Sarah Gold

Rancho Valencia

Rancho Santa Fe, CA

by: Sarah Gold

  • Why

    A three-day getaway.

  • When

    October 2013

  • Who

    Just me.

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Highs + Lows

  • The resort’s tennis program is terrific, with 18 spanking-new plexi-pave championship courts, regularly held clinics, and a half-dozen onsite pros to help you improve your game. My (admittedly terrible) groundstrokes were vastly improved after a single lesson here.

  • The spa’s signature treatment, the Sixth Sense Ritual, is the perfect antidote to jet lag (or too many hours hunched over your laptop). The 90-minute bliss-out starts with a soothing mineral soak in a private outdoor tub, followed by a scalp and full-body massage.

  • The Pony Room’s Rancho Burger—a half-pound of Angus beef, topped with crispy pancetta and slathered with black-truffle aioli and chipotle mayo—it’s a delicious, glorious mess. If you’re not wearing a rain poncho, consider using a knife and fork.

  • Until you get used to it, the high-tech Japanese-style toilet in your casita—which automatically opens when you approach, and squirts jets of water at your nether regions—can be disconcerting.

: 44/50
  • Design

  • Website

  • Mini Bar

  • Life Changing

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Overall Value

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Stealable Stuff

  • Refer a Friend

Important Bits

  • Type

    Boutique Spa Resort

  • Vibe

    Exclusive but welcoming private club (this is, in fact, what it was in its first incarnation).

  • Location

    25 miles north of San Diego.

  • Rooms

    49 casitas

  • Music

    In the bar and restaurant, Sinatra and Peggy Lee. In the spa, ambient electro-chill.

  • Year Opened

    Originally opened in 1989; reopened after a $30-million renovation in 2012.

  • Designed By

    Todd Avery Lenahan of TAL Design Studio (whose other clients include Auberge Resorts and L’Ermitage Beverly Hills).

  • Pool/Gym

    Two outdoor pools—one for families and one for sanctuary, and a fabulous spa/fitness center.

  • Restaurant

    Veladora, serving refined farm and ocean-to-table cuisine in a room dominated by a dazzling Damien Hirst butterfly-wing piece.

  • Bar

    The Pony Bar, a lively amber-lit space with a menu of artisanal tequila cocktails and gastropub small plates. Also, the subterranean Wine Cave, where tastings are held from a 200+ label wine list.

  • Wifi

    Free all over the property.

  • Children

    Bring them. The resort has a great junior tennis program, as well as a large pool, bikes and croquet lawn.

  • Price

    Pricey and worth it.

In the Area

a 2,000-acre park that winds along the San Diego coast. The eight miles of trails here snake along high bluffs between sandstone cliffs and a sweeping stretch of Pacific beach.

A hike at Torrey Pines State Reserve

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037

a 2,000-acre park that winds along the San Diego coast. The eight miles of trails here snake along high bluffs between sandstone cliffs and a sweeping stretch of Pacific beach.

in San Diego’s South Park neighborhood—where the wood-oven baked Neopolitan-style pies come with toppings like brie, speck, and house-made fennel sausage.

Pizza at Buona Forchetta

3001 Beech St, San Diego, CA 92102

in San Diego’s South Park neighborhood—where the wood-oven baked Neopolitan-style pies come with toppings like brie, speck, and house-made fennel sausage.

Polite Provisions. My favorite: the Ocean Side, made with gin, lime, mint, celery bitters, and a pinch of sea salt.

Libations at one of San Diego’s hottest mixology meccas

4696 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116

Polite Provisions. My favorite: the Ocean Side, made with gin, lime, mint, celery bitters, and a pinch of sea salt.

AHL_RANCHO-VALENCIA_CASITA

Rancho Valencia

5921 Valencia Cir, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Must Haves

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