Terranea Resort in Ranchos Palos Verdes is a fabulous vacation destination just outside Los Angeles, perched above the Pacific Ocean on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
This 102-acre luxury Southern California resort is surrounded by the peaceful waters of the peninsula, and offers fantastic sunsets, a stellar spa, tasty dining amenities, and incredible panoramic views of the ocean on all sides.
The site of this property holds a rich history. The most recent of which prior to the resort was when it was the site of Marineland of the Pacific which was a seaside animal theme park — and the world’s largest oceanarium when it opened.
This park opened one year before Disneyland and many considered it California’s first major theme park. Marineland was sold and closed in 1986 and fell into disrepair, but in 1998 a 10-year development project brought the resort to life with the cultural, historical and social fabric of the Peninsula as the basis for its creation. The property officially opened in 2009, and has since grown to be the fabulous getaway destination it’s known to be today, for travelers across Southern California and beyond.
It’s the only luxury resort destination on the LA coast, and offers a laid-back, Mediterranean design with seascape views that are unlike anywhere else in the Greater Los Angeles area.
The most fabulous thing about this resort in my opinion is how far removed it feels from the chaos of urban LA — as well as its abundance of activities. You could spend an entire week on this property and still feel like there are adventures left to be had and ground left to explore. But if you are pressed for time, here’s how to spend a weekend (or longer!) enjoying all Terranea has to offer.
Visit one of the 4 Swimming Pools
This property offers four separate pools for guests to enjoy — including an adults-only pool that serves alcohol and offers unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean.
The Resort Pool
A great place to start your pool journey would be at the The Resort Pool, which is a 5,000 square foot family-friendly oasis. This pool has everything parents and kids could ask for. It even boasts a 140-foot water slide, alongside a splash pad, private cabanas, a poolside grill, and lawn games. This is the pool you’ll most likely find yourself spending the most time at, as it’s located in the heart of the resort and in the center of all the action. It’s the perfect combination between energetic and leisurely.
Cielo Point Pool
The Cielo Point Pool is a chic oceanfront perch offering a more mature atmosphere, with private cabanas, a private bar, and views of Catalina Island. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail and enjoy some grown-up time.
The Spa Pool
The Spa Pool is reserved for spa guests, and features spectacular ocean views, private cabanas, cozy fire pits, and a 25-meter lap pool. It’s the perfect place to find relaxation and rejuvenation, and is reserved for resort guests 21 or older
The appropriately named “Vista” saltwater pool and hot tub is located up by the Main Pool, and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. This area is complete with a sundeck, private cabanas and lush landscaping (it feels as if you’re in a tropical jungle!). It’s the perfect place for resort guests to unwind for the day and enjoy poolside food and beverage service.
Enjoy a Bite to Eat at One of the Nine On-site Dining Outposts
And speaking of eating — Terranea offers nine on-site dining venues, ranging from full-service to casual grab-and-go fare. Perhaps one of the most special features of dining at the resort is having the opportunity to experience enjoying the wide range of fresh produce that’s sourced locally and frequently right on-site. This includes citrus and herbs from the resort’s grounds, hand-ground chocolate, farm-fresh eggs, and sea salt from the ocean created right at the resort’s on-site sea salt conservatory.
At the upscale venue, Mar’Sel (a play on the Spanish word for “sea” and the French word for “salt”) guests will enjoy Pacific Ocean views and upscale California cuisine. Nearby bashi offers inventive ‘wok’-style dishes inspired by classic Chinese, Japanese, and Southeast Asian dishes alongside a selection of freshly handmade rolls from its sushi bar, as well as yakitori skewer specials and an extensive sake menu. The adjacent Catalina Kitchen offers Mediterranean fare with impeccable views of the ocean and easy access to the Main Resort Pool.
The casual Nelson’s is perched directly above the ocean coves, and was made famous by the 1950s television series “Sea Hunt” – from which this modern surf shack takes its name. This eatery serves coastal cuisine with a warm, friendly relaxed atmosphere and a plethora of outdoor fire pits. It’s an ideal place to watch the sunset.
Sea beans artisan café is located at the main Lobby courtyard, serving as as a market of local and fresh produce, gourmet coffee, specialty espresso drinks and organic teas – along with a tantalizing array of freshly baked treats including pastries, muffins, and croissants from Executive Pastry Chef Pierino Jermonti. It’s the perfect place to grab something to go, such as a coffee to start the day or a housemade gelato to enjoy by the beach.
Cielo Point is located at the adults-only pool, and serves as a casual full-service eatery, overlooking the ocean and providing a quiet retreat for grown-ups to enjoy a leisurely meal or iced beverage from their beach chair or private cabana.
The Lobby Bar and Terrace offers perhaps some of the best panoramic views of the property, and is another fantastic place to watch the sunset. It’s a relaxed and inviting atmosphere to indulge on a craft cocktail, fine wine or beer and dine al fresco on the terrace which hosts multiple fire pits.
Solviva was the only eatery I didn’t visit while I was on-site, because it was closed that particular weekend. But it lives at the core of the resort, at the spa. The culinary team combines nutrient-rich ingredients and locally and sustainably grown produce to create cuisines that enhances the restorative experience of the spa. Finally,
The Grill at the Resort Pool offers craft cocktails and bites conveniently located at the Main Pool in the center of the property.
Oh — and can’t forget Room Service for when you’re craving the property’s famous chocolate cake at 10:30 p.m. or breakfast with a view…
The Spa at Terranea overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the Palos Verdes coastline — it’s a gorgeous place to work out. Guests can also visit The Spa which is currently offering a selection of treatments and outdoor fitness activities such as sunrise yoga, and oceanfront spin bikes.
Perhaps one of the most exciting elements of Terranea Resort is its on-site “Experience Center,” which offers guests a wide range of activities to take full advantage of exploring the idyllic coastal preserve.
With adventures such as painting lessons, falconry sessions, archery classes, guided, educational nature hikes, tide pooling, paddle boarding, kayaking and much, much more — you’ll never run out of things to do.
The best part in my opinion is that the friendly, expert guides are right at the resort to offer their educated insight into Rancho Palos Verdes’ special ecology and wildlife.
Regardless of age, interest or skill level, this property offers an array of activities that appeal to every kind of guest.
I can’t speak too much about golf because I’m not one to regularly “hit the links,” but I know from living in Los Angeles that Terranea boasts an award-winning golf course with perhaps some of the best views of any golf course in the nation.
Links at Terranea is a nine-hole, par-3 Southern golf course overlooking the Pacific Ocean with views as far as Catalina Island on a sunny day (which is almost every day, because this is Greater Los Angeles after all).
Traditionally, the Golf House offers pro-grade apparel, accessories, rental clubs, carts, and equipment. The property also offers special “golf packages,” too for those who are looking for a guys’ getaway or a bachelor’s weekend escape.
There are a wide range of luxurious overnight accommodations at Terranea, most of which offer views of the water. On the main property area, there are guestrooms and suites with easy access to the pools and dining venues.
Those who are seeking more privacy can rent a bungalow, a villa or a casita, with expansive residential-style features and spacious interiors.
I was staying in a fabulous oceanfront suite. I seriously could have just parked myself on one of the two balconies (one in the bedroom and one in the living area) and never left my room…
Overall, Terranea is a perfect luxury getaway close enough to Los Angeles to feel like you’re not in the middle of nowhere — but is far enough away to feel the release of the pressures that come with urban-life.
It’s an expansive property. You’ll never feel overcrowded — in fact, it took me the full three days I was there, to explore the grounds in their entirety.
With hiking trails, its own private beach area, a plethora of outdoor activities and entertainment, and no shortage of places to grab a finely cooked meal or hand-crafted beverage — it’s understandable why you’ll never want to leave this oasis escape.
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