Let me start by saying we had a fantastic time at Terranea Resort. The view is incredible, the resort pool was a blast for our kids. We had ocean side suite #1147 and it was very nice. My husband was there for a conference and we upgraded our room for a low upgrade fee. We ate at Bashi three times (good food), Catalina Kitchen 3 times (pretty good), Nelsons once (pretty good) and Sea Beans (very good). I shopped at Traders Joes down the street and we ate at Lunada Bay Seafood Restaurant (see my review) after we tired of eating resort food. We had massages and facials, which were fantastic, the spa is gorgeous. The fitness room is also very nice, I took a spa class facing the ocean and saw dolphins 3 times. Paul at the front desk does a great job welcoming people and Tristan (spa manager) is fantastic. However, all in all (compared to the Ritz and Four Seasons), the staff is not as good as the staff at the Ritz and FS. Terranea could improve its ability to anticipate guest's needs rather than wait for people to ask for things. That is what makes a resort top notch in my book. At the pool, there are about 4 total servers for the entire area including the cabanas. It works out though because tons of people bring in their own food and jugs of alcohol since drinks are $13-15 bucks for a tiny cocktail. We hired a sitter through University Sitters and the sitter was great. There were weddings and conferences going non stop the whole time so if you visit, expect a lot of traffic.
Bottom line. Great trip, enjoyed it so much. However, I would never pay over the conference rate for a room here. I saw our room runs $900/night. With that price, plus massages running $200 for 60 minutes, food and drinks priced so high, etc... I would opt for the Ritz in Cancun (real beach, low prices, fabulous spa, incredible service).