per person, double occupancy. And there's plenty of time left to enjoy a swim in the pool or stroll in the 17-acre landscaped acres.

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