California’s coastline is full of hidden gems, but one beachside hamlet that deserves a stop on your next road trip is Rancho Santa Fe, a sleepy equestrian community in San Diego County where Bill and Melinda Gates keep an $18 million horse ranch. Down the road is Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, a wellness destination nestled on 45 acres of gardens, olive and orange groves.
At the spa, you’ll be instantly transported to a magical Mediterranean island. The indoor-outdoor oasis features a yoga pavilion surrounded by a reflection pond, treatment rooms with private outdoor spaces, soaking tubs, and lounge chairs. And get your cycling fix at the indoor cycling studio, which boasts French doors that open out to a lushly landscaped pool area.
The facilities also feature 18 tennis courts where private lessons are offered daily, a dedicated pilates studio, wellness workshops, and lectures. If you’re inclined for a wellness program consider a 3, 5 or 7-day Wellness Collective retreat.
Herein, Creative Director Diana Robbins shares the hotel’s most coveted room, and explains the property’s unique fleet of vehicles. Spoiler: Porsches are involved.
What’s the most requested room? What makes it so special?
Our most requested rooms are our Olive Grove suites, particularly 132. It is one of our more private accommodations and has stunning views of the olive grove. It is also very close to our walking trails, which are a lovely way to begin your day. Guests are often surprised to discover our waterfall as they traverse the trails.
What’s the rate?
The rate for our Olive Grove suites begins at $774.
Your personal favorite room?
My personal favorite is suite 106. This casita is close to the center of the resort, yet ultra-private. In the spring, the Jacaranda tree next to the casita is in full bloom with lavender flowers, making it especially magical. Bells and whistles include an outdoor Jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and the coziest bedroom with a view of the private patio.
Who are some celebrity guests that have stayed?
We don’t book and tell.
What’s a fun fact about the hotel?
There are so many fun details I have discovered over the years. The 45 acres that Rancho Valencia sits on were originally brimming with citrus groves. The Hacienda, now our “presidential suite,” was once the only building on this land. I love to imagine what the Hacienda was once like, who lived there, and what they saw when they stepped out the front door. While the building itself has changed quite a bit on the interior, the outside has not changed much over the years. The original, tiled water fountain is still one of the most beautiful details of the Hacienda.
I am also a big fan of our Porsche collection, to which guests have complimentary access. The Cayenne is just right for a drive up the coast, and the Boxter is the perfect choice for zipping through the wide, winding roads of Rancho Santa Fe. Both are heavenly.