Spent the night at this wonderful hotel as part of a site visit (looking for a resort to host a physician retreat) on 3/5. This resort was not heavily marketed and I stumbled across it last year. However, they were in the process of a huge makeover ($35million) which was completed November 2012. All of the work really comes out and makes this resort first class. I brought my whole family (2, 6, 8 y/o) to make sure it was truly a family friendly resort.
Location: It is some distance from the ocean and is tucked away in the hills. If you didn't know better, you wouldn't have thought you were near the Ocean. Kind of reminded me a little like Ojai or Santa Barbara. Lots of natural foliage. The property itself is not big (40 acres) and includes tons of tennis courts and also their timeshare villas. Very serene and quiet (I think the capacity was really low at the time).
Hotel and Checkin: The hotel is only made up of 53 rooms. There is one main building (lobby boutique shop, restaurant, bar, and meeting rooms) that houses everything. There are fireplaces and pits scattered around with lots of lounging areas. The moment you pull up, you are escorted to the front desk/office. They already know you name because a parking permit (sticker) is placed on your windshield the moment you enter the gates. And from that time on, everyone refers to you as Mr. or Mrs.____. Check in was very personal. They interacted with my children and was very friendly. Once we got our room number (#102 right across from main building) we were told to just leave the car at the main building and our luggages were loaded in a golf cart. If your room was farther away, you could just drive your car there.
Room: Really amazing. Looks and feels brand new. First of all, the rooms are huge. The basic rooms are approx 900sqf. The bath room is huge with a big shower area (awesome water pressure) and soaking tub. There are 2 sinks and small tv. Walk in closet ( with robes, dresser drawers, safe, etc). The bath room soaps/shampoos were not the disposable small containers, but rather dispensers (kind of impressive). We had 2 beds which were extremely comfortable. You walk down into the living area and there is the largest TV that I have ever seen in a hotel room (prob 50" plus) hanging from the wall (another 40" in front of the beds). There is a nice fireplace in the corner and a sofa (pulls out into a bed). There is also a small private patio (enclosed) that can be entered from outside. Some of the amazing amenities included: free snacks (gourmet popcorn, M&M, trailmix, etc), free drinks in the fridge (huge selection of sodas, juice box, ice tea, water, milk, and even coconut water), and an espresso maker (with milk frother sp?). I have never seen such a large selection of complimentary snacks/drinks, not even at an all inclusive. There was a strong wifi signal (free of charge) in the room. The room was very tastefully decorated and just oozed with luxury. Very impressed with the room.
Pool: There is one main pool (for families) that was of decent size that is kept at 82 degress and 2 jacuzzis (temp 102). There were plenty of lounge chairs with towels surrounding the pool. I did not see a pool attendant servicing the area. Maybe it was because the outside temp was 60 degrees and we were the only ones brave enough to swim. There are some floatation devices and kids toys in a bin. Ice water was available.
Spa/Fitness: One of their big bragging points. My wife is our resident spa expert and had a facial scheduled. She has been to it all bases her rating on facility (cleanliness) and service. Her top spas includes (not in particular order): Montage Laguna Hills, Grand Del Mar, Aria, and Vdara (vegas). She was a tad underwhelmed by the spa at Rancho Valencia. The facilities were decent (locker rooms on the smaller side) but nothing special. She was also not impressed with the service. She mentioned that this was the first time going to a first class spa in which she was not escorted to the locker room. She was left after a brief tour to enter the locker rooms herself and find her own locker (figure out the code and robes). The most horrific part of her treatment was that the person that was giving her the facial had a horrible cold (admitted that she may had bronchitis or walking pneumonia). She politely mentioned this to the spa manager who immediately took care of the situation and handled it appropriately. That to me ment a lot. Accidents and mess up can occur, but how you rectify and handle the problem speaks volumes. With that said, she thoroughly enjoyed the yoga sessions (complementary classes offered). The fitness room was amazing as well as the cycling room and pilates room. This place has one of the best fitness areas that I have seen. There is of course complimentary water and gatorade offered. Aside for this, the resort is known for their tennis programs. I believe that there are 17-18 courts available and all looked to be in perfect condition.
Meeting rooms: There are a few smaller rooms and 1 large meeting room available. All appeared to be fitted with the latest technology (80inch flat screens). Being that it is a boutique resort, the meeting rooms seemed to cater towards smaller groups (max of probably 100).
Service: Top notch throughout. Very courteous throughout. I forgot a toothbrush and it was brought over within 5 mins of a call. We ate dinner at Veladora (fabulous by the way, see my review) and had terrific service. This was another strong point to the resort.
My only concern for this resort is the activity and facility for the kids. I was ensured that during the summer, there is a kids club/program that the resort offered. However, other than that, young kids really have nothing to do around the property. There is a nice little field (croquet field) that they could play in, but no dedicated kids club.
All in all, this is a fabulous resort but is priced on the higher end. They do offer a lot of complimentary things (free parking, free newspaper, free internet, free drinks/snack, and free fitness classes) to try to make up for the cost. I think if it was priced a tad lower, the hotel would be full. Compared to the Grand Del Mar (priced almost 1/3- 1/2 less), this offers a more intimate feeling with similar service.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tucked away on 45 lush acres in Rancho Santa Fe, California, the timeless Rancho Valencia is a Mediterranean sanctuary far from the ordinary, combining gracious hospitality and inspired luxury. An all-suite Relais & Châteaux property hand-selected by U.S. News & World Report the #1 resort in California (2017) this world-class destination offers 49 luxuriously appointed casitas with private patios, stunning three bedroom villas, rejuvenating spa treatments, a wellness-oriented fitness program, two distinctive restaurants, a world-renowned tennis program and more. In recent years, Rancho Valencia has been honored with the AAA Five Diamond Award (2017, 2016, 2015), the Forbes Five-Star Award (2017, 2016, 2015), and has enjoyed placement on the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List (2015). The resort has also received the Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Award twice (2016, 2015) as well as multiple Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards (2016) including #1 in Southern California and #15 in the United States. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Rancho Valencia, An Auberge Hotel Rancho Santa Fe
- Rancho Valencia Santa Fe