|California is traditionally known for many of its breathtaking resorts and first-class inns. Rancho Valencia of southern California provides guests with a casually elegant escape.
Each guest checks into a private Spanish/Mediterranean casita, which is nestled amidst lemon and orange trees. Wake up in the morning and pick your own fresh oranges growing just outside or make some afternoon lemonade.
Every morning, guests are provided fresh glasses of orange juice and coffee, delivered right to their front doorstep.
We arrived at the 40-acre Rancho Valencia late one evening and checked in one of the 43 hacienda suites. From hand painted tiles, a fireplace and private garden patio, we fell immediately in love with our new find. Each casita has an enormous bathroom with large, walk-in closet, separate dressing room, makeup vanities, wet bar and a cathedral ceiling with overhead fan.
Because of its remote location, Rancho Valencia is well recognized for its hideout of Hollywood's most popular celebrities. One evening, we met Jenny Craig and our bartender friend told us Eli Callaway of Callaway Golf had just been in for dinner. Be sure to have a drink at the small bar where you will hear some amazing tales of some of the resort's
most famous guests. While Bill Gates' house was being built, he lived at the Rancho Valencia, ordering room service most evenings.
One of the reasons Rancho Valencia is so popular is due to its world renowned tennis program and fitness center. The property offers 18 hard courts. Courtside amenities include iced lemon water and fresh towels.
Although the property doesn't offer its own golf course, it does provide playing privileges at four clubs nearby
the Farms, Del Mar Country Club, Aviara and The Meadows. The hotel does offer its own golf putting and chipping green on property.
Other amenities include a fitness/workout room, mountain biking, board games, bocci ball, croquet, swimming pools and hiking at nearby Torrey Pines State Reserve.
Dinner here is superb. The menu offers some of the finest cuisine from warm malpeque oysters ($15), Napoleon of Foie Gras ($17), Valencia Caesar ($9) and the signature crispy ahi tuna roll ($30), which was divine.
Rancho Valencia is the perfect escape for a romantic getaway, honeymoon hideaway or celebrity retreat. We look forward to our next visit to this favorite southern California property.
5921 Valencia Circle
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
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Kellie K. Speed is
a freelance travel writer and restaurant reviewer. Her features have been
published in various publications including The Boston Globe, Cahnersí
Industrial Distribution and Graphic Arts Monthly magazines and Reno Air
Kellie has reviewed numerous first-class hotels and
travel destinations, including Hawaii, California, Arizona, Bermuda and
Mexico, to name a few. She has also traveled internationally to Ireland,
England, France, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Next year, she is
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