I cuddle next to one of the fireplaces in my casita with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and the New York Times that’s delivered to my room—a 25-year-old tradition of Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa that’s fast becoming one of my favorite daily rituals.
Outside is calm. Clouds are thick and gray with moisture, not the typical San Diego weather, but oh-so-soothing and quiet, as if the entire resort is in taking a long drink of rain. Bougainvillea sprays of Bird of Paradise pepper the lawns connecting the 49 all-suite casitas of the resort and I am convinced the reason people say rain is good luck is because of they’ve seen what it does to this resort.
I came here with the idea to revel in the warm air and relax with a beach day or two, but instead arrived to a refreshing opportunity to see San Diego in a different light. So here I am, sinking in relaxation thanks to their unbelievably comfortable beds, deciding on which morning workout I can handle.
As Southern California’s only Relais & Châteaux property, this Mediterranean-infused property embodies the perfect respite for couples and families. Located in Rancho Santa Fe, the resort is celebrating its 25th anniversary and recently completed a $30 million renovation including remodeled guest casitas, a brand new restaurant and new bar, and completely remodeled meeting space, as well as major enhancements to The Spa and fitness center.
My suite, like the other 48 suites on the property, comes stocked with all the necessities for a quick getaway. Each suite has an outdoor fireplace and lounge area next to their outdoor Jacuzzi—and yes, there is also an indoor Jacuzzi tub. If you need to leave your room, a quick walk will bring you to the clubhouse where guests can mingle over a game of croquet, test drive Porsches, eat at either Veladora or The Pony Room, relax by the nearby pool and have complete access to their fitness facilities and classes.
When I do decide to leave this cloud of a bed, I opt to try their TRX training as the rain dries before a tennis lesson with one of their pro instructors. And after, unravel with a seaweed wrap at their spa. One would think that would be enough to put me to sleep, but after each spa treatment, guests are given a small glass of “Wellness Journey,” a juiced blend of kale, apple and celery as a quick pick-me-up.
So here’s the thing about Rancho Valencia—you can easily get away with never setting foot outside of your suite during your visit thanks to their room service that reflects the menus offered at The Pony Room and Veladora, or can spend every moment exploring all the amenities the resort and spa has to offer and never feel like you’re doing the same thing twice.
Another day during my trip, I try my hand at a cardio tennis lesson before heading to Del Mar and Torrey Pines, and end the day with restorative yoga inside Rancho Valencia’s insanely serene yoga pavilion. Seriously, I almost fell asleep in there it was so relaxing.
The Spanish-style architecture transports you to the Mediterranean region, yet a 25-minute drive can bring you to downtown San Diego, allowing guests the freedom to discover nearby sights or detach themselves from it. The resort also offers a hacienda-style house as well as luxury villa ownership opportunities for those desert-dwellers who wish to make the most of their annual San Diego trips.
And if guests are interested in taking advantage of San Diego’s renowned craft beer scene, not to mention their proximity to Mexico and the rising tequila scene, the resort’s restaurants feature a wide variety of beers (and wine) on tap, and more than 150 different types of craft tequila to pair with the farm-to-table philosophy of each restaurant.
The rain has completely stopped and the clouds have lightened up, leaving the grounds crisp and glistening. I dare not disturb the peace so find a place at The Pony Room with a glass of The Silver Pony, a signature cocktail celebrating the silver anniversary of the resort, and breathe in the post-rain sunset that leaves me feeling incredibly lucky.
To learn more about Rancho Valencia, visit www.ranchovalencia.com
[Photos Courtesy of Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa]