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“First Class all the way...one of the best secrets in San Diego”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Rancho Valencia

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Rancho Valencia
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Rancho Santa Fe
Certificate of Excellence
California
Level Contributor
144 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 330 helpful votes
“First Class all the way...one of the best secrets in San Diego”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2013

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.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Saysum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon C, General Manager at Rancho Valencia, responded to this review, March 18, 2013
Dear Saysum,

Thank you for your detailed review of the resort and for considering us for your retreat! We truly enjoyed having your family with us. We're delighted to see that you enjoyed your casita and guest room amenities, and had a great dinner at Veladora. We'd be happy to provide more details on our kid's program. It is available every day of the year and bookings can be made in advance at the time of reservation. Many of our guests and locals join in the fun. The camp includes tennis, sports, arts and crafts and other fun activities for children like scavenger hunts, make your own ice cream sundaes, swimming and kite making.

Your feedback regarding our spa is very much appreciated and we have taken the opportunity to bring your comments to our management team.

We hope to see you here again soon!

Simon Chen
General Manager
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280 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (76)
Date | Rating
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English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
108 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2013

I did not have the most amazing time here, but mostly because I was here on business by myself.

I think it would be ideal for a couple wanting a romantic weekend away. The villas were lovely and large. The staff were wonderful and the restaurant was terrific.

Why not five? If I want to go to Southern California, I want a view. The Ocean, a canyon, something.

Also, the resort is far too spread out. Privacy is nice and all, but on a chilly night it's a hike to get anywhere. Calling and then waiting for the golf cart is not much better. Not to mention that the golf cart taking me and my luggage to my room got completely lost. Driving aimlessly around in the chilly darkness is not very welcoming.

Room Tip: Get a villa close to the main building. ALL villas are very private so no need to worry about that.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NYCDesign78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon C, General Manager at Rancho Valencia, responded to this review, February 22, 2013
Dear NYCDesign78,

Thank you for your comments following your recent business visit. I was pleased to hear that you found Rancho Valencia to be pampering and private, and enjoyed the spacious layout of our casitas. The size of the property allows us to offer amenities you may not find at other resorts such as our Serenity Yoga Pavilion, 18 tennis courts and our 12,000 square foot spa.

I appreciate your feedback regarding the bell service. I have personally addressed your comments with the staff. We hope that you will consider visiting us again.

Best wishes,

Simon Chen
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Escondido, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2013

I'm not sure if Aubrey (the Front Desk agent) was smiling from ear to ear was for me or because of me; all I know is that she was just as excited for my stay at the RVR as I was. Maybe it was the feeling of sneaking away just a few miles from home ... or the feeling of sheer delight, but I can't remember feeling that elated in a while. Brian (Bellman) took me to my room and enthusiastically showed me everything there was to see about my room. Jacuzzi, fire places, mini bar, bath tub and yes of course the ever exciting king of toilets! My date had yet to arrive so I decided that a bubble bath was in order. After soaking in the tub, I called in room dining to select my delights for the evening and for breakfast the next morning. Allison helped me select my dinner and breakfast that was to be delivered later. Shortly thereafter, my date and I were off to the Pony Room. Brian picked us up and delivered us in style, with white knuckles, to the recently added "casual dining and bar." I felt like I was sitting at the "grown ups" table. We met a delightful couple who was in the process of deciding whether or not they were going to join the Spa at Rancho Valencia (if I haven't mentioned, the resort recent underwent a massive remodel that included the Fitness component of the Spa. The Yoga Pavilion alone is worth the trip out to RVR). They were delightful and were as excited about Rancho Valencia as I am. The marveled at the experience that I was about to embark upon for the night swooned over the atmosphere and decor. With hugs goodbye, we left the Pony Room to head back to our private oasis to await the arrival of dinner. On cue, dinner was delivered and set up moments after we returned back to our Casita. The spread before us consisted of the Cod, the aged steak, the lobster salad served with asparagus, french fries and mashed potatoes. Robert is ever the perfectionist and absolutely set me up for success. Dinner was sublime; I believe I dreamed of the lobster salad. Donned in RVR robes, we ate dinner by the fire and barely spoke. The evening ended with a soak in our jacuzzi. I don't think I moved once during the night. Breakfast delivered by Seraffin was exactly what we needed (did I mention we ordered chocolate shakes to go with our breakfast?). As if all of that weren't enough, I was able to end my experience with a spa treatment. I indulged in the 120 minute 6th Sense (you must peruse the Spa Menu of Services!). It was the perfect ending to a perfect night.

I have been very blessed in my life. I have traveled extensively and visited many exquisite places. I still cannot believe that I live near likely the most precious and rare of resorts. I appreciate the opportunity to experience all that RVR had to offer. Thank you!





Thank you!





kristin

Room Tip: Ask to be in one of the "Valencia" suites. Each boasts it's own outdoor fireplace and...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MamaG00se
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
152 reviews
74 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 321 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2013

Very impressed with the recent renovations to Rancho Valencia. The new owners took great care to maintain the character, while updating and freshening the appearance and technology in the rooms and dining areas.

Our suite was beautiful, 1000 square feet with a private patio and personal outdoor jacuzzi.
The bed was a very very comfortable California King with silky-soft sheets and pillows.
There was a generously sized writing desk, a large ledge to place items that divided the bedroom from the sitting room, a round table with a wonderful welcome amenity of a bottle of chilled champagne and a basket of both fresh and dried fruits. and to top it off, your own personal refrigerator with complimentary amenities as well as your own coffee machine that could dispense fresh stemed milk as well!

The lighting was good, there was a gas fireplace that was very romantic in the corner, the black-out drapes covered the french doors and windows perfectly for a sound sleep.

It was very serene and relaxing to unwind in the quiet beauty of the suite, to read or watch tv on the big flat screens.

The bathroom was delightfully large, had high sinks, a steam shower, wonderful oval bathtub, a heated Toto toilet, and fluffy bath rugs.
I liked the scent of the liquid soap/shampoo/conditioner but didn't like the way they dried my hair out.

Very nice walk-in closet. Comfy bathrobes and slippers.

Housekeeping was twice daily, and showed up on time. The suite was always immaculately clean.

A large carafe of fresh orange juice and a daily newspaper was left on a ledge by our door in the morning, yet another nice touch.

The restaurant was excellent, much improved over previous years both in appearance and in the food, and definitely deserving of 1 Michelin Star under chef Eric.

My friend said she had the best lemon souffle pancakes of her life at breakfast. My fresh berries were of the highest quality, and the vegetarian egg frittata with red pepper coulis was marvelous.
Tomato soup and french onion soup at lunch was delicious, as was the beef carpaccio and steamed asparagus that Chef Eric made for me to kindly accommodate for my no sugar-no wheat-no gluten diet.
The blood orange iced tea was excellent too.

The Spa was very nice. It is great that all the fitness classes, exercise equipment, locker room and pool/spa area are included for complimentary use during guest stays.

Service from everyone was excellent, from the loyal Brigitte (?) at the front reception desk & Debbie G., to the bellmen/valet parking men, the housekeepers, all the various wait staff in the restaurant, and the ladies behind the desk in the Spa.

Rancho Valencia truly offers value for the money they charge.
The multitude of thoughtful extra amenities really make a great impression and make a positive difference from most 5 star hotels that don't offer them, or nickel-and-dime you for them.
This southern california Relais & Chateau is among the very best in the USA now that they have completed the renovations and done such an outstanding job of it.

It is a warm, welcoming, beautiful spot in a tranquil location, and we very much look forward to returning.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CinderellaDearest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
76 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2013

This hotel is truly gorgeous. The pictures don't do it justice, especially since it just reopened after a huge remodel. The grounds are lush and tropical. There are roaring outdoor fireplaces everywhere outside the hotel's lobby and restaurants and even at the spa. Our regular room was huge with a sunken living room and large outdoor patio. The bathroom was also enormous with a walk in shower, large soaking tub, and walk in closet. The service around the property was wonderful and friendly. We had our 2 year old with us and even though this is a fancy place with few children, she was welcomed. We loved the babysitting service the hotel recommended. They have an extensive children's menu, full size cribs with nice linens and most other toddler essentials (that we needed at least). The spa is gorgeous and there are numerous classes you can take for free, including reformer pilates. We enjoyed the food we ate at both restaurants and the bar scene at night in the Pony Room was fun and lively. I have two very small complaints--housekeeping wasn't always on the ball. Two days we returned at 2pm and our room still wasn't made up, even though we'd put a note on the door. And our mini bar was never refilled, until the last day when we specifically requested it because we were desperate. In their defense, however, when we called to complain our room was immediately cleaned etc. My other complaint is the location. This hotel is in the gorgeous residential neighborhood of Rancho Santa Fe, but it is in the middle of nowhere. I timed it and it took us 20 minutes to reach the hotel from downtown Del Mar and I know it was at least 30 to La Jolla and more to downtown. Its fine if you plan to spend 95% of your time at the hotel, but if you want to explore and eat off property and don't like to drive, this isn't the place for you.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Amanda N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon C, General Manager at Rancho Valencia, responded to this review, January 18, 2013
Dear Amanda N.,

Thank you for your review of Rancho Valencia. On behalf of all of our staff, it was a pleasure to have you and your family here with us. We are glad to see that you enjoyed your time at The Spa and at The Pony Room - they are two of my personal favorites on the property as well! I appreciate your feedback regarding our housekeeping team and I will be sharing this important information with our team so that we may improve our service.

We hope to see you here again soon.

Warmly,

Simon Chen
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
50 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2012

It took months to find the right hotel in Southern California...and Rancho Valencia was exactly what I was looking for! This hotel is a real hidden gem. The property is exquisite - set in the lush, ritzy Rancho Sante Fe neighborhood, I felt like I was a guest in a private villa. Our room was HUGE (the bathroom alone is bigger than most hotel rooms), complete with a separate seating area, fire place, outdoor plunge pool and garden seating area. The restaurant is gourmet, and we enjoyed the scene at the Pony Room. The spa is beautiful but extremely expensive. We appreciated the excellent views, warm hospitality, brand new furnishings, and luxurious setting. Looking forward to returning!
Nice all inclusive rate: snacks and beverages in the room, no hidden fee for parking or internet etc.

Room Tip: They are all wonderful! Can't go wrong.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LadyBren85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon C, General Manager at Rancho Valencia, responded to this review, January 18, 2013
Dear guest,

I was delighted to read your feedback regarding your visit to Rancho Valencia. Thank you for the glowing review, we are thrilled to see that you enjoyed your stay with us! The resort truly is a hidden gem and it brings us such pleasure to have the opportunity to share it with you.

We look forward to your next stay with us.

Warmest regards,

Simon Chen
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 20, 2012

We just returned from two tranquil days at Rancho Valencia. They are almost complete with their multi-million dollar renovation, and the results are spectacular. It’s a first-class resort, that exceeds expectations, from their well-trained staff who greet you with a smile, and cool drink and walk you to the guest check-in, to their restaurant, bar and spa staff. All know just what to say, and when…
Our villa was amazingly appointed with the highest standard in décor, and amenities; the Italian cappuccino maker with French coffee, the non-honor bar, private patio and Jacuzzi with lounges. As one guest has already commented, the bathroom is almost the showpiece of the room, with its personal steam shower and soaking tub, and Toto lavatory, with motion sensor seat rising closing, self-flushing, and warm seat, it’s truly over the top.
We dined in the Pony room, and the Veladora restaurant, both were very good. Our in room breakfast of Eggs Benedict and champagne was such a treat. We were also lucky enough to have a couples massage in the newly completed spa. Once again, over the top in amenities, décor and service.
We will hopefully be back year to enjoy this spectacular hide-a-way.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank offtoeurope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rancho Valencia

Property: Rancho Valencia
Address: 5921 Valencia Cir, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067-9520
Location: United States > California > Rancho Santa Fe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Rancho Santa Fe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Rancho Valencia 5*
Number of rooms: 49
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

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