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Getaway to the Palos Verdes Peninsula

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Terranea Resort offers an escape from life’s daily routine

By Bob Page

When your mood strikes next for a weekend getaway — or, maybe even for a few days more than a traditional three-day break — pack the car and head for Terranea Resort  (ter-a-NAY-a).
Terranea, you say. Ok, so you haven’t heard of it. You’re excused. It’s so new that many haven’t.
It’s simply the newest luxury resort along Southern California’s coveted coastline. It sits on the spectacular Palos Verdes Peninsula with unobstructed views overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island.
From San Diego, it is no more than a two-hour hop up the I-5 and I-405 and once there, you’ll be lulled into a perfect escape from the daily routine of life’s normal demands.
Whether you’re in search of  serenity, being pampered in a gorgeous spa, hiking the trails along the Pacific, playing a cute and smart nine-hole golf course or just out for a weekend of fun, Terranea has you covered.
The place is spectacular. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more perfect setting. Terranea offers luxurious accomomodations in 582 spacious hotel rooms with 30 suites, 20 bungalows, 50 ocean view casitas and 32 villas and, to the enviable few who acquire ownership status, a limited collection of ownership opportunities are available in the  casitas and  villas.
The hotel rooms range from 450 square feet to the 2,200-square-foot Presidential Suite.
Our recent weekend there started with dinner in mar’sel, the resort’s signature restaurant. Terranea’s search for a chef with a national reputation attracted a number of the country’s top chefs before  the resort finally settled on Michael Fiorelli.
Fiorelli’s resume includes stops at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, Restaurant Susanna Foo in Philadelphia, the famed Little Nell in Aspen and at the Inn in Little Washington, called by many as the best restaurant in the United States.
Our meals did not disappoint. Au contraire, the food and the presentation made for a memorable evening. We dined on roasted young beets with dried cranberries, hazelnuts and goat cheese and a homemade potato gnocchi with la quercia prosciutto and pioppini mushrooms  as first courses.
We’re suckers for dover sole. If it’s on a menu,  it’s a hard one to pass up.   Fiorelli’s was sautéed perfectly and served with English peas and black trumpet mushrooms and washed down with a bottle of Kistler’s 2007 Vine Hill Chardonnay.
There are certain routines in life, however,  which I find  it impossible to get away from, even when traveling. Like looking for the nearest treadmill.  There is no better treadmill on the market than Life Fitness. Therefore, score an “A” for the Spa at Terranea, whose 5,000-square-foot Fitness and Wellness Center features Life Fitness cardiovascular and weight training equipment.
The very stylish spa offers 24 treatment rooms with separate indoor/outdoor lounge retreats for men and women including sauna, steam rooms, whirlpool and cold plunge.
For golfers, Terranea provides a refreshing alternative that addresses the three areas vital to the growth of golf: time, affordability and enjoyability. Which is to say that its course is a nine-hole, par 3 including short game practice area with chipping and putting greens.
Tee placements ranging in length from 50 to 180 yards offer new golfers an inviting setup and experienced golfers the opportunity to play every type of short and mid-range shots imaginable.
The dining options in Terranea cater to an international palate. As wonderful as mar’sel is, however, exceptional  other choices abound throughout the grounds of Terranea.
Catalina Kitchen is the resort’s main dining room, perfect for kids as well as adults. Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the menus are extensive with something for even the most discerning diner. The breakfast buffet is extensive, with offerings from lighter, healthier options to hearty dishes ideal for fueling up before a round of golf or an ocean front hike.
The ultimate fun dining spot is Nelson’s with its pub-like atmosphere, an outdoor fireplace and more than an adequate  number of TVs to give it a sports bar  environment.
At poolside, the Terranea Grill offers service throughout the day and if you’re in the mood for something a bit more sophisticated, the Lobby Bar, Living Room and Terrace offer some of the most breathtaking views of the coast.
The resort is set in the grandeur of a Mediterranean estate.  While it is no more than a  comfortable two hour drive from San Diego and 20 miles south of LAX, once there, our recommendation would be to stay put.
Given Terranea’s somewhat isolated location on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, which adds to its attraction, there is really no need to venture out. With its eight restaurants, three swimming pools, a golf course, spa and hiking trails, your options are plentiful.
Terranea is owned by Lowe Enterprises and managed by Destination Hotels and Resorts. Lowe is currently developing in excess of $1 billion of real estate assets nationwide, including the Grizzly ranch in Portola, Calif. , the Stone Eagle Golf Club in  Palm Desert and the Silver Rock Resort in La Quinta.
The Auberge at Del Mar and Estancia in La Jolla are both managed by Destination Hotels and Resorts.
Terranea is located at 100 Terranea Way Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes 90275 and can be reached by telephone at (310) 265-280 or (866) 802-8000.  The resort  web site is: terranea.com.

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