Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa
Hotel in San Diego
5-Star Luxury Resort and Spa
Ten minutes till tennis! With her tiny feet tucked beneath her, my four year old sits on a fluff of Frette. She looks like a fairy on a cloud. Next to her, her big sister, adorned in a pint sized marshmallow terrycloth robe, custom made for the most petite of Rancho Valencia guests.
She looks like she doesn’t need to be anywhere else for the rest of her life. They’re noshing from a plate of welcome cookies and milk, still warm from the oven. Only the promise of pink could pry them from this scene.
A two-time US Open Champ, Wimbledon regular, and perhaps most importantly, a woman gifted in knowing pink is the universal bond between all girls six and under. Director of Tennis Robin White had the world’s most reluctant six year old giggling, swinging, and swatting in less than 60 seconds. There are probably more reasons why Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa has been awarded the #1 Tennis Resort by Tennis Magazine every year since 2008. But those 60 seconds were enough to convince me. With more accolades than I could keep track of, Robin made my daughter feel like she was the highlight of her career.
On an adjacent court, my husband was working his serve with Eduardo Sanchez, Head Tennis Pro, no slouch himself. Together they occupied two of eighteen gorgeous courts, steeped in sumptuous gardens engulfed by bean stalking greens. Beneath a pink sun, we stopped for a little lawn croquet, bougainvillea bread crumbing our way back to our home away from home, our villa, that which resort dreams are made of.
Less than two hours ago we were gridlocked on The 5. Our transformation began with this. The door was opened...
Vaulted ceilings. Bleached wood floors. Artisanal stonework. Leather wingbacks and luscious throws surround stunning fireplaces, indoors and out. Spacious doesn’t even touch it – our actual home could sit inside this villa. This is not exaggeration. This is square footage fact. The Casitas are successfully dressed to impress, and by God do they, but brilliantly, subtly so, in a way that brings all your comforts of home into your stay here. If your home so happened to be an acclaimed Relais & Chateaux enclave.
Having milk already stocked in the fridge for my four year old. Black truffle and white cheddar popcorn, Izze Pomegranate and Clementine, 18 Rabbits granola bars; gourmet snacks and refreshments are complimentary and replenished free of charge (please let this be the new trend in high end hoteling). The water comes out of the faucet filtered when I want to make a cappuccino (or four) in the Illy Espresso Maker (there’s a milk foamer too, naturally). Walk-in closets and not one but six plasma televisions between our room and our kids. Our own personal Jacuzzi beside our outdoor fire pit, with cushioned chaise lounges to spare. And a Japanese Toto toilet you have to sit to believe.
We are there, and we can barely believe any of it. The girls are picnicking on our private patio. My husband and my father along with them, are noshing on sea salt caramel popcorn. And I am due back at The Spa. All the while certain, this is living as Relais & Chateaux intended.
Waking to your own residence at the ranch reaches an apex of serenity that is no accident. The elevation of excellence is ever present, and unmistakable. From staff members knowing not just tree species by name (the stunner up front is a Florida Ficus) but by Efrain remembering not just my name, but my husband's, my parents, my children. From check-in, when they schedule your turn down service to synchronize with your dinner plans, as you’re greeted with glasses of blood orange iced tea. To the darling dappling of Valencia orange motif throughout.
Your spa robes are an orange and white seersucker (coupled with chocolate Havaianas), tangerine towels line The Spa, the linens subtly imprinted with the Rancho Valencia tree insignia (pretty sure it’s that Florida Ficus). The grandfatherly growth of citrus groves throughout. And how your every morning begins with fresh squeezed orange juice crated and delivered at your doorstep.
As I sit fireside on our last night here, jojoba’d hands and parafinned fingers, I feel blessed to have been a beneficiary of those who dared to heighten the hospitality bar. There is an art to fine living. The ingénues behind Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa have painted with gentility and grace, softly with a stroke of So Cal ease, elegance, comfort and cultured charm. Modern day artists at the very top of their craft. Rancho Valencia is their palate, and your palace to find peace, stillness, and serenity so lost in the day to day.
Visit as soon as you can. Then forgive me for making you long for it every day thereafter.
Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Ambience||Incredible Staff, Hidden Gem, Romantic|
|Services||Restaurant, Room Service, Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Health Spa, Conference Rooms, Wedding / Personal Event|
|Number of Rooms||53 Casitas style rooms incl. 35 Suites|
Casitas style rooms: Agave, Olive Grove, Palm; Junior and one bedroom Valencia Suites (from 900 to 1,300 sq ft). The Hacienda (Presidential Suite) is 5,000 sq ft. Luxury 3 Bedroom Villas (3,500 sq ft).
Renovations were completed just this past October. If divinity is in the details, then they have dotted every I. But it is not the 40 acres of details alone that leave you longing to return. It is the grand experience they have created. A walk into a world as you wish it to be. Scented with citrus, awash in well-being. If you’re traveling from Los Angeles it’s just over two hours away. Two hours, and one world, away.
Last updated on 22-03-2013