Every few months, when I’m about to lose my sh** with stress, I escape to my best friend Sabrina’s beach pad in southern Los Angeles for some R&R. I run on the beach, bike along the promenade, we catch up on girl talk and watch the latest on Netflix. But, this time I was craving something more. I’d been hustling so hard at NAO and needed some serious pampering. So when I asked about a local spa getaway, she started raving about Terranea Resort, which is just a short (and hella scenic) drive from LAX. Two seconds later, I was on their site salivating over their coastal views, luxurious spa menus, healthy dining options, and insanely gorgeous grounds. How had I not heard of this place?! Ten minutes later, we were booked for our girls getaway.
Location: Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Size: 102 acres
Accommodations: 582 guest rooms that include suites, casitas and villas and private bungalows
Amenities: 8 restaurants, 4 ocean-view pools, full-service spa and wellness center (with private pool, steam room, salt cave sauna, jacuzzi, and cold-plunge pool), fitness center, award-winning golf course
Vibe: Relaxed luxury meets wellness and sustainability
This video tells Terranea’s beautiful story behind the scenes.
Let me just say this: When you arrive at Terranea — even in a Toyota Corolla — you feel like a million bucks. As you ease down the winding road toward the entrance, the epic ocean views are simply breathtaking. We pulled around the stunning fountain in the middle of the cobblestone road to a grand mediterranean entrance beaming with tropical foliage. Stunning! The pictures just don’t do it justice. We hadn’t stepped foot inside and we were already in another world.
After checking in, we were gleefully escorted to our room by our friendly bellhop who gave us the scoop on all the hotel’s amenities and the fastest route from our room to the spa. When the door opened, we were floored by our room. Tastefully designed — think Joanna Gaines meets Restoration Hardware — with French doors that opened onto a balcony overlooking the ocean beyond the sprawling grounds. I took in the fresh air and exhaled a major sigh of relief. This was the feeling I’d been craving. Nothing to do but take in the calm, majestic beauty of nature.
I booked a Revitalizing Marine Massage, so after relaxing at the adults-only spa pool, I was whisked into my treatment room where my technician cleaned my skin with a dry brush before massaging me with detoxifying marine algae. OMG, it was downright divine. The stress was literally melting away with each minute. I felt like I was floating after. I loved that their spa menu wasn’t generic. It was so thoughtfully designed with healthy, holistic options like the Honey Body Bliss, which is a healing scrub/massage combo that includes honey from the resort’s own bee hives! How cool is that? While I had my treatment, Sabrina nursed her cold in the eucalyptus steam room. One treatment gets you all-day access to the spa pool, showers, salt cave sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, cold plunge pool and lounge overlooking the Pacific. We took advantage of it all!
After working up an insane appetite, we headed down to their newest restaurant, Solviva — known for its fresh, farm-to-table, sustainable eats. The entire menu was crafted with wellness in mind. As we sat at our cozy outdoor table gazing at the gorgeous sunset views, we learned from the staff that the resort’s nutritionist partnered with the head chef to create a menu with gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. We started with raw oysters, which were so delish and beautifully presented! For din, Sabrina opted for the hand-cut pappardelle with almond pesto and I had the grass-fed skirt steak with potatoes, summer squash, and brussels kimchi. Soooo good! We learned that the chef at Solviva uses locally sourced and sustainably grown ingredients, most grown in Terranea’s farm up the street. We even got to sample some sea kelp and salt fresh from the Pacific!
The next morning, we woke up to epic sunrise views and decided to hike down to the beach. We sat watching the water crash against the cliffs and just took it all in. Everything about terranea is intentional and well thought out. The grounds are highly maintained and every corner of the premises we encountered was spotless. Like NAO, it was sophisticated and customer experience driven, yet entirely unpretentious. While it attracts LA’s elite and is a destination for major conferences and events, the relaxed and friendly vibe means you can happily trade your glam squad for a straw hat and sandals. Since I’m always on the go, it can be challenging for me to relax, but you have no choice there. It was just chill and beautiful and easy. It certainly helped that every staff member — from the valets and bellhops to the spa, dining, and concierge — was beyond friendly and helpful.
Here’s what I loved most about Terranea: With all there is to do (or actively not do) you can literally create whatever experience you’re craving in the moment. You can sit by the pool and disappear into a juicy book (or freshly made smoothie). You can take a scenic nature hike, go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, do yoga, or sweat it out in a cycling class overlooking the ocean. You can get a massage or skin treatment and spend the entire day with access to the private spa area — showers, sauna, steam room, spa pool, jacuzzi, lounge (with tea and healthy snacks), and cold plunge pool. If you have kids, there’s a designated kids club and a massive family-friendly pool with a slide that had this shameless adult screaming all the way down. If you want no part of that, hang at the adult-only pools. For more activity, go to one of the more bustling restaurants like Bashi. It’s really a create-your-own experience. The down time surrounded by nature not only revived me, but also inspired some of my best creativity around the coming year. I only wish I had more time to indulge it all.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a wellness-driven domestic escape in a stunning natural setting that doesn’t require much planning, distance, or decision-fatigue — and instead delivers calm, peace, and pleasure — I highly recommend Terranea as your go-to destination.