Regular travelers to Southern California know well the term marine layer and pack appropriately warm clothing when staying at the coast. But San Diego sojourns are seldom foggy for guests of Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa, which is tucked into a sunny North County valley 7 miles inland. Neighboring the sprawling estate homes of Rancho Santa Fe, in one of the most expensive zip codes in the United States, the resort reopened in October following a 10-month, $30 million renovation.
Return guests will recognize the 45-acre property’s gated, treelined drive and the resurfaced exteriors of the 49 casita accommodations and the hacienda-style common areas. Eduardo Sanchez, the head tennis pro who has overseen Rancho Valencia’s 18 championship courts since the property debuted in 1989, is one of the many other familiar faces at the revamped resort.
Nevertheless, dramatic changes are apparent throughout Rancho Valencia, from the spa complex to new services. Each morning, staff members deliver fresh-squeezed Valencia orange juice with the paper to individual casitas, all of which were gutted, modernized, and redecorated. The redesigned restaurant Veladora showcases a striking collage of butterfly wings by Damien Hirst and is adjacent to the new Pony Room bar, where prosecco is available on tap, Enomatic-dispensed wines can be purchased by the ounce, and, after the sun goes down, fire pits warm outdoor lounge seating on cool Southern California nights. Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa, 858.756.1123, www.ranchovalencia.com