After the second stay-at-home order for California was lifted last month, I knew I needed a few days with a change of scenery after many months at home. Not wanting to venture too far yet, we opted for a staycation at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, a Relais & Chateaux and Forbes Five Star resort in Rancho Santa Fe. Consistently ranked one of the top resorts in California, Rancho Valencia has been on my staycation bucket list for a while and I was so excited for our stay!


Rancho Valencia is located in North County San Diego, approximately 30 minutes from downtown and the San Diego airport. The hotel sits on 45 acres of gardens and citrus groves just outside the town of Rancho Santa Fe. It’s the perfect escape for those seeking space, luxury and privacy.


The 49 hacienda-style casitas are secluded oases for guests. During our stay, we had the opportunity to enjoy one of the Olive Grove King Suites. My first impression as we walked into the room was that I couldn’t believe how large it was! The photos really don’t do justice in portraying the ample space and vaulted ceilings. All rooms feature private patios (many with jacuzzi spas!), a large bathroom with a walk-in closet, a bedroom area with two workspaces, and a sunken living room with a gas fireplace and flat screen TV. Luxurious touches include Frette linens, cozy robes and slippers, an all-inclusive minibar (so indulgent!), coffee makers and milk frothers, an oversized bathtub, a steam shower, and a smart toilet.

The level of personalized service is also on point. Every morning, the New York Times is delivered just outside your door with a crate of fresh squeezed orange juice – a nod to the area’s orange groves. In the evening, turndown service sets mood lighting, turns on the fireplace and leaves orange-infused caramel chocolates on your pillow.


Rancho Valencia is also an extremely dog-friendly resort! Probably the most dog-friendly resort that Deacon has visited. While they do charge a flat $200 pet fee, this comes with a large cozy bed, two dog bowls, custom dog treats and even a doggy room service menu! The private patio is also perfect for bathroom needs, and a small trash can was left outside our front door for our use. They truly thought of everything!


Rancho Valencia is famous for The Pony Room, a local favorite featuring craft beers, 100 variations of tequila, signature cocktails and rustic American cuisine. While the bar is located indoors, al fresco seating is available for diners. And currently, Wednesday – Sunday, The Pony Room moves to the lawn – transforming into Pony Camp, an intimate outdoor setting with cabanas, fire pits and even live music!

Veladora is the hotel’s upscale dining experience – offering an elevated take on traditional California cuisine. Currently closed due to COVID and undergoing a renovation, the restaurant will reopen in early 2022 in a reimagined setting.

For breakfast and lunch, casual dining is available in the courtyard and al fresco areas of the main building. And of course, in-room dining is available with a full menu.


Rancho Valencia is Southern California’s #1 tennis resort, offering 16 tennis courts (including 2 clay), as well as 3 pickleball courts. Several golf courses are available nearby for enthusiasts, including the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course, and clubs are available to borrow, complimentary for Rancho Valencia guests. Those interested in fitness will enjoy yoga, pilates, spin, and TRX. Many of these classes are also being offered outside at the moment to comply with COVID regulations and enjoy the beautiful California sunshine.

Wellness-seekers will love the spa, which is currently undergoing a full renovation and set to reopen in 2021. In the meantime, outdoor massage services are being offered at designated spa casitas on property. Guests may also make use of complimentary bicycles, walking paths and a large resort pool.


For 2021, all bookings made at Rancho Valencia through ATLAS + VALISE will receive the following Virtuoso amenities:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast for two guests per bedroom (maximum $40 daily credit per person)
  • $100 USD Resort or Hotel credit, (Not valid in Sheridan, the resort’s boutique. Not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Rancho Valencia also frequently has a 3rd or 4th night free promotion available during the year which is an incredible value! Contact me to check on current promotions for you.


San Diego is truly a year-round destination. May & June can be a bit foggy and gray in the mornings by the coast, though I find they usually give way to sunny afternoons. July – September can be quite warm and even into October and early November, beach days are popular. My favorite months in San Diego are February through April, when the flowers start to bloom, sunlight hours extend, and temperature average in the high 60s to low 70s during the day.

Overall, I highly recommend Rancho Valencia for any stay in Southern California! And in these socially distanced times, I truly appreciated the sheer amount of private space allotted, even for an entry level room category.


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