Rancho Valencia

*****

If you think California is all about the ocean, you haven’t been to Rancho Valencia hotel in Rancho Santa Fe. Set inland from the Pacific, the cluster of Spanish-style bungalows is spread over 43 acres of flowering trees, manicured croquet fields, champion-staffed tennis courts and olive groves, with a spa and a top-notch restaurant at the core.

Highlights:

  • Vast gardens and grounds

  • Word-class tennis

  • All-natural spa

Smith extra

Breakfast for two each day

In the know

Also need to know:

Almost anything you forget can be found at the hotel's two boutiques. The main shop off the lobby has designer clothes and Alexis Bittar jewellery; the smaller shop in the spa has beauty products, gym gear and swimwear. The spa could be a destination all its own. Set off to the side, the building has its own adults-only pool, a Watsu treatment pool, a sauna and steam room and a fitness centre along with several treatment rooms for organic massage and facials. There is a spin studio, Pilates studio, and space for Zumba, boxing and TRX classes. The hotel offers several daily yoga classes, dawn hikes and other activities.

Packing tips:

Tennis whites: Rancho Valencia has a renowned tennis program, with immaculate courts, and an array of former pro champions as instructors.

Dress code:

Southern California chic. Flowing dresses and crisp button-downs are ideal. Don't forget a light jacket, as nights can be chilly up in the hills.

Mr and Mrs Smith reviews

I recognized that grunt. Definitely female, and somewhat NC-17.

I was sitting by my blissful lonesome at the near-isolated lap pool of Rancho Valencia, a luxury resort in Rancho Santa Fe, where the glamour arrives discreetly packaged, and the colour-scheme was of an edifying tangerine and a Moorish blue. I began, suddenly, to hear many-decibel vocalizations.

Just over the wall, and somewhere past the proud swaying palms I detected a merciless loop of pneumatic drills. The grunts also accompanied the distinct ponk-ponk of tennis balls.

Could it be? The racquet and the racket of a Sharapova?

Accommodation details

Location:

18.8 mi / 30.4 km from city centre

General facilities

  • Golf
  • Valet parking
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
  • Aerobics instruction
  • Concierge desk
  • Exercise gym
  • Internet services
  • Tennis court
  • Room service
  • Lounges/bars
  • On-Site parking
  • Onsite laundry
  • Restaurant

Dining information

Restaurant:

The setting of Veladora, from chef Eric Bauer, nearly matches the excellent coastal-ranch cuisine. The dining area is split between a large, fire-warmed terrace and a Spanish-style dining room with an original Damien Hirst painting and valley views. The ultra-seasonal menu includes dishes like pastrami-spiced ono and roasted lamb, all served with local vegetables. The kitchen staff tend the hotel gardens, and make olive oil, honey and preserves.

Top table:

Nab a spot on the terrace if the weather is warm. For the best views on cooler nights, snag a window table near the fireplace.

Last orders:

Breakfast is served from 7am until 11am, and lunch from 11 until 2.30pm. Dinner is between 6pm and 9pm. The bar opens at 11am each day and closes at midnight on weeknights, and 1am on Friday and Saturday.

Room service:

A selection of dishes from Veladora is available 24 hours a day.

Hotel bar:

The polo-inspired Pony Bar is a cozy mix of overstuffed chairs, dark wood and worn leather, with patio dining that has perfect views of the nearby hot-air balloons. Open only to those 21 and older, the bar serves prosecco on tap and over 100 tequilas. The bar menu includes sirloin sandwiches, flatbreads and a charcuterie board.

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