Sign in

Forgotten your password?

Sign up for free Smith membership

×
abc
Forgotten your password?

Enter your account email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password (it should only take a few seconds)

Sign in

×
Are you sure you want to sign out of Smith?
×
Show
Hide

iFrame []

URL:

Hotel Highlights

  • Vast gardens and grounds
  • Word-class tennis
  • All-natural spa

Overview

If you think California is all about the ocean, you haven’t been to Rancho Valencia hotel in Rancho Santa Fe. Set inland from the Pacific, the cluster of Spanish-style bungalows is spread over 43 acres of flowering trees, manicured croquet fields, champion-staffed tennis courts and olive groves, with a spa and a top-notch restaurant at the core.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Rancho Valencia with us:

Breakfast for two each day

Facilities

View Gallery

Need To Know

Rooms

53 suites.

Check–out

12pm, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $434.00, excluding tax at 8 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of 0.065% per room per night on check-out.

More details

Rates usually exclude breakfast (from $15), but include in-room minibar, fitness classes and bicycle use.

Also

The spa could be a destination all its own. Set off to the side, the building has its own adults-only pool, a Watsu treatment pool, a sauna and steam room and a fitness centre along with several treatment rooms for organic massage and facials. There is a spin studio, Pilates studio, and space for Zumba, boxing and TRX classes. The hotel offers several daily yoga classes, dawn hikes and other activities.

At the hotel

Spa, yoga pavilion, fitness centre, tennis centre, bocce ball court/croquet lawn, gardens, boutique, DVD/CD library free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, minibar.

Our favourite rooms

Each room has outdoor space and an indoor fireplace for chilly nights. Olive Grove Suites have outdoor hot tubs. Room 140 has an outdoor dining area with leafy views and extra privacy. Rooms nearest the main building have better access to the pool.

Poolside

The family-friendly outdoor pool has a hot tub, plenty of loungers and a nearby bar. The indoor spa pool and hot tub are strictly for the grown-ups.

Packing tips

Tennis whites: Rancho Valencia has a renowned tennis program, with immaculate courts, and an array of former pro champions as instructors.

Also

Almost anything you forget can be found at the hotel's two boutiques. The main shop off the lobby has designer clothes and Alexis Bittar jewellery; the smaller shop in the spa has beauty products, gym gear and swimwear.

Children

Welcome. The hotel has cribs available free, and each room has a queen-size sofa bed for older children. There is also a welcome backpack for children, which includes a colouring book and stuffed toy. The hotel can arrange babysitting, from $18 an hour.

Pet‐friendly

Dogs up to 40lb are welcome for a $75 fee. The hotel will provide pet beds and food bowls.

Eco‐friendly

The staff compost food waste, recycle wherever possible and convert oil into bio-diesel fuel to power local school buses.

Food & Drink

View Gallery

Hotel Restaurant

The setting of Veladora, from chef Eric Bauer, nearly matches the excellent coastal-ranch cuisine. The dining area is split between a large, fire-warmed terrace and a Spanish-style dining room with an original Damien Hirst painting and valley views. The ultra-seasonal menu includes dishes like pastrami-spiced ono and roasted lamb, all served with local vegetables. The kitchen staff tend the hotel gardens, and make olive oil, honey and preserves.

Hotel Bar

The polo-inspired Pony Bar is a cozy mix of overstuffed chairs, dark wood and worn leather, with patio dining that has perfect views of the nearby hot-air balloons. Open only to those 21 and older, the bar serves prosecco on tap and over 100 tequilas. The bar menu includes sirloin sandwiches, flatbreads and a charcuterie board.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am until 11am, and lunch from 11 until 2.30pm. Dinner is between 6pm and 9pm. The bar opens at 11am each day and closes at midnight on weeknights, and 1am on Friday and Saturday.

Room service

A selection of dishes from Veladora is available 24 hours a day.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Southern California chic. Flowing dresses and crisp button-downs are ideal. Don't forget a light jacket, as nights can be chilly up in the hills.

Top table

Nab a spot on the terrace if the weather is warm. For the best views on cooler nights, snag a window table near the fireplace.

Local Guide

View Gallery
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

There are so many fitness classes, spa treatments and tennis tricks that it can be tempting never to leave the 45 rolling acres of Rancho Valencia. But if you do head out to explore, take to the skies for a hot-air balloon ride (www.californiadreamin.com). Nearby Temecula and Del Mar send dozens of balloons up on clear days, and offers spectacular views of the mountains, Pacific ocean and San Diego sprawl.

Due west, Del Mar and Solana Beach are laidback beach towns with cute shops and classic California beaches. Bring boogie boards, surf gear if you want to take advantage of the waves. Or bet on winning horses at Del Mar's race track.

Those who prefer golf clubs to a tennis racket should have no trouble finding a good place to tee off. Torrey Pines, Aviara and The Farms are all top-rated courses, and should pose a challenge for even the most confident golfers.

Don't overpack: San Diego has excellent shopping for all types. Charming La Jolla has the best independent boutiques, and is an excellent place to stock up on kaftans, sandals and swimsuits. (Those who aren't interested in shopping should check out the coves, where seals often beach themselves for afternoon naps.) Further south, Fashion Valley is an outdoor promenade-style mall with all of the top shops, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and an Apple Store. Even bargain hunters won't be disappointed. Carlsbad's Flower Fields Outlet Mall has well-discounted duds from retailers including Barneys, Ralph Lauren and Theory.

Local restaurants

San Diego has exceptional dining, from dive Mexican restaurants to upscale California cuisine. When it comes to romantic dinners, locals have long turned to Mille Fleurs, a 10-minute drive into Rancho Santa Fe (+1 858 756 3085; www.millefleurs.com), for its traditional French dishes. The menu of lobster salad, seared scallops, local veal and other elegant dishes pairs perfectly with the stellar wine list. Trendy Market (+1 858 523 0007; www.marketdelmar.com), a short drive west of the hotel on Via De La Valle in Del Mar, has a sushi bar, craft cocktails and a varied menu that includes chardonnay-braised artichokes, mesquite-smoked chilli and a Chinese-style halibut hot pot. If you're looking for authentic Southern California Mexican, head toward the coast. Roberto's on Carmel Valley Road (+1 858 755 1629; www.robertos.us) packs burritos with juicy carne asada. For clever takes on classic dishes, head for Bull Taco on South Coast Highway in Cardiff by the Sea (+1 760 635 3595; www.bulltaco.com), where ordering an LBC means you get lobster, bacon and chorizo in a corn tortilla.

Local cafés

Before exploring the best of Del Mar, pop into Pannikin, a retro coffee shop in a converted rail station on Via De La Valle (+1 858 481 8007; pannikincoffeeandtea.com). The cafe serves strong coffee, fantastic baked goods and tuna sandwich that is perfect for beach picnics. Thyme in the Ranch (+1 858 759 0747; www.thymeintheranch.com) in Rancho Santa Fe is ideal for casual lunches or snacks. The coffee shop makes all of its ingredients in-house.

 

+ Enlarge
Californian ranchlands

Rancho Valencia

5921 Valencia Circle, Mailing address: P.O. Box 9126, Rancho Santa Fe, California 92067, United States

Rancho Valencia is located in Northern San Diego County, a few miles off Interstate 5 in Rancho Santa Fe.

Planes

San Diego International Airport is the nearest, a 35-minute drive from the hotel, and has direct flights from New York (www.jetblue.com), Chicago (www.united.com) and other major cities. Los Angeles International Airport is the largest regional hub, less than two hours from the hotel.

Trains

Amtrak and Coaster offer train service down the Southern California coast, from Santa Barbara through Los Angeles, down to San Diego. The nearest station is Solana Beach, a 15-minute drive from the hotel.

Automobiles

Californians drive everywhere, so those wishing to see more than the hotel are best renting a car. There are ample rental kiosks at the airport, and the drive is a fairly straight shot north on Interstate 5. The hotel has plenty of parking.

Reviews

View Gallery

Anonymous review

by Shinan Govani , Social spectator

I recognized that grunt. Definitely female, and somewhat NC-17. I was sitting by my blissful lonesome at the near-isolated lap pool of Rancho Valencia, a luxury resort in Rancho Santa Fe, where the glamour arrives discreetly packaged, and the colour-scheme was of an edifying tangerine and a Moorish blue. I began, suddenly, to hear many-decibel vocalizations. Just over the wall, and somewhere pas…
Read more

Rancho Valencia

Anonymous review by Shinan Govani, Social spectator

I recognized that grunt. Definitely female, and somewhat NC-17.

I was sitting by my blissful lonesome at the near-isolated lap pool of Rancho Valencia, a luxury resort in Rancho Santa Fe, where the glamour arrives discreetly packaged, and the colour-scheme was of an edifying tangerine and a Moorish blue. I began, suddenly, to hear many-decibel vocalizations.

Just over the wall, and somewhere past the proud swaying palms I detected a merciless loop of pneumatic drills. The grunts also accompanied the distinct ponk-ponk of tennis balls.

Could it be? The racquet and the racket of a Sharapova? After all, the courtside action is nothing to sneeze at here, and the pro-level facility is widely considered to be among the best in Southern California.

An attendant – as much of a whiz at unobtrusively folding towels around this gleaming basin hidden inside the grounds as he was at humouring guests – set me straight when I snooped about the player’s identity. ‘Oh, she's there everyday,’ he told me, smiling.

Ok, so it turned out this mystery tennis star wasn’t the magnificent Maria. But it’s not unusual to spy an A-list guest or two hiding behind dark sunglasses here. And it's not just the tennis fiends grunting with pleasure at this village-like compound, set amid the horse farms and the citrus groves 25 miles north of downtown San Diego.

For those on a steadier diet of sloth, or perhaps just the tiniest round of non-gruelling croquet before a lobster salad at the Pony Room – a little den of a restaurant – there's more. Emphatically so.

Basking in its recent 30-million-dollar renovation, this retreat consists of 53 home-away-home casitas. And though it is a Relais & Châteaux-rated sanctuary, it is, all things considered, more Relaxed & Châteaux than it is Relais & Chi-Chi.

I settled in all too comfortably in the split-level villa-style Agave Suite. It was light-flooded and filled with so many distinct details – cathedral ceilings, a fireplace, hand-painted Mexican tiling, a private patio with fragrant gardens, steam showers, soak tubs, wrought-iron chandeliers and very happy-making linens. You get the pic why I could never leave, right?

Waking up here is an anticipated event. After all, what better motivator is there for springing out of bed than to collect the carafe of freshly squeezed orange juice, made right on property, at one's door? All just part of the morning routine.

Designed with the lingering escape in mind, this is the spot where I'd run away to recuperate if I was a first wife banished by the arrival of a second trophy-ier wife. Likewise: if I was a scion of a captain of industry, and I needed a place to come and mull my options to either stay in the family business or summon up the courage to say no to daddy.

Walking around the olive grove on the property – all the herbs for the kitchen are grown on-site, and there are also six honeybee hives – it hit me, too, that this might be a good place to come and write a two-act play. Peace. Serenity. And a more likely retreat scenario for yours truly.

The jilted first wife, the confused scion, and the aspiring playwright could all use this opportunity to think and plot while taking advantage of a does-the-trick spa. Most delicious on the menu was the Harmonizing Scalp Massage, a tingling treatment with organic Mediterranean myrtle, juniper, jojoba, avocado, and oils.

Of course, if not content to just lounge, there are more than 75 health and fitness classes offered each week. Madonna's butt-kicking dream come true, I tell you. The kind of place where a gal named Misty – as a printed sked, left daily in the suite, informs – leads a 9:00-9:50 a.m. sweat-shop, so to speak, entitled Chair Pilates Level 2.

Whether or not you work up a sweat, a person has to eat. And well-heeled guests (a younger crowd that one might expect) and local denizens-at-large, even the odd genius (Bill Gates famously lived at the Rancho Valencia while his house was being built) – are often spotted at the main restaurant, Veladora.

Admiring the million-dollar Damien Hirst butterfly objet that stands at attention when you enter the sleek room, I chose to have lunch at Veladora most days, and also to get a good telescope of the crowd. Such as the two overly polite women - typical BFFNs (Best Friends For Now) – as well as a Zooey Deschanel type on a date with a Bradley Copper type.

Evenings my preferred spot was the aforementioned Pony Room. A distinguished hideout, indeed, where all the wooden barstools have feet shaped like cattle hoofs, and a spot-hitting burger.

I learned that Jenny Craig (yes of the weight loss and nutrition empire), likes to drop-by sometimes, her own horse-stables being across the street from Rancho Valencia. And, having spotted the stables as well as her Hermitage-sized estate – and her private race-track – it was clear that pounds-dropping is where it's at, and that I may well be in the wrong business.

‘What does Jenny Craig have here?’ I asked a regular beside me at the bar.

‘Oh, she indulges,’ Mr Regular told me.

Well, grunt, grunt to that, I thought as I tucked into my expertly-grilled burger. And got to pondering the bigger question at hand: what role whould I play on my return visit (oh yes, I'll be back) to this fantasy retreat? The jilted first wife, the confused scion or the aspiring playwright, the weight-loss guru… the possibilites are endless. 

 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Rancho Valencia's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Both restaurants were wonderful, the staff outstanding and the spa with its sauna, steam and plunge pool.

Don’t expect

It is really hard to find fault with Rancho Valencia, the only negative was that when our breakfast arrived the toast was soggy.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

A high luxury, good service and beautiful property. The gym and fitness classes are great Very nice bathroom and room in general. Free access to laundry room (washing machine, dryer with soap, fabric softener) was very convenient.

Don’t expect

Unfortunately the main swimming pool was closed when we were there.

Rating: 9/10 stars