Soaked in sunshine with a calm and relaxing vibe, Terranea Resort on the Palos Verdes Peninsula doesn’t feel like a movie set, despite serving as the backdrop for several popular films. Pirates of the Caribbean, Pearl Harbor, and Charlie’s Angels are just a few box office hits that have utilized the property. No shock though -- especially on the latter. After spending a few nights at the resort, we definitely felt like we were in heaven. Here's what you need to know.What’s Hot: If you’re not already out taking a cycling class or whale watching by the sea -- or doing both at once -- you need to make a dedicated trip to watch the sunrise and sunset from the same ocean-facing spots, over the Pacific.
Best Feature: It’s a tie. The spa here has 25 treatment rooms, as well as indoor and outdoor relaxation areas with hot tubs, a pool with a fire pit, and a café serving traditional fruit and veggie smoothies alongside adult ones. The food, though, will have you unbuttoning your pants for more room -- with no regret. (See below.)
The Rooms: There are 582 resort rooms, suites, villas, casitas, and bungalows. We stayed in a quiet, sunny one-bed guest room with an oceanview. (The villas are available for purchase, if a $1.9 million vacation home is within your budget.)
The Food: When they say “Farm to Terranea,” they aren’t joking. The seasonal dining menus of the eight dining venues practically revolve around the farmland on this 102-acre property. At mar’sel, the signature restaurant, the Chef’s garden that you'll see upon entry provides herbs and freshly picked ingredients. Nelson’s is for casual cuisine like lobster tacos, oversized pretzels, chips & guacamole, and calamari; for Asian fare, grab dinner at bashi, where the sushi is superb and the Shaking Beef is a must. And that's not to mention sea beans coffee & sweets shop, whose extra-large cookies filled with gelato will send sugar fiends to heaven ($8.50), or the bi-montly Chef’s Table non-profit benefit series for a special occasion ($295 per person for a three-course dinner in a private villa, following a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception).
Who Will Love It: Foodies, fans of the spa and fitness classes, and golfers will all be happy here (there’s a 9 hole, par 3 course onsite, too). Swimmers and pool loungers can choose their favorite of three pools, one of which is adults-only for ultimate peace and quiet -- and, just in case that's not enough, a fourth pool will be completed this summer.
Who Might Not: The pace here will be on the slow side for the city-obsessed looking for bright lights and constant go-go-go.
Nearby: Downtown Los Angeles is 30 miles away.
Rates, Deals, and Special Offers: There are a few specials going on right now that can help you shave off more of that rate. You'll get the lowest rates with the third-night free Discover Terranea promotion valid through May 23, from $313 on weeknights (sold out on weekends), or the Spring Savings promotions, which offers 30 percent off stays of any length between Sunday and Thursday, from $329 on weeknights and $446-$505 on weekends.
Getting There: A 40-minute drive south of Los Angeles International Airport, at 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275