Situated in the relatively isolated beauty of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Terranea Resort will make you feel like you really went somewhere on vacation even though you never left Los Angeles county - quite a draw for luxury vacationers looking to trim airfare from their budget.
My own indulgent escape lasted only a day and a half, but was long enough to instill an appreciation for the finer things in this normally budget-conscious traveler. The intention was a relaxing romantic getaway with my husband, although once we caught a glimpse of the resort's giant pool and 140-foot waterslide we couldn't help but wish we'd brought our kiddo along. No worries - he was with us in spirit as we raced down the slide and splashed into the heated (thankfully - it was a bit chilly on the peninsula in April) water.
This sense of youthful fun set the tone for our first day at Terranea. We skipped the resort's fancier dining options (of which there are several) in favor of fish and chips and the best pretzel bread I've ever tasted at Nelson's, the resort's casual sports-bar style eatery overlooking the water.
I woke up the next morning just in time for a massage at Terranea's celebrated spa. I had received a tour the day before and was excited about taking advantage of the spa's extensive amenities, and perhaps even grabbing a beverage from the juice bar and lounging outside by the gorgeous tiled pool (exclusively for spa guests) if the weather warmed up enough.
I don't remember a many details about my massage, and that's a good thing; I felt so incredibly pampered and relaxed that my only clear memory is a sense of regret when the hour-long treatment came to an end. But I got to revel in my blissed-out state for awhile longer, moving from the steam room to the rainfall shower and, finally, the upstairs relaxation lounge. I snacked on a navel orange and soaked in the heat from the roaring fireplace, enjoying the sound of crashing waves on the rocks below through the open balcony doors. Yeah, I thought, I could get used to this...