Sobering Vacation

Expensive, luxury treatment programs are quickly becoming the highest profile treatment programs. This, combined with the Foley/Gibson/Kennedy coverage, is troubling when one considered the historical cycles of public backlash against treatment programs perceived as havens for the rich.

Each sumptuous bed here at a retreat called Promises has been fitted with Frette linens and a cashmere throw. The elongated pool beckons as does the billiard room beyond, tucked into the Santa Monica mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

But not just anyone can come to this exclusive getaway — and really, not many would want to. Promises is an addiction-treatment center that caters to a mix of celebrities, corporate chiefs, their families and people who want to live like them.

Promises is part of a growing niche in the burgeoning business of addiction treatment: centers that are truly, deeply luxurious. With more than a dozen recovery centers in this seaside village, Malibu has become the center of the high end of the industry — perhaps logically, given its resort-like location, enclaves of celebrity homes and proximity to Los Angeles, a city whose primary industry is rife with partying and free-flowing cash. California law has helped by allowing rehab centers to be located in residential neighborhoods if they have no more than six beds.

At Renaissance, where a staff of 50 caters to a dozen patients, one bedroom suite for a single resident measures 2,000 square feet — as big as many three-bedroom homes. Another center, Harmony Place, will supply personal concierges and pedicures if patients ask. A few miles north of Promises on the Pacific Coast Highway, Passages offers surfing instructors. Clients stroll around in swim trunks chatting on cellphones in a sprawling sea-view mansion that is hard to distinguish from a luxury resort.