Traveling alone has many benefits, from controlling your own schedule (or lack thereof) to getting to always pick the wine at dinner. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa — a chic, rustic Southern California getaway located just a few minutes from the tony beach town of La Jolla and about 25 minutes outside of San Diego — is an ideal mix of privacy and exploration. Escape to the luxury hotel to enjoy these activities all by yourself:
As you walk the lush, 45-acre grounds, the familiar (but unseen) sound of tennis balls can be heard over the breeze. One of the resort’s highlights is its 18 plexipave courts, complete with a citrus grove backdrop. Who needs a tennis partner when there’s a state-of-the-art ball machine and a team of pros ready to rally? If you opt to take a tennis lesson, expect the attentive instructors to ask about what you hope to accomplish on your visit, as well as follow-up questions designed to help you improve your game even after you check out.
Hit the Gym
Tennis is the main attraction for active guests, but Rancho Valencia also has a fitness program that puts most gyms to shame. The studio is decked out with top-of-the-line equipment, and the classes — around 70 each week — include Pilates, TRX (a full-body workout designed by a Navy SEAL), outdoor fitness boot camp and guided hikes around the area. One of the most popular workouts is spin, and Rancho Valencia has a bright and modern studio with stationary bikes and an attendant who appears every 15 minutes with cold towels and much-needed water. At the end of the class, a chocolate-peanut butter smoothie awaits (and it makes the last 15 minutes of spinning a little more tolerable). The Serenity Yoga Studio is a must-see; even better, take a sunrise Zen yoga session. Surrounded by water, the serene and private wood studio has glass windows and is heated to a comfortable temperature for practice.
Walking into a group class alone may seem intimidating at first, but the friendly, conversational instructors are welcoming. Plus, they can help you achieve a particular fitness goal during your stay by connecting you with an onsite trainer to monitor your progress and suggest the most optimal food and drink options at the resort to complement your plan.
Relax at the Spa
The Spa at Rancho Valencia is an extension of the hotel’s peaceful and relaxed personality. After changing into your smart red-and-white-striped robe and slipping on the Havaianas flip-flops left in each locker (a welcome upgrade from the usual rubber spa slippers), head to the quiet lounge area. Grab a seat by the indoor fireplace or outside on a sun-drenched lounger, flip through a magazine and wait for your aesthetician. Try the Dandelion hand and foot treatment, which rids the body of tension while increasing circulation and promoting a better night’s sleep in your giant hotel bed.
You’ll find plenty of places to lounge after the treatment — the spa is well suited for solo travelers on a quest for quiet time. Massage rooms come with private whirlpools in the outdoor areas, and water treatment rooms have private outdoor bathtubs that beg for a lengthy, introspective soak.
Go Out to Dinner
Rancho Valencia has two spectacular places to sit down with a farm-to-table meal and glass of California chardonnay or some tequila (more than 100 premium brands are available). The more formal Veladora is full of couples and dinner groups, but The Pony Room is great for solo diners (and popular with locals). It’s known for small plates, such as sweet peppers stuffed with quinoa and goat cheese and served with a side of almond romesco sauce. Another specialty is the artisanal Neapolitan-style pizzas with a crunchy crust and soft middle. The Pony Room’s bar seating is perfectly suited for a light meal for one — and conversation with fellow single diners, if you so choose.
Photos courtesy of Rancho Valencia Resort And Spa