Is this the good life as the founding family of Palos Verdes, the Vanderlips, once dreamed? A timeless estate on the hill, as resplendent and fresh as the finest villa outposts of Positano, Amalfi, Capri?
The hidden gem that is the Palos Verdes Peninsula—Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills, and Rolling Hills Estates—is Los Angeles County’s jewel to be discovered again and again. It is serenity, easily found 30 minutes from LAX and Long Beach airports.
Nestled into a historic promontory of breeze-kissed ocean hillside, Terranea occupies a mere quarter of its 102-acre site, allowing guests to explore a truly unspoiled California landscape. In this eco-logically nourished place, El Segundo blue butterflies flutter about native plantings; dolphins dive freely in the pure waters; coastal sage perfumes the air and revives the soul.
As you descend off Palos Verdes Drive toward the entrance, punctuated by a circular fountain, and pass the carefully saved coral trees—restored from the former Marineland oceanarium—take in the mix of California Mission style, from soaring ceilings with cerused oak beams overhead to encaustic tiles that evoke warmth underfoot. Beyond the scalloped partition, the eye can’t help but drift back again and again toward the wraparound sapphire views, ever the muse for your Terranea stay.
From here, it’s choose your own adventure: a spacious resort terraced into the rolling hillside; 20 two-bedroom bungalows clustered near The Spa; 50 three-bedroom casitas lining the hillside; and 32 residential luxury villas that provide families and groups with an intimate, sequestered setting. Spread out and explore with nine dining options and in-room dining experiences; four pools kept at a delicious temperature of 82–84 degrees; 18 private cabanas ready for you to flit away long days; a 50,000-square-foot spa and wellness escape; a nine-hole golf course; and every imaginable land, sea, air, and art activity to disconnect and reconnect.
Wander two miles of panoramic trails hugging the coastal bluffs, the beach cove, the tide pools. And every so often, when the echo of the bell at Nelson’s chimes, remember the ancient majesty of the deep: A whale has been spotted from this impossibly pristine point. Welcome to timeless luxury.
Rooms with a View
In the lobby building, from 900-square-foot, one-bedroom suites to the 2,100-square-foot Vanderlip Suite, these sophisticated spaces brim with coastal-modern refinery, natural materials, and sumptuous textures and comforts. The premier oceanfront Shear-water Suite, at 1,800 square feet, is one of four gems situated at the tip of the peninsula. Entertain up to eight guests around the dinner table. On the terrace, enjoy cocktails in the evening or breakfast al fresco and watch through your own telescope as dolphins frolic in the sea.
The ocean inspires the relaxing decor, from shell-encrusted sconces to tile accents designed to mimic tumbled beach glass. Slip into an ergonomically designed bathtub, where handpicked amenities effervesce with a lasting sea-glass hue. Mirrors are strategically placed to reflect the view.
Who could blame you for lingering on your ocean-view balcony? Given the property’s unique 270-degree vantage point over the Pacific, you’ll see a colorful ombre of hues twice daily. Nearly every 450-square-foot guest room has an ocean view—your own special outlook for every Terranea visit.
In-room modern artworks are a colorful punctuation to the resort’s collection of plein air paintings from the renowned Portuguese Bend Art Colony. In each alcove, stop and admire pencil drawings that speak to the charm and history of various historic locations around the peninsula.
With warm woods and a soft palette of coastal hues to frame the deep-blue view, the residential feel of the design touches on refined Santa Barbara style: Spanish-Colonial influences, nailhead trim, natural linens and basketry, and nautical accents throughout. From loose-woven textiles to ombre-blue carpeting under-foot, natural materials impart a sense of ocean movement. For work and dining alike, sophisticated, round marble tables replace the traditional hotel desk. Beyond 65-inch flat-screens, technology is paramount, from Bluetooth-compatible, in-room phones to bedside USB ports.
Clustered adjacent to The Spa, adults-only wellness is placed front of mind at 20 two-bedroom bungalows. Find top-of-the-line gourmet kitchens, al fresco dining terraces, fire pits, Murchison-Hume bath amenities, and fitness features throughout, like baskets of yoga mats and weights in the living rooms. Book a private training session to jump-start your stay.
For added privacy, 50 three-bedroom, ocean-view casitas are ready for longer stays. Here, French doors open to light breezes, and full kitchens dressed in beautiful warm woods flow into leisurely family breakfasts on your private terrace.
CLOCKWISE FROM OPPOSITE, TOP: A newly renovated Casita features an outdoor patio and full kitchen. The 1,800-square-foot Shearwater Suite includes an expansive living room with office area. The Bungalows are exclusively for adults and feature outdoor firepits.
Each of the nine dining outlets at Terranea engages guests with its own sensibility and style. sea beans is the casual go-to for your morning latte and quiche, fresh-baked breads and pastries, stocking up on sundries, and perhaps indulging in a bespoke gelato sandwich or custom cake. Pull up an outdoor seat and meet some of the local dogs after their daily trail walks.
An engaging celebration of the deep relationships the kitchen has with all the best local fishermen, farmers, and sustainable ingredients, catalina kitchen is a bold and energetic social restaurant for any occasion—whether solo or with friends, family, or colleagues. Here, the focal point is a tile-accented, stone pizza oven, which bakes perfect hearth-baked flatbreads.
Connected by beautiful black-and-white Nicaraguan tile, bashi (“bridge”) indulges the cultural history of Palos Verdes while paying homage to one of the legendary Japanese agricultural families of Palos Verdes—the Ishibashis—who farmed the area’s verdant hillsides. Peer through the open kitchen window, your portal to discover sushi chefs hard at work to prepare your pan-Asian feast.
A winding garden path takes you away from it all, to the fine dining venue of mar’sel. The tucked-away venue offers one of the most romantic views on property. Enjoy a cocktail in the candlelit lounge; reserve ahead for one of the patio seats for a sunset dinner; experience one of the chef’s special tasting menus; or gather for a special occasion by the fire and allow chef to delight you with house-made English muffins and selections of dry-aged beef.
Flip-flop-friendly Nelson’s beckons families with its crowd-pleasing vacation menu and summertime live music. The midcentury styling of the sleek building is by design, to reflect the 1950s show Sea Hunt (Nelson’s is the namesake of Mike Nelson, Lloyd Bridges’ character). The eclectic, sustainable design of this casual eatery is a deep dive into found materials and vintage memorabilia, a boat hanging above. And every time a bell rings, that means a whale or dolphin has been spotted!
With its soaring ceilings of cerused oak, warm travertine, and plein air paintings from the Portuguese Bend Art Colony hung throughout, consider the Lobby Bar & Terrace the grand living room of your own estate. Select a glass of wine and small bites and enjoy live jazz on the weekends. Sunsets on the Lobby Terrace feature a crystal singing-bowl ritual—an ancient practice that relaxes through sound vibration.
For adults only, cielo point is a must visit. With its stunning ocean views, this monochromatic, poolside, craft cocktail bar and craveable canteen shimmers with chill and chic.
Fresh from lazy lounging, you and the whole family can catch the game from a flat screen in your private cabana, while snacking on poolside classics, coolers, and even s’mores by the firepit, from The Grill at the Resort Pool.
The crown-jewel location on the property, The Spa at Terranea is perched just above the water to help you get reconnected with nature’s biorhythms. The 50,000-square-foot complex is built around a sparkling, 25-meter pool—kept at a lovely 82 degrees—and dotted with exclusive, plush cabanas.
Twenty-five luxury treatment rooms are inspired by Terranea’s coastal location and local materials, most notably three VIP signature suites designed around the healing powers of the ocean, earth, and fire.
With added emphasis on privacy and utmost quiet, a “me day” or “we day” allows you to explore the amenity areas, including a full-service salon and spa boutique; separate locker rooms for men and women; and nourishing dining poolside or indoors at solviva.
Pre-treatment men’s and women’s lounge retreats feature saunas, herbal-infused steam rooms, outdoor whirlpools, cold plunge pools, and firepits.
In the post-treatment, coed lounge, soak up the treatment effects and the indoor-outdoor ocean views, all while cozying up by the fireplace in a hooded terry spa robe and slippers. Order a cup of tea or a smoothie and linger for extended relaxation.
An elite, 5,000-square-foot fitness and wellness center and movement studio with outdoor terrace helps you reach your goals with state-of-the-art equipment and classes, personal training, and sculpting. Check the online schedule for daily group classes. Among them: Nature’s Gym Bootcamp, Ocean-front Seaside Cycling, and Full Moon Yoga.
Taking a Dip
A 140-foot waterslide and splash zone are beloved hallmarks of the recently beautified 5,000-square-foot Resort Pool, where indoor-outdoor living exudes true California style. Curl up in one of the many plush chaises, or reserve ahead with your experience concierge for a private cabana, outfitted with flat-screen TVs and poolside dining from The Grill at the Resort Pool.
With its Mediterranean-tiled detailing, hot tub, sundeck, chaises, and heavenly round daybeds, those 13 and over love the getaway vibes of Vista Pool.
Bathed in warm, terracotta hues and the soundtrack of the ocean against the coastal bluffs below, the cloistered Spa Pool offers serenity on the horizon and comfy spa robes, de rigueur. Refresh in the 25-meter pool for a dip or aqua aerobics. Lounge in lavish cabanas or near firepits to unwind post-treatment. Enjoy poolside serenity and ocean views, along with extra-plush chaise longues for a long day of pampered leisure. Access to the Spa Pool is reserved exclusively for spa and bungalow guests.
Private and terraced, with only glass partitions separating cielo point pool from the azure ocean beyond, the chic and modern adult pool mixes up live music, craft cocktails, and leisurely bites. Here, find chaises plus private monochromatic cabanas with a one-of-a-kind view.
CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT: Resort Pool. cielo point Pool. Vista Pool. The Spa Pool.
CRUISE THE COASTLINE
We all need a push sometimes, and electric bicycles are a thrilling, low-impact way to explore Palos Verdes’ rolling hillsides. Complete with helmets and locks, they’re available for hourly and daily rental at pointe discovery.
For the ideal resort wear to float about the grounds, step into a slice of la dolce vita by way of California at marea. With its capiz-shell chandelier and quatrefoil accents, the refined boutique is your go-to mix of men’s and women’s resort essentials, jewelry and sun-ready accessories, home goods, and unique, must-have souvenirs by local artisans.
YOUR OWN PRIVATE IDYLL
Perfectly sequestered yet accessible to every amenity of the resort, 32 luxury villa residences exude all the seamless elegance of California living. Outdoor living rooms are warmed by tile-accented fireplaces, hot tubs overlook the ocean and The Links, and a gourmet cook’s kitchen lies in wait for a farm-fresh family dinner and wine tasting, lovingly prepared by Terranea chefs.
Keep an eye out for an incredible collection of original paintings from the Portuguese Bend Art Colony, an esteemed plein air art studio on the peninsula. Contact the adventure concierge to work with an instructor to try your hand at this celebrated form and take home a treasured keepsake of your time in the open air.
With its striking promontory and clear view of Catalina Island, sunset “I dos” at Catalina Point, the most popular wedding ceremony destination, might be punctuated by the celebratory leaping of dolphins. Up to 220 guests can enjoy the scenic Catalina Room for dinner and dancing, part of 135,000 square feet of meeting and celebratory space on the property, much of which opens directly onto the outdoors for fresh breezes of ocean air.
Take a nature walk along two miles of coastal trails. Near the beach cove, the foamy water laps at crystal quartz rocks sparkling in the sun, hinting at crystal mines beneath. The ancient mineral is ground and used in spa treatments; quartz singing bowls are part of the resort’s cherished sunset ritual.
In a tiny greenhouse near the casitas, hidden off the side of the meeting rooms, visit the Sea Salt Conservatory. Learn how our culinary team goes into the waters of the Pacific at the beach cove, collects pure ocean water, and uses fresh sea salt throughout the culinary venues. You can even purchase this artisan salt to recreate the magic in your home kitchen.