Over the past two years, my husband and I haven’t had a lot of free time to travel. Between him taking on a new job and me running my own business and having a baby, we’ve been feeling a bit housebound. Desperate to recharge, we decided to start taking more short weekend trips around California. These excursions turned out to be the perfect solution to our busy lifestyles, and we plan on continuing them a few times a year going forward.
For our first trip this year, we chose the award-winning Rancho Valencia located in Rancho Santa Fe, California (30 minutes north of downtown San Diego!). We were attracted to the resort’s beautiful Mediterranean-influenced design and active lifestyle offerings. Plus, with so many fun cities only a short distance away from the hotel, we knew we’d remain entertained at all times.
Read on to learn more about our stay and why we can’t wait to go back.
Keep an eye on Glitter Guide’s Instagram today to enter a fun giveaway—you could win a one-hour spa service (with access to the spa pool, steam room and any fitness classes!).
Outside lobby area
The spacious, villa-style guest rooms at Rancho Valencia are amazing. I can safely say that ours was one of the best hotel rooms we’ve ever stayed in. We had a relaxing patio with our own jacuzzi (seriously, can all hotels offer this?!). I curled up in the lounge chair outside our room with a book. This is a luxury I don’t get at home—and although it was short-lived, it was just what I needed.
The gorgeously designed bathroom suite was like a mini spa. Not gonna lie: The toilet was one of our favorite parts of the suite. You’ll just have to go for yourself to see what I mean!
Guest room patio
The Pony Room, the resort’s bar, was our favorite spot to chill out and try some delicious drinks and dishes. My husband enjoyed possibly one too many “In Record Thyme” cocktails (Buffalo Trace, maple syrup, thyme, lemon and bacon—what man wouldn’t want bacon in his drink?). I opted for a glass of crisp Chardonnay paired with the yummy fish tacos. We chose to sit outside by the fireplace and relish the epic view (see below).
One of the most memorable moments: sipping our cocktails at sunset while watching hot air balloons float through the sky. We followed that with a fun, albeit poorly played, game of croquet.
For dinner at the resort’s restaurant, Veladora, we loved the lobster mac n’ cheese, Pacific salmon and filet mignon.
My husband and I love to work out—and luckily, Rancho Valencia strongly emphasizes wellness. There’s an incredibly beautiful yoga room and a lot of fitness classes to choose from. How fun would it be to practice yoga out there at sunset?!
In my opinion, a relaxing vacation isn’t complete without a spa service. I went for a 60-minute signature massage, and my only complaint was that I didn’t book the longer option! I loved the lush landscape surrounding the spa—you feel like you’ve escaped to somewhere tropical. One of my local girlfriends met me at the spa, and we lounged by the spa pool (reserved for spa guests only). She loved it so much that she’s already been back with her husband.
Rancho Valenica has been rated Southern California’s No. 1 tennis resort by Tennis Magazine since 2008. The tennis facility has 18 courts and is surrounded by beautiful bougainvillea and citrus groves. Normally I would’ve just admired the courts from afar, but my husband surprised me and bought us tennis rackets so we could start playing together. I’d been eager to learn—and while it was fun to get out there and try, it appears I have much to learn before I can really say I play tennis.
While our stay was short (only two nights), we felt as though we truly experienced the best of Rancho Valencia. It’s a place we hope to visit often—I can’t recommend it more.
— Taylor Sterling
Images courtesy of Rancho Valenica.