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!


Father’s Day in the South Bay

He helped you learn how to ride a bike, he bought you your first surfboard, he taught you how to fix a flat tire, and you want to get him…a tie? No, no, no South Bay sons and daughters. There’s a lot more you can do to honor Dad this Father’s Day in the beach cities.

First, get him outside for some fun activities:

MB5K dadsManhattan Beach 5K – Father’s Day edition: Get Dad out and running on the flat wet sand under the iconic Manhattan Beach Pier. The race starts at the lowest tide point – at 7:13 am on Sunday, June 15. The top five finishers in each of 28 divisions will win one of the race’s World Famous Cookie Medals. Nepotism note: The race is sponsored by our “better half” and all-around great dad – Dave of Manhattan Beach Confidential.

Father’s Day Volleyball Tournament: The city of Manhattan Beach is sponsoring a recreational beach volleyball tournament beginning at 9:00 am on the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier on Sunday, June 15. Fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters are all encouraged to play. Proceeds from the registration fees go to benefit Project Fatherhood.

Terranea Team Golf Championship: The Links at Terranea holds its 3rd annual golf championship game on Sunday, June 15, where teams of five compete in an 18-hole event.  Prizes, lunch, and music are part of the day’s festivities.  The playing format is a five person scramble and teams must use two tee shots for each player. The cost is $80 for Links Card holders and $99 for guests. For more information and to reserve your spot, contact The Golf House at 310.265.2751.

Next, fill him up with food and drink:

NelsonsWeekend Beer Dinner at Nelson’s: On Saturday and Sunday, June 14 and 15 starting at 5:00 pm both days, Nelson’s Restaurant at Terranea is hosting an outdoor beer event with local breweries featured and gourmet street food pairings. Reservations are required; the cost is $65 per guest. Call 310.265.2702 for reservations.

Beer Brunch Cruise: Hornblower Cruises is offering a two-hour Father’s Day Beer Brunch Cruise at noon on Sunday, June 15 featuring a “macho” brunch, free-flowing drinks, and a complimentary souvenir pint glass for dad. The cost is $72 for adults and $43.20 for kids ages 4 to 12 – with additional tax, landing, and service charges.

Cookout at the Manhattan Beach Marriott: From 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sunday, June 15, there’s no need to fire up the grill: The View restaurant at the Manhattan Beach Marriott is offering a Father’s Day cookout outside on the lawn, featuring a hearty buffet, a “dude food” station, and a craft beer garden serving frosty suds. The cost is $30 for adults $50 with unlimited beer, and $15 for kids 12 and under.

Feast at Samba Brazilian Steakhouse: Samba Brazilian Steakhouse is offering an all-you-can-eat Father’s Day Feast on Sunday, June 15 with your choice of 10-12 cuts of meat carved table-side, unlimited sides and salads, and a glass of champagne or beer. The cost is $55 for adults and $20 for kids ages 4 to 10.

Prime Rib at Paul Martin’s American Grill, El Segundo: For the whole Father’s Day weekend, Paul Martin’s will be offering a 3-course prime rib dinner special for $25 per person. The special includes all-natural prime rib with mashed potatoes, organic green salad and house-made ice cream.

Free Meal for Fathers at Wahoo’s: Fish tacos, anyone? On Father’s Day weekend, June 14 and 15, you can treat Dad to a free meal at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. Ask the cashier for a Father’s Day flyer.

Free Flight at Barsha: On Father’s Day weekend, purchase a wine or beer flight and get a free flight for Dad.


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

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.

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!

A Terranea Excursion

It has been an amazing weekend so far at Terranea, filled with sweet accommodations, jaw-dropping sights, tasty food, and more. Even though we thought we “knew” Terranea, we seemed to discover something new every time we turned a corner. A few highlights from the weekend include:

The unbelievable, “pinch-me” views from just about every spot on the property:

room with a view

The pancake topper bar that awaits you in the morning outside of Sea Beans:

pancake buffet

The amazing trails that wind through the resort, with 14 acres of  native plants covering the hillsides. If you’re lucky, especially on the weekends, you may spot a beautiful wedding.

terranea diptic

The majestic peregrine falcon that keeps the property seagull-free.


The flowers and blooms in a wide array of colors.

terranea flowersThe mind-boggling array of activities to keep you busy throughout the day (kayorkling, anyone?)


The cheery red kayaks that greet visitors when they hike down to the cove:

terranea kayaks

The gorgeous garden at mar’sel that provides fresh herbs and produce to the restaurant:

marsel garden

The endless fun to be had in the pool:


The firepits that kept us cozy, even with the cool ocean breezes at night:


And of course all of the friendly and helpful faces of the staff at every turn. This weekend is flying by way too fast. But Terranea, you’ll always have our heart!

Terranea Getaway

View from a Terranea room

View from a room at Terranea

Stressed out? Looking for a departure from the ordinary? We’ve got a destination that’s just around the corner but is guaranteed to take you away: Terranea Resort, where you can wrap yourself up in all of the ocean’s natural glory without even leaving the South Bay.

View of Terranea from the rocky beach below

View of Terranea from the rocky beach below

After a recent overnight at Terranea, we were positively hooked. This 102-acre luxury eco resort is bounded by the ocean on three sides, so you can barely even turn your head without seeing spectacular ocean views every way you look. The resort offers 582 guestrooms and suites, including bungalows, casitas and villas; as well as restaurants; a full-service spa and fitness center; an award-winning golf course; three swimming pools; kids’ club; a full range of outdoor recreational activities; and event spaces.

Proposal at the beach at Terranea

Proposal at the beach at Terranea

We started our evening with dinner at mar’sel, and were delighted to find that there was literally nothing between our table and sweeping ocean views. When we told our server that we felt like we wanted the night to last forever, she told us to take our time; the table was ours for as long as we wanted it. We enjoyed a wildly delicious meal, highlighted by the most tender Wagyu beef we’ve ever tried, and homemade English muffins that magically appeared at our table each time a new batch came out of the oven.

For adventurers, there are miles of oceanfront trails at Terranea ranging from easy to moderate. Don’t miss the trail down to the rocky beach, where there are kayaks lined up waiting for your next adventure. If you have sturdy shoes, climb the extra 50 yards or so to peek in to the ocean cave, where fossils and sea creatures are right at your feet. While we were at the rocky beach, we were lucky to see the remains of what must have been a beautiful seaside proposal at the beach.

water slideIf you have kids, you won’t want to miss the main pool area, with its kid splash zone and water slide. Sure, adults get their own pool, but it’s hard to stay away from that slippery zig-zag slide. When you’re all done, you can warm up in the hot tub, or cool down at the spa. If our kids had their way, we’d still be there now. We’re planning our next trip already.

Terranea: 100 Terranea Way, Ranchos Palos Verdes, CA 90275. Information: 310-265-2800. Reservations: 866-802-8000.

Blogger disclosure: We paid for the trip on our own and decided to write about it; we did not receive any compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are our own.

From Garden to Table

Sure, your restaurant promises fresh local produce, but does the chef really know where it comes from? At mar’sel, the fine dining restaurant at Terranea, the answer is yes – it comes from right outside the door.

The garden at mar'sel, designed by Home Grown Edible Landscapes

Mar’sel has collaborated in a unique partnership with Home Grown Edible Landscapes, a sustainable garden and landscaping company run by local master gardener Geri Miller. Working closely with Miller on seasonal gardening, mar’sel Chef Michael Fiorelli is able to take the freshest herbs and greens of the season and bring them just ten steps into the kitchen before they arrive on your plate.

Recently we had the opportunity to attend an on-site gardening class and luncheon at mar’sel – learning about the art of growing edibles at home, and then tasting some of Chef Fiorelli’s freshest creations.

Miller’s central philosophy is keeping gardens natural, sustainable, and local; and Fiorelli is completely on board with that mantra. “I source based on relationships rather than organics,” said Fiorelli. “An organic peach that came from Peru in February – that doesn’t really make sense.”

A stack of panini, with a spectacular ocean backdrop

After participating in the seasonal spring planting (vegetables, herbs, and flowers) out front, our group reconvened on the oceanfront patio to savor a colorful salad of little gem lettuce, watermelon radish, ruby grapefruit, California olive oil, and sea salt. Next we enjoyed a stack of fresh-pressed panini with Italian meats, aged provolone, and pickled vegetables.

“Did you bake the bread yourself?” one guest called out to Fiorelli. “Of course – always!” he answered, and then deadpanned, “Wait – you can buy bread?”

Following lunch we took a tour of the kitchen and watched the staff prep for a busy Saturday night ahead. Fiorelli noted that the restaurant’s name – mar, Spanish for sea; and sel, French for salt – turns out to be a perfect fit for the restaurant’s setting and dining aesthetic.

Photo via mar'sel

Of course it’s a given that the panoramic ocean view at mar’sel is a major draw, but watching the moon rise over the ocean is an especially spectacular sight. Don’t miss mar’sel’s special moon-themed menu, offered once a month on the night of a full moon. The restaurant keeps its own full moon calendar here.

mar’sel, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes. Open 5:30 to 10:00 PM, Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations: 310-265-2836

Home Grown Edible Landscapes, on Facebook and on Twitter.

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