Extraordinary Oceanfront Experiences at Terranea Resort
by Wynette Brecher
I flew down to Southern California with my husband Bob for a long weekend getaway at Terranea Resort. I'd long heard about this oceanfront resort, which opened in 2015, and was eager to check it out for myself. Terranea is an 582-room property in Ranchos Palos Verdes, which is a 30-minute drive from Long Beach airport or 60 minutes from LAX.
Check in was done in the main lobby and while there was always a line of people waiting, they do give you a glass of prosecco while you wait. Funny how people don’t mind the wait while they have a cocktail in hand! The hotel is very pet friendly and there were a lot of dogs.
Guestrooms start at about 400 square feet. Ours had a small balcony which overlooked the property and the ocean. There is little privacy on the balconies so you can friendly with your neighbors quickly! The rooms are well appointed with small refrigerators and a coffee maker, bathrobes, slippers and bath amenities. The closet was a bit small. There was a huge television on the wall and lots of outlets for electronics. The bathrooms were a good size but only one sink. The shower, I have to say was less than ideal. It had a small showerhead and low water pressure. The California Coastal Commission has a lot of regulations and this hotel falls under them, so it does not sound like the water pressure can be adjusted.
Terranea Resort’s scene-stealing backdrop has attracted Hollywood film crews since the 1950s, when Lloyd Bridges starred as ex-Navy diver Mike Nelson in the popular TV adventure series, Sea Hunt. The popular black-and-white program was filmed in and around the present resort site throughout four seasons from 1958 – 1961. At the time, the land was home to Marineland of the Pacific, a seaside animal theme park, which was the world's largest oceanarium when it opened. Sea Hunt is recognized as the first television series that focused on underwater adventures and provided an early platform for the protection of the Earth’s resources. Since then, Terranea’s dramatic landscape and oceanfront setting has been featured in numerous television and feature film productions, including: Pirates of the Caribbean, The Aviator, Charlie’s Angels, Savages, and many more.
The hotel has four restaurants, a cafe and a bar. The restaurants are open to the public and they are busy. They do have a huge Sunday brunch which was lovely. A guest favorite for casual dining, Nelson’s is perched directly above the ocean coves. The cliff-top eatery pays homage to Sea Hunt's Mike Nelson, as well as actor Lloyd Bridges’ lifetime efforts to protect the environment and the ocean. Guests enjoy coastal cuisine and a warm, friendly bar atmosphere surrounded by outdoor fire pits and unrivalled sunset views.
Terranea has their own garden, beehives, and sea salt conservatory where they do tours here for a fee. There was lots of lovely landscaping.
There are four pools and all were busy. The Resort Pool is the family pool with a slide. The Vista Pool is filled with salt water and is open for guests 13 yrs and up, but the teens didn't appear to want to hang out there so it was the quietest of the four pools. The Cielo Pool is the “adults only” salt water pool. But if you were over 30, it was not the place for you! The Spa Pool was nice (18 and over) and the hotel kindly arranged a complimentary cabanas for us there.
There is a good size spa, spa cafe, fitness center and treatment rooms. Food is served poolside at the Spa Pool. They also have a salon for hair and nails. The spa does have offerings for pregnant women and seems to be quite a draw for babymoons.
Terranea does offer wonderful active adventures like kayaking, paddle boarding, archery and falconry for an hourly fee. We choose to kayak and saw a lot of sea lions and pelicans. There were many of hiking trails around the property. The Tide Pool Kids Club is available for a fee. Kids from 2-12 are welcome in the Kids Club.
The resort hosts a lot of weddings. We saw two in the short time we were there. There were also various meetings going on, they have a very large meeting space area.
The resort has a “vacation home” program as well. These are the villa units, 2-3 bedroom (basically they are residences), all individually owned and decorated. All are fully stocked with linens and kitchenware. The rules on these however is that the owner /renters cannot occupy them for more than 90 days per year and not for more than 30 days at a time. Again these are Coastal Commission rules. Rentals start at about $1,000/night.
It is a large property and you can get around by golf cart but again, with the place being so busy there was up to a 20 minute wait for a golf cart during the dinner hour. Golf is nearby and they do offer a golf academy.
The dress code is basically country club casual but there were a lot of families dressed very informally.
This resort is good for multi generational families, girl friend getaways, wedding parties, groups, and of course babymoons. Couples seeking privacy and a quieter environment would do better elsewhere. Terranea could be an excellent place to stay before or after an ocean cruise departing from San Pedro or Long Beach.
Rates start at about $400/night plus their daily resort fee.
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