Access Malibu Review, Cost, Complaints

Access Malibu


The Basics 

Though there are many rehabs in Malibu touting high-end care for co-occurring disorders, many are simply too much for most to afford. Fortunately, Access Malibu is on a mission to change that. Though the facility itself opened in January 2015, it’s a sister location to Cliffside Malibu with a professional team already well-versed in Cliffside’s procedures. In essence, only half of Access’s staff are new; the other half are transferred directly from the flagship location.

Access Malibu is a Blue Cross in-network provider of detox and residential levels of care. We believe that Access Malibu is the only in-network treatment facility in Malibu.

As its name suggests, Access promotes the philosophy that not only the absolute wealthiest clients deserve the best treatment (their tag line, in fact, is “Now everyone has access to the best treatment”). To that end, the facility offers a full range of programs, including detox, residential treatment, Partial Hospitalization (PHP)/Intensive Outpatient (IOP), sober living and aftercare, at half the cost of most of its Malibu competitors.

Accommodations and Food

Despite its lower price, Access Malibu still puts priority on individual attention by having only six residents in primary treatment at any given time, with another 18 in the PHP/IOP track. Like Cliffside, Access is a completely self-contained recovery campus. The facility sits on three lush acres with dazzling views of Malibu’s white sand beaches—and there are no neighbors. The location is private, gated and only a mile from Cliffside.

The facility itself is a serene beach house with plenty of natural lighting, wood floors and elegant interior design throughout. One key difference between Access and Cliffside is that bedrooms here are each shared, meaning no private rooms. Still, all beds have 1000 thread-count sheets, down pillows and comforters. Each room has an attached bathroom that’s also shared; all are pristine white with twin sinks and mirrors. As an added bonus, residents have huge flat-screen TVs in their rooms, which come fully equipped with DirecTV and DVRs.

Aside from the rooms, Access boasts an expansive dining room with a long communal table and a similarly spacious kitchen with tiled walls and new fixtures, all white and silver. As at Cliffside, no expenses are spared when it comes to food service: all meals are organic, locally sourced and prepared by a team of expert chefs.

Treatment and Staff

Treatment at Access begins with a medication-assisted detox, after which clients move on to develop individualized treatment plans. As an extension of Cliffside’s approach, Access Malibu offers a range of philosophies to choose from. The Stages of Change model is used extensively, but clients can decide for themselves between a 12-step approach, SMART Recovery or a plan combining a variety of recovery techniques (developed with assistance from staff).

Residents are treated through a combination of individual and group therapy, with evidence-based practices including DBT, CBT and neurofeedback. Other cutting-edge techniques include orthomolecular therapy and hypnotherapy. Extensive dual diagnosis support is available as well—after all, Cliffside and now Access both work closely with Dr. Constance Scharff, a celebrated full-time addiction research fellow. Cliffside’s founder Richard Taite and Scharff even co-authored a best-selling book titled Ending Addiction for Good, which explains in detail their all-inclusive approach to recovery.

The minimum stay in the inpatient program is 30 days, though many residents stay for between 60 and 90. The outpatient offerings are somewhat more flexible, and can be a good option for those graduating from primary care. These programs include all the treatment options mentioned above, as well as classes on relapse prevention, healthy coping skills and life coaching.

Finally, after completing any of these programs, alumni can continue on to sober living at a discreet location in Malibu. Because of privacy concerns, the locations and specifics can’t be detailed but the house is just as luxurious as the main facility, and comes complete with three chef-cooked meals daily. Clients must be 18 or older to be admitted to any of the above programs.

Last but not least are Access Malibu’s staff, who are also nothing to scoff at. They consist of three therapists (with a PhD, MSW/ACSW and MS/LMFT, respectively), 14 resident advisors, a staff driver, two housekeepers (as bed turndown services are included) and a team of executive chefs. As mentioned, unlike most new rehabs there are no kinks to work out here—most of the new personnel are Cliffside veterans, and all have been extensively trained in addiction and recovery.


Access has a slew of holistic offerings for clients to take advantage of including yoga, massage, Tai Chi, fitness instruction, equine therapy and art and music therapy. Clients can also work-out in an on-site exercise room that rivals Equinox, which comes with free weights, leg machines, treadmills and chest machines. Although there’s no pool on-site construction is already underway on a Jacuzzi.

In Summary

In all, Access Malibu is a more than worthy addition to the rehab market and another commanding entry from the Cliffside brand. The environment is more spa meets top-notch clinical care than a traditional treatment program, with all the flexibility of the highest-end recovery at about half the price. The facility works with a variety of insurances to get clients the help they need, and is seriously worth looking into for comprehensive care at any stage. At half the cost of the typical Malibu luxury, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Access Malibu
5247 Horizon Drive
Malibu, CA 90265

Access Malibu Cost: $25,000 to $34,000 per month. Reach Access Malibu by phone at (800) 295-6490 or by email at [email protected]. Find Access Malibu on Facebook, Twitter and Google+

Do you have a complaint or review of Access Malibu to add? Use the comments area below to add your Access Malibu review.



  1. Access Malibu: wonderful food. intermittent one-on-one therapy (once a week at most). non-private meeting with psychiatrist weekly, with arbitrary meds, resident drivers to group therapy outside premises often reckless, lax oversight of patients’ behaviors. If you are over 20 years old, go elsewhere, where patients are serious about recovery.

  2. Coming in from Warren Park (rural Indiana) I never thought I could afford Malibu rehab. Not only did my therapist at Access help me work through some serious stuff , but the house is really nice. I’m so grateful to head home with a clear head. Love and light! – M

  3. It was a great experience. I loved my therapist. The staff was kind and respectful and the food was mostly above average.
    No pool but magnificent commercial gym. I now have 72 days sober for the 1st time in my life.
    I felt like they really cared, not like my other rehab experiences.

  4. 12 step is used. No SMART yet as not enough people have asked for it. Also, no equine therapy.

    The living situation sounds a lot nicer than it is. There are two houses. One is smaller and the other bigger for those in sober living and doing intensive outpatient. The small house smells like rotten egg, but you get used to it.

    It is a nice living situation. The care is not as personalized and top-notch as Cliffside, but you get what you pay for.

  5. kimberly franco on

    please call me in reference to treatment for my son asap. I left a message earlier today and I didn’t hear back from anyone yet. Thank you

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