Escape the hustle of Los Angeles by driving about 30 miles to Rancho Palos Verdes to Terranea Resort. Whether you need an escape from your day-to-day, are looking for a luxurious vacation or wanting to check out amazing spots to host a celebration, we found five things about the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel that make it such a California-centric charmer.
Trails around the property
Nature is one of the key factors at Terranea. From the local plants landscaped around the property and the chef’s garden of goodies to the ocean teeming with life that is in your sight at all times, there is no escaping it. But why would you want to? Get up early and hike the coastal trail that leads from Catalina Point all the way to the lighthouse. It’s a good workout, too, especially if you wander down the steep hill (and, subsequently, back up again) to the rocky shore to look at tide pools. As you walk, run or jog the trail, take in the stunning visage of the endless sea, and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins. This area is ripe with the mammals as they feed, mate and drift around. Even if you don’t catch anything swimming about, the jaunt proves well worth the effort.
Dining at the resort
Sometimes resort food can get kind of pedestrian, but that’s not the case with the restaurants run by chef Bernard Ibarra. Each of the four main spots (plus a lobby bar, poolside eatery, coffee shop and spa café) provides different cuisines done exceptionally well, and, due to the chef’s dedication to local and seasonal fare, it’s all served with a little Golden State twist. At the fine-dining restaurant Mar’sel, take in the ocean view as you sample Ibarra’s innovative takes on classic Californian cuisine (freshly caught day boat scallops with pistachios, Point Vicente squid and a whole roasted Jidori chicken with forged mushrooms). More fresh seafood and sushi can be found around the bend at Bashi. For a casual meal focused on market Mediterranean food, Catalina Kitchen is a good bet, especially for brunch. Finally, it wouldn’t be a vacation without some coastal comfort food, and the sports pub Nelson’s serves fish tacos, lobster rolls and fried calamari alongside soft pretzels with cheese dip at lunch and dinner.
Kayaking in the ocean
As you look out at the rocks in front of crashing waves, it might not seem like the best idea to climb aboard and launch yourself off into the wild, vast ocean. But swallow that fear and go for it. Once you are seated on the kayak and rowing in the surprisingly calm water, you won’t regret your decision. Besides, the Rancho Palos Verdes hotel has an expert to guide you around the coast and keep you safely away from the rocks. Watch for dolphins, seals and whales as you glide along the kelp forest. In the end, you’ll appreciate your bravery — and that slight burn from the workout.
Local salt spa treatments
Sure, many places will give you a superb rubdown, but how often do you come across a spa that uses salt harvested right from the water roaring outside its windows? Chef Ibarra got the idea to start cultivating the salt from the ocean, which contains a ton of nutrients and minerals due to the proximity of the kelp beds. This means not only is the salt healthy (and delicious) to eat, but it’s great for body treatments as well. The spa has capitalized on this and offers a luxurious and revitalizing body scrub featuring said salt as well as essential oils picked out personally for you. After the selection, it all gets massaged into your skin and rinsed off with the soothing Vichy shower. And, as if that wasn’t enough, afterward you can hang out in the special private area, taking advantage of the hot tub and cold plunge, steam showers, serene swimming pool and deck chairs looking out toward the ocean.
Your extra-lush bathroom
Even though there are three exquisite pools to dip into on the resort, you will want to steam yourself in the high-pressure shower and soak in the room’s tub, too. The latter proves very deep, so most people can get their whole body submerged. Terranea also provides you with local bath salts and a sweet, lemony bath foam that makes the experience extra luscious. After you bathe, wrap up in a cozy robe and lounge on your outdoor deck or tuck into the giant in-room chairs. Order some sparkling wine and make a night of it…or morning or afternoon.