By Allison Tibaldi, Taking the Kids correspondent

LOS ANGELES — Perched on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Terranea is a rambling resort on 102 acres of land, pristine and brimming with flora and fauna. It is located only a few dozen miles from Downtown Los Angeles but it feels light years away. You will find coastal bluffs, hiking trials and a serene cove where you can gaze out at Catalina Island. Take a moment to exhale and watch the fishing boats, photograph the lighthouse or paddle out in a kayak.

Terranea Resort - Resort Pool
Terranea Resort – Resort Pool

The hotel itself is refined and service is uniformly excellent but it’s the secluded, natural habitat and slice of quiet so close to a major metropolitan area that makes Terranea so alluring.

Terranea Resort - Paddle Boarder
Terranea Resort – Paddle Boarder

I had the opportunity to experience the property with my family during a recent vacation to Southern California. A short stay in this heavenly spot was the perfect panacea to the crowds of Disneyland and the freeway traffic jams.


Accommodations include luxurious hotel rooms, villas, bungalows and spacious private casitas with a kitchen, living room and laundry facility, making it a top choice for multi-gen families. All rooms and private cottages are decorated in an uncluttered, comfortable style that is in tune with the natural surroundings. Though there are 582 guest rooms and cottages, Terranea somehow manages to feel intimate. Children 17 and under incur no additional charge when staying in the same room as their parents.

Terranea Resort - Nelson's
Terranea Resort – Nelson’s


Yoga classes, a 9-hole golf course, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and hikes are a few of the many active diversions. With four swimming pools, including one with a 140-foot waterslide, it may be hard to drag the kids out of the water. When parents crave some adults-only time, there is a Daytime Adventure Camp and Kids Night Out Camp (with dinner) for an additional fee.


There are eight dining spots, ranging from the high-end signature restaurant mar’sel to a casual spa snack bar serving fresh-pressed juice. Children’s menus are available throughout the resort and emphasize healthy cuisine. We enjoyed our dinner at Nelson’s with its casual setting and comfort food menu.  My health conscious vegetarian teen daughter enjoyed her quinoa fajita bowl, while the rest of us dug into hearty salads and fresh fish. The patio has a fire pit that will keep you warm while you watch the Pacific sunset.

The unifying element of all the eateries is a genuine commitment to sourcing from local growers and producers for a bona fide farm-to-table experience. Several cheeses are made in-house, honey is sourced from within a mile of the resort and ocean water is harvested on the property to produce sea salt.


The spa is a showstopper. The 50,000 feet of indoor-outdoor space exploits the natural beauty of the location. You may choose from dozens of treatments and signature rituals, several of which incorporate elements of the sea. I purchased a day pass that gave me full access to the sauna, steam room, plunge pools and salt-water pool that only spa-goers may use. If you can’t splurge on a treatment but crave a pampering wellness experience, I recommend it.

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