Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
5921 Valencia Circle
Photo by Amanda Friedman, AFAR Media
Rancho Valencia Resort & SpaSpanish colonial fountains. Roaring outdoor fireplaces. Brightly colored bougainvillea vines and hibiscus flowers. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, Southern California’s only Relais & Châteaux, is spread over 45 hilly acres of gardens and groves. No detail is too small here, as you’ll discover on the Bridge of Champions, a narrow wooden span that leads you across a brook. As for the champions in question, they’re bygone net men memorialized on the path to the resort’s fabled tennis complex: 18 courts and a pro shop. Not to be outdone, the landscaping around your casita (or luxury villa or private hacienda) will lend a secret garden feel to your patio, where you may also find a private fireplace, hot tub, or—in the case of the hacienda—heated pool. Inside, expect 600-thread-count linens, Frette towels, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. At the spa, waterfalls and a yoga pavilion that appears to float work in tandem with the treatments to induce maximum relaxation.