Home>Travel inspiration>Beaches>U.S. Beaches

Discovering a Mystical Peninsula in California

Sponsored by Terranea Resort

08.28.19

share this article
flipboard
Photo by Rachel Amico

Photo by Rachel Amico

Terranea is more than a luxury resort: It has transformed the Los Angeles coastline into a model of innovation and preservation.

Article continues below advertisement

share this article
flipboard

Watching the sunset is practically a daily ritual on the California coast. In addition to dazzling sunsets, this notable southwest corner of Los Angeles provides a unique opportunity to witness dawn’s tranquil wake up call, drawing the sunrise along the horizon each morning. It’s one of the few places on earth where you can feast your eyes on both of these daily spectacles.

For 10 years, Terranea has maintained its steadfast presence along the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula. Here, you’ll find all the features you’d expect from a luxury coastal resort—oceanview rooms, gourmet dining, multiple pools, a decadent spa, exquisite service. But look closer and you’ll discover a truly unique destination with an unmistakably rich soul, providing energy, peace, and a little magic to all who visit.

Terranea’s decade-long stewardship has helped preserve the origin of that transformative essence, making it a place where you, too, can revel in the almost mystical meeting of land, sea, and sky. Here’s what you’ll discover.

The Siren’s Call

Terranea may be a relative newcomer, but the peninsula it sits on has long beckoned people. In the late 19th century, it called out to farmers, tempting them with rich soil. A family of Japanese immigrants—the Ishibashis—heeded that call and became some of the most successful farmers in Palos Verdes.

Photo by Rachel Amico
They were hardly alone. The peninsula’s call was so strong, in fact, that a New York banker, Frank A. Vanderlip, Sr., heard it from clear across the country. When the opportunity arose to buy the peninsula in the early 20th century, he did so—sight unseen. Traveling west in 1913, he finally laid eyes on its beauty, recognized its potential, and set about building communities as well as a home for himself, and in the process putting Palos Verdes on the map.

Article continues below advertisement

In the 1960s, the peninsula summoned local pilots, who found that even when the greater Los Angeles area was covered in blankets of fog, they had ideal flying weather above this golden peninsula. The call was stronger for Frank Vanderlip’s son Kevin, who loved the area so much he wanted to bring the world here—and did, by helping open what was the world’s largest oceanarium, Marineland of the Pacific, in 1954. Travelers flocked to witness aerial performances from orcas and surprises from people like diver Curly Loomis, who created gorgeous paintings…while underwater.

When SeaWorld bought Marineland and closed it in 1987, the buildings fell into disrepair. But the land, eager to continue working its magic, called once again. This time it was developer Robert Lowe who, in the late 1990s, saw its potential for a special kind of retreat. Not everyone agreed. Palos Verdes wasn’t a resort destination, people said—no one would come.

But the land had spoken. Terranea was underway.

Photo by Rachel Amico
A Different Kind of Resort

Since its inception, Terranea has embedded in its DNA a high level of respect—for history, geography, people, and the environment. And for a full 10 years prior to the resort’s opening, they worked with environmentalists and regulators to get everything just right.

That meant installing extensive water filtration systems to clean rainfall before it drains into the ocean. It meant setting aside 15 acres to re-introduce endangered species like the California gnatcatcher bird, and to give butterflies a place to land when the wind blew them up the cliff.

To help preserve the past, the team rescued trees from Marineland, nursed them to health, and planted them back in the ground. And to keep things local, they quarried existing rock, then used it for buildings that not only blended seamlessly into the environment, but also crossed architectural styles as to seem like Terranea had been around forever.

Today, the ocean water runs cleaner, dolphins and sea lions have returned, pelicans skim the whitecaps, and visitors are once again mesmerized. Somewhere, the soul of the peninsula is smiling.

Photo by Rachel Amico
The Passion of the People

Of course, a resort won’t run without a dedicated staff. Terri A. Haack—Terranea’s president since the beginning—set about building a team of people who embraced the mission and would carry it out with passion.

It’s a passion you can see today in the eyes of Bernard Ibarra, the Vice President of Culinary Experiences and Executive Chef. Recognizing the importance of all things local and sustainable, he started a farm nearby to raise chickens, keep bees, and grow vegetables. Energized, too, by the fruits of the ocean, he began harvesting kelp and sea salt—all of which end up on diners’ plates.

It’s a passion you feel from Lauren Bergloff, the Sustainability Leader, who guides guests on walks through the resort’s native plant trail, oversees a recycling program that helps both the earth and the local community, and motivates other associates to suggest changes that can make a difference, no matter how small.

Photo by Rachel Amico
It’s a passion you hear from Joe Roy III, Terranea’s falconer, who helps guests understand the importance of birds of prey in today’s ecosystem, while his falcons soar through the blue sky before gently alighting on his arm.

And it’s a passion you feel from Agnelo Fernandes, the Chief Strategy Officer, who speaks about “TerraneaProud”—the workplace culture that inspires associates to care for each other as well as the resort’s natural habitat, while delivering exceptional guest experiences.

Photo by Rachel Amico
Feel the Magic for Yourself

Staying at Terranea allows you to take full advantage of everything it offers: luxurious rooms, suites, bungalows, casitas, and villas; nine dining outlets; four pools; a serene oceanfront spa; a 9-hole par-3 golf course. Walk the grounds and you’ll also notice nods to the peninsula’s history, from the Marineland Ballroom and the Vanderlip Suite to bashi—an Asian restaurant named in honor of the pioneering Ishibashi family.

Fittingly, though, you don’t have to be a resort guest, or even a restaurant patron, to experience the grounds. Anyone is welcome to walk the trails, take in the view, witness the dramatic sunrises and sunsets. Terranea understands the peninsula’s powerful draw and the larger purpose of having people today—just like those who came before—come appreciate the majesty of this special place where land, ocean, and sky collide.

Explore everything that Terranea has to offer and book your stay at Terranea.com.

more from afar