Kids at Terranea

family balconyAfter a year as Terranea social media ambassador, I’ve had an opportunity to see Terranea in a variety of situations at different times of the year. And although many of my friends think of Terranea as a place for a romantic getaway, it’s actually a perfect place to spend a weekend with the kids. How will you keep them occupied? It’s more like, how will you have enough time to do all of the fun things Terranea offers? Here are just a few ideas:

3 waterslidesSwimming and waterslide: The 5,000-square-foot pool gives you plenty to do but it’s the waterslide that really sets the Terranea pool apart from other hotel or resort pools. The 140-foot Peninsula Plunge, a slippery and twisting downward spiral, is guaranteed to keep the kids occupied for hours.

Bocce ball: The resort’s competition-style bocce ball court is fun in the daytime and spectacular at night with glow-in-the-dark bocce balls. Never played bocce ball before? It’s easy, and the kids can pick it up in an instant.

rock huntersCove and Tide Pools: All it takes is a hike down to the cove at low tide, and the splendor of the ocean is right at your feet. You’ll see sea anemones, sea slugs, starfish, shellfish, and plenty of rocks and crystals for your budding marine biologists and geologists to admire.

owlbertBirding: On weekend mornings at 11:00 a.m., join Joe the falconer for a free talk right outside the adventure center on the birds of prey that keep Terranea seagull-free. You can even get an up-close meeting with a peregrine falcon, a hawk, or Owlbert, the Eurasian eagle owl. If you want a more in-depth birding experience, you can sign up for a private session at Pointe Discovery.

discovery trailHiking: Discovery Trail runs all along the length of the property parallel with the coastline, so naturally the views are spectacular. But informational signs along the way offer new perspectives on the native plants and indigenous wildlife. Plus, if your kids are tickled by a good ghost story, they may want to learn more about “The Lady of the Light,” a ghostly presence seen at the nearby Point Vicente Lighthouse.

tide pool signKids’ Club: The kids’ club itself is a fun room with all sorts of toys and games. But what goes on at Kids’ Club is so much more than that. Each day, the activities may include an “I Spy” scavenger hunt around the resort; a treasure hunt; a talent show; and glow-in-the-dark activities for nighttime.

firepit boysFire pits: Want to get cozy once the sun goes down? Stop by one of Terranea’s 228 fire pits or fireplaces to roast some marshmallows, sing a few songs, or just cuddle up and watch the flames dance while the ocean crashes in the distance.

terranea kayaksBiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, horseback riding, painting, photography…: If you and your kids have these or any other outdoor-themed interests, you can arrange to have a guided tour or lesson. Stop by Pointe Discovery to learn more about availability.

Do your kids have favorite activities they like to do at Terranea? Let us know!

Girls’ Getaway at Terranea Spa Bungalows

Looking for a relaxing weekend with your female friends in the South Bay? Look no further than the new Spa Bungalows at Terranea. These well-appointed bungalows have every imaginable amenity and plenty of space for everyone, plus they’re just steps away from Terranea’s world-class spa (where you’ll enjoy special benefits as a bungalow guest).

bungalow view

Patio with fire pit and ocean view at a Terranea spa bungalow

We spent a recent night in a bungalow with two of our oldest and dearest friends (who had traveled from the snowy East Coast to get some much-needed sunshine) and the experience was pitch-perfect from start to finish.

Clockwise from top left: Bungalow entrance, kitchen, living room, and guest room.

Clockwise from top left: Bungalow entrance, kitchen, living room, and guest room.

The spa bungalow (we stayed in a two-bedroom configuration) was surprisingly large and roomy. There was a master bedroom with a king bed, and a large second bedroom with two full-sized beds, so we each had a bed to ourselves. Amazingly, there were three bathrooms, one for each of us (well, OK, one was technically a powder room – but still!). The kitchen was fully equipped with everything from a convection oven to a dishwasher.  We had our own washer/dryer. And best of all, there was a firepit outside on the patio, where we wound up spending all night talking and laughing.

Bathtub decorated with sand dollars and starfish

Bathtub decorated with sand dollars and starfish

Extra touches? We loved the tiny starfish and sand dollars surrounding the bathtub in the main bathroom. The living room had a cozy fireplace as well as small weights, yoga mats, and other stretching equipment. And we definitely appreciated the Terranea water bottles that we found chilling in the fridge when we arrived – the perfect end to a long hike around the Terranea grounds.

Terranea spa pool

Terranea spa pool with ocean view

But the real attraction on this visit was the spa, which is just steps away from the bungalows. As soon as you walk in, you know you’re in for something special. The spa concierge gives you a locker, robe, and sandals – and then after that there’s nothing but extreme pampering. Your spa visit includes all-day access to the steam room, dry sauna, whirlpools, indoor/outdoor relaxation lounges and fire pits, as well as the hot tub, cold soaking tub, and the beautiful (ocean view, of course) heated lap pool, with plenty of comfy seating. Best of all, you can enjoy all of Terranea’s amazing spa services at 10 percent off the regular rate as a bungalow guest.

Spa features, from top left: Lockers, a pedicure station, an ocean view exercise bike, and a cozy ocean view spa cabana

Spa features, from top left: Lockers, a pedicure station, an ocean view exercise bike, and a cozy ocean view spa cabana

Did we mention the food? As a bungalow guest, you’ll also receive free lunch and breakfast at the Spa Cafe, which features a range of smoothies, wraps, salads, and more. Of course we were feeling super-healthy so we enjoyed this cup of fruit right at the poolside:

poolside fruit

And now we’ll tempt you with a few more shots of the pool, the deck, and the incredible plants that surround the secluded spot:

terranea pool ocean view

A view looking down the length of the pool out to the ocean.

terranea lap swimming

Looking from the pool back toward the resort

terranea succulents

Some of our favorite succulent plants that grace the pool deck.

Intrigued? Check out the Terranea Spa Bungalows page to learn more about all of the perks included in a spa bungalow. For more information and reservations, please call 866.802.8000. Note: We love bringing our kids to Terranea, but the spa and the Spa Cafe are only open to guests ages 18 and older.

Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275 www.terranea.com

Blogger disclosure: We are serving as a social media ambassador for Terranea in 2014. Terranea has offered us complimentary stays in exchange for promotion on social media outlets. All opinions expressed are our own.

Knott’s Berry Farm Season Passes

2014 is still young, and there are still plenty of days (and special celebrations) to enjoy at Knott’s Berry Farm. Why not consider buying a season pass?

season passRegular season passes include unlimited admission for 2014, exclusive ride times on select rides during the summer, discounts to Knott’s Scary Farm, discounts on select food and merchandise, and more…and the season passes start at just 6 payments of $14 each. To upgrade to a gold pass, it’s just 6 payments of $17 each, and you get all of those benefits plus unlimited visits at Knott’s Soak City OC. Upgrade to the platinum pass (6 payments of $32 each) and you get all that plus free parking AND free admission to all of the Cedar Fair Parks.

Our family loves going to Knott’s Berry Farm at just about any time of year, whether it’s in the long lazy days of summer, or during the festive nights of winter. To show how much fun we have there all year long, we’ve compiled a list of our top five family fun moments at Knott’s Berry Farm. Counting down from Number 5:

5) Eating pie. We just can’t get enough of Mrs. Knotts’ famous chicken and biscuits, but it wouldn’t be a visit to Knott’s without some of her classic boysenberry pie. In fact, we could stop right here at #5 and just head out to Knott’s for that reason alone, but there’s more…

Knott's Berry Farm's boysenberry pie

Knott’s Berry Farm’s boysenberry pie

4) Coast Rider. There are roller coasters, and there are roller coasters. We love the new Coast Rider because it gives you a real sense of place. It’s like a giant thrill ride down the California coast – an experience you won’t have anywhere else. There’s a lot of adventure packed into 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and once it’s over you’ll keep lining up for more.

Riding high above the world on the Coastrider

Riding high above the world on the Coast Rider

3) Camp Spooky. We’ve enjoyed the super-scary thrills of Knott’s Scary Farm, but we’ve had just as much fun if not more at Camp Spooky, the kid-friendly thrill zone at Knott’s during Halloween season. This year our kids loved decorating Halloween cookies, getting creeped out by real-life creepy critters, and walking through the house of mirrors in Camp Spooky at Halloween. It’s a low-scare, high-fun adventure that sets just the right tone for the younger set.

House of Mirrors at Camp Spooky during Halloween

House of Mirrors at Camp Spooky during Halloween

2) Rides at Christmas. We love going to Knott’s during the Christmas season to enjoy the decorations and all of the special holiday features. But one hidden advantage to going to Knott’s in the colder months is getting in on all of the fun water rides while the crowds are smaller. This year we all donned raincoats on one cloudy morning and we rode the Log Ride over and over and over again (when everyone else thought it was “too cold”). Who says you can’t have some good water fun in the winter?

Timber Mountain Log Ride at Christmas

Timber Mountain Log Ride at Christmas

5) Family time at Wilderness Dance Hall. After a long day of rides and fun, there’s nothing we love more than hunkering down for a tasty snack, a warm drink, or a good show at Wilderness Dance Hall. Lots of happy memories here.

wilderness dance hall

Convinced yet? Now here’s a chance to win a four-pack of season passes to Knott’s Berry Farm. All the details are here on this Knott’s Berry Farm Season Pass Contest page (must be 18 or older to win). Good luck and see you at Knott’s!

Terranea Close-Up

As soon as you arrive at Terranea Resort, you’ll have a sense of everything being on a large scale – massive ocean views, spacious rooms, towering cliffs. But some of the real beauty of Terranea is in the smallest details. Intrigued? Step through the doorway and start looking closely at Terranea, piece by piece. Here is the lower entrance to one of the Spanish-style casitas: Painted tiles line the walk ways and stair wells.

terranea doorway

Starting with the lobby and moving throughout the resort, there are countless tiles and earthy designs that evoke a Mediterranean feel:

terranea patterns

And even if it’s overcast and in the mid-60′s (that’s winter weather in Southern California) there are still plenty of flowers in bloom.

terranea winter blooms

If you’re bold enough to go down to the rocks, you’ll be able to see Terranea’s “rock stars” up close and personal. There are millions of years’ worth of history buried right there in those rocks:

terranea rocks

And if you get a chance to meet Terranea’s resident falconer, you might just meet this guy, Albert, a Eurasian eagle-owl who cruises the property. Look at the wingspan on this magnificent creature – and check out his orange eyes!

Eurasian eagle owl

If you’re headed to Terranea soon, don’t forget to have your eyes open for these details and more. Happy exploring!

Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. Reservations: (866) 802-8000.

Terranea Casita

Every room at Terranea is amazing, so  you really can’t go wrong. But if you want a step up from the traditional hotel room, or if you need a little more space, the well-appointed ocean front casitas at Terranea are the perfect vacation rentals for a getaway weekend or longer.

casita exterior

Looking at this architectural model of the resort, the casitas are the small red-roofed structures that flank both sides of the main resort building:

terranea model

From the architectural model of a casita below, you can see how it is comprised of three parts. If you want a one-bedroom, you rent the center portion (outlined in blue) that comes with a king-sized bed in the bedroom, plus a separate living room, kitchen, laundry nook, and dining patio. The kitchen is fully equipped with a refrigerator, four-burner stove, and convection/microwave oven.

casita model

If you need room for more friends or family, you can add on a second full bedroom and bath (outlined in yellow) with two double beds. And for a full three-bedroom casita, you can rent an additional non-connecting bedroom (outlined in pale green) with a king bed and its own bath. All three units have their own entrances and share an outdoor entrance patio furnished with chairs and a fireplace.

Inside, the casita is extremely comfortable and luxuriously appointed. You’ll find lovely tile work in the kitchen and bathrooms, marble counters in the kitchens, and attractive artwork throughout the units.

casita details

Here’s a composite view that sums up our first night in the casita as we enjoyed the sunset from the balcony of the master bedroom. With this kind of view, how can you go wrong?

casita composite

Feel like staying even longer? The casitas are also available for purchase as a vacation home with loads of special benefits for owners. Call 310-265-2888 for more information on vacation homes.

Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. Reservations: (866) 802-8000.

Disclosure: I am spending the year as a social media ambassador for Terranea, for which I am receiving complimentary stays. I did not receive compensation for this post.

Terranea Holiday Traditions

terranea treeLooking for seasonal events in a scenic setting? Look no further than Terranea Resort, where the 5th annual Terranea Traditions celebration is now underway.

If you’re staying at the resort, there are plenty of hard-working elves who want to make your visit extra special. Throughout the month of December, you can arrange for your child to receive an “Elf Tuck-In” with a holiday treat and a special bedtime story. At the Little Elf’s Workshop, a.k.a. the Tide Pool Kids’ Club, kids can make a variety of holiday crafts including a Gingerbread Sand Castle. And daily in the lobby living room you can hear Terranea’s elves sharing holiday stories and cheer (from 5:00 to 6:00 pm).

Want to do some private, after-hours shopping? Through December 24, you can reserve a private shopping session at marea boutique and select your holiday gifts during non-business hours. (Minimum 7 shoppers required.)

Upcoming special events include Santa’s Holiday Breakfast on December 21 (seatings at 9:00, 9:30, and 10:00 a.m.) that includes a ballroom breakfast buffet and a special visit from Santa.

If you’d like someone else to do the Christmas cooking, you can order a special Christmas Meal To Go from Sea Beans, with curbside pickup times available on December 24 and 25.

Or if you’d like to enjoy a special holiday meal at Terranea, you can choose from Christmas Eve dinner at mar’sel, a Christmas Eve buffet at Catalina Kitchen from Spain and Italy, a Christmas Day Grand Ballroom buffet, a Christmas Day brunch at Catalina Kitchen, a Christmas Day beer dinner at Nelson’s with locally brewed beers, an elegant Christmas Day dinner at mar’sel served family-style, or a Christmas Day dinner at Catalina Kitchen also served family-style.

Traditions-Spa-2013-FeetDoes it all sound overwhelming? You can always relax with a special holiday treatment at the spa, such as a Holiday Bliss treatment ($295 for 90 minutes) that uses sea algae, concentrated silk, bamboo sap and plum wine to leave your skin purified, energized and delicately scented. You could also go for the Holiday Rescue Package ($250 for 120 minutes) that includes one hour of personal training or Pilates, followed by a one-hour massage.

And if you’re just looking for a fun spa treat with some friends, go for the Mint Chocolate Mistle-Toes ($80 for 60 minutes) for a pedicure that includes a butter brulee whole milk soak, followed by a hot chocolate mask and then minty shea butter. What’s more, when you finally emerge from your spa treatment, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful holiday decorations that light up Terranea every night this season.

Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. Reservations: (866) 802-8000.

Terranea Social Media Ambassador 2014

Some special views (and a wedding) at Terranea

Some special views (and a wedding) at Terranea

It’s been a glorious, eye-opening, and exhausting weekend, but at the end of it all, I am so proud to announce that I will be one of three Social Media Ambassadors for Terranea Resort in 2014.

I am beyond excited because Terranea is such a special place for me and my family, and because I can’t wait to share all I’ve learned (and am continuing to learn) about this beautiful destination.

Some of the beautiful patterns I've been admiring while walking around Terranea

Some of the cool colors and patterns I spotted while walking around Terranea

 

I’ll be sharing this experience with two other social media experts, Jen Ho and Clint Schaff, both of whom are incredibly knowledgeable and a lot of fun.

It’s going to be a great year – so stayed tuned for more on this space about Terranea!

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