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Friday, November 6, 2015

Travel Feature - A Los Angeles Oceanfront Resort


A Los Angeles Oceanfront Resort

Story by Heidi Chackel

Photography provided by Terranea

Established in 2009, Terranea, A Destination Hotel, is wrapping up the yearlong celebration of its 5th anniversary this summer. Located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula on 102 acres in the Los Angeles area, this old-world style Mediterranean resort recently hosted my husband and me for three nights of bliss. Amazing hospitality, gorgeous outdoor gardens and courtyards, 228 fire pits and fireplaces, scrumptious food and cocktails, award-winning spa, multiple pools, recreation galore and amazing coastal views all helped to create an atmosphere of relaxation on one hand and non-stop fun on the other

We thoroughly enjoyed a decadent suite with resort, pool and coastal views during our stay, but guests can also enjoy Terranea in bungalows, casitas and villas. “We are a family friendly resort, but we also have the bungalows that are adult only,” says Amy Funke, associate director of marketing for Terranea. “They come with different elements—complimentary breakfast, exercise equipment in the room, you can come and go from the spa and spa pool—offering more of a wellness feel.”

Whatever accommodations you choose, the staff is truly amazing throughout the resort. From lobby staff to bartenders to Executive Chef Ibarra himself, everyone who works at Terranea seems to love their job and this shows in their service to their guests. Your enjoyment of the resort is of utmost importance and they are full of great ideas on how to do so.

To commemorate its 5th anniversary, the entire summer will be filled with celebrations and activities focused around dining, outdoor adventure, music and community events. A summer music series through Labor Day weekend will feature everything from reggae to classic rock. Guests can also enjoy yoga gatherings, a shopping series, dining events and much more. Summer is the resort’s biggest travel period for us, so they tend to have a lot of events for guests to add into their itineraries. With the anniversary and five full years of establishment, this summer will be even more active than normal.

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this resort; in fact we never even left the property during our three-day stay. The weather was a bit chilly for typical spring temperatures, but we were still able to enjoy the pools, which all boast amazing views. With multiple dining options, we never ate at the same place twice and looked forward to each and every meal. Our suite was fantastic, with a stunning bathroom and two decks. All in all, I truly hope to get back there as soon as I can!



Terranea offers many dining options, and all are amazing. mar’sel is the jewel, as the resort’s fine dining option. Perfect for culinary enthusiasts, the menu is overflowing with local fare from the garden and the sea. Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra has created stunning plates boasting inventive twists on California cuisine, accompanied by stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Chef Bernard Ibarra visited our table as we dined at mar’sel on our last night. He was a delight to talk with—full of gratitude for his job and the vision he has been allowed to create. His company and the food were delicious, making for a great finish to our stay.

“Culinary is a big focus for us,” says Funke. “We have had an herb garden since opening and with Chef Ibarra joining us, he holds great vision and has added his passion for food into the guest experience. He helped us create a 4,000 square foot garden off property, and he is also harvesting sea salt here at Terranea that is used at the restaurants throughout the resort. He has installed beehives and tends to them. He really enjoys creating his own ingredients—his philosophy is why wouldn’t you if you can.”

catalina kitchen offers a la carte breakfast (with buffet option on the weekends), lunch, dinner featuring California Market/Mediterranean cuisine and a long list of cocktails and wine. Nelson’s, at the other end of the property, is comfort cuisine with a large offering of microbrews. Guests can enjoy on-screen sports indoors or a sunset by the fire pits outside. We thoroughly enjoyed our first dinner of the trip at Nelson’s, chatting with friendly bartenders and other guests while watching an NBA playoff game. Also on property is bashi, which offers locally harvested ingredients and a contemporary blend of Asian flavors. And last but not least, sea beans is Terranea’s gourmet café.

During the afternoon, we often found ourselves sipping a cocktail on the terrace or cozying up to one of three fireplaces in the lobby bar, which often features live musical performances. Also of note is cielo point, an adults only pool, which is open seasonally and features a full food and beverage menu. A great spot to stop for a quick lunch is the Spa Café, which boasts refreshing smoothies, juices, protein shakes, healthy sandwiches, salads and more.



The Spa at Terranea offers an array of customized spa treatments and the Fitness & Wellness Center boasts a wide variety of state-of-the-art treadmills, elliptical cross-trainers, bikes, weights and classes ranging from relaxing to challenging. We got the chance to experience both the spa and fitness center during our stay, both of which surround the spa pool. The spa in and of itself features 25 well-appointed treatment rooms. While we didn’t have the chance, you literally could spend the whole day enjoying private men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor relaxation areas featuring sauna, steam room, outdoor whirlpools and cold plunges. The menu is extensive from foot rituals to relaxing massages and scrubs to facials. There is even a salon for hair, makeup, nails, waxing and more. We were fortunate enough to enjoy a couples relaxing massage, and again the staff was extremely friendly and provided us with a great experience.

The Links at Terranea features nine holes of dramatic scenery overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Within this par-3 coastal course, each hole is masterfully routed and integrated with each other and the natural surroundings. Reasonably priced, the course offers a variety of tee placements, making it perfect for the skilled golfer or the new golfer. An expansive short game practice facility and professional instruction are also available.

“It is a little different than normal golf options as you can play in two hours or less,” says Head Golf Professional Mike Hill. “This fits in really well with all of the recreation options here at the resort—kayaking, horseback riding and more—that all take about two hours, so you can mix golf in with those activities. The course boasts lots of sculpted elevation changes, and each hole would stand on its own within a championship golf course. It is a great course and definitely lends itself to families. We often have three generations tee off in the same group, which is a great thing to see.

Terranea also offers yearly golf memberships in the form of their Links Card. Membership not only includes access to preferred green fee’s rates for a year, but members receive four complimentary rounds, year-round discounts on golf shop merchandise, a free practice session in their state of the art simulator hitting bays, and a PGA lesson from one of their professionals. For guests who wish for a full round of golf, Terranea has joined forces with Trump National Golf Club down the road to create stay and play options for guests.

Currently, Terranea offers guests three different pools—the main Resort Pool, the adult cielo point Pool and the Spa Pool. A fourth pool is on its way, specifically for older children and will open this summer. There will be something for every age and all families. For younger children, parents will love the Splash Zone with accompanying slide found within the Resort Pool.

And even more for the kids, the Tide Pool Kids Club takes young ones on a journey through Terranea’s history on the beach, under a microscope and on top of the bluffs as they enjoy participating in science experiments and locally inspired art projects.

When it comes to activities for any age, pointe discovery is the place to go. It is an active lifestyle shop that houses the resort’s activities concierge. Here you can sign up for kayaking and a host of other activities. Aqua-Terra Adventures can be found within pointe discovery and offers a wide range of adventures like kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, surfing and more. And lastly, Discovery Trail is filled with indigenous plants and wildlife. You can enjoy a naturalist-guided tour or venture out on your own. Keep an eye out for birds offshore and near the cliffs, whales, dolphins, sea lions and falcons. The walking and hiking trails connect to the Palos Verdes Peninsula’s coastal trails system.


Terranea Resort


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