RANCHO VALENCIA RESORT & SPA
Where being a couch potato is encouraged
San Diego, California
BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT: Grab a seat on an outdoor wrap-around couch next to the firepit outside The Pony Room, a bar and eatery that serves up a mean “Sassy Sangrita.” Get there in the early evening, position yourself to face the croquet lawn, and you’ll be treated to the spectacle of multicolored hot air balloons drifting into the sky, silhouetted by the setting sun.
DESIGN NOTES: Nestled among 45 acres of gardens and olive groves, Rancho Valencia—which underwent a $30 million facelift in 2012—puts a Southwestern spin on Mediterranean motifs with terracotta roofs, intricate tile-work, fountains and exposed beams. Each of the resort’s 49 guest casitas boasts an outdoor hot tub, colorful artwork and a private patio overlooking the neighboring canyons.
CLAIM TO FAME: One of the best tennis resorts in the country, Rancho Valencia features 18 courts—including a main court with seating, surrounded by lush bouganvilleas—and offers drills and matches with top pros. Bill Gates is among the celebrities who have been lured in by these award-winning facilities—although the resort’s complimentary fleet of Porsches may have been a draw as well.