This has to be one of the best local treasures we've discovered in ages. My husband and I wound up here after a mishap with our original plans for a weekend getaway to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Turned out to be the best thing that could've happened!
Terranea offers the best unobstructed views I've seen from anywhere in or around Los Angeles. The view is simply spectacular, and offers a south-facing view off of the Palos Verdes peninsula that Angelenos rarely get to see (we're usually looking west, naturally), as well as awesome views of Catalina Island.
We felt like we'd gone abroad, yet were literally in our own backyard. Amazing!
The most impressive thing about the resort, aside from the luxury amenities, is how they've integrated the property into the local terrain, and also maintained so much free access for locals.
We were very familiar with this area from when it was the old Marineland that had since closed and become a great spot to hike around and kayak in the cove (though that was quite hard to access). The resort has now made a fantastic nature trail around the entire property, added a small lovely beach in the cove (where you can rent kayaks as well). There's a very cool cave to explore in the cove, and the property will coordinate a dive trip or even horsebackriding for you. You'll see a lot of wildlife, particularly the pelicans, herons and seagulls swooping along the bluffs. There was even a golf cart roaming with a rare eagle and giant owl on display -- random, though pretty cool to see.
It's VERY kid-friendly, which is a plus for families, and noteworthy if you're looking for a quiet adult getaway. There is an adult pool though, however it wasn't open when we were there. The spa also has a pool though, where kids aren't allowed (I believe). If you are with kids - the pool offers a jumping water fountain and tiny sand area -- SO perfect for toddlers, and even a swirly slide for bigger kids (and grown ups too ; )
One drawback - we were there on a packed weekend and there were no chairs available at the pool - which was a pretty big bummer, though we wound up having a much better time down at the more secluded (and much quieter) cove beach.
The pool also offers cabanas you can reserve, with full-service, if you're going big ; ) You can't access the pool if you're not a guest - however you can get a day pass to the Spa (which has stunning views from the pool area).
Locals are welcome at any of the properties restaurants (There are three or four) - and you won't want to miss Nelson's restaurant! It's a sports bar so the food is simple, but the sunset views are unrivaled -- perfect place for a cocktail or a group party.
There's free parking for local beach access, as well as parking in the lot just south of the lighthouse - which leads down the trail to the resort where you can explore the property or stop to dine at the restaurants.
The rooms are done in a chic beach decor, and are well-appointed. The balconies are a bit tiny, but comfortable and that view trumps any issues. I also did wonder why the bed wasn't situated to face the view head-on - seems like that could've been laid out better. Also, there was a private party going on at the adult pool area until well into the night, so we couldn't sleep with our veranda doors open as I'd have liked - you might inquire if there are any special events happening outdoors on the nights of your stay, and reposition your room based on that. However, our south-facing view couldn't be beat and I'd probably have opted for that side of the hotel, even if we'd known.
The staff was VERY gracious and helpful, all around. The rates reflect the hotel's luxury status, however aren't obscene and are in keeping with the quality of the experience.
There are also casitas that offer a couple bedrooms, patios and private fire pits -- would be awesome for a family trip or bachelor/ette trip. The property has a beautiful spot for weddings, and you see a lot of them - though man is that cliff windy! Hope the brides have some serious hairspray on hand ; )
Weather note -- the forecast will be key to your stay, as it's often foggy up on the bluffs which makes for cool weather and can affect the view.
All in all, the resort is a total gem. The architecture and design of the buildings make them fade away into the hillside and feels like it's just part of the cliffs, surrounded by indigenous flora and fauna. Just lovely.
Dramatically poised above the Pacific Ocean on 102 acres with unsurpassed 270-degree oceanfront views, Terranea is located just south of Los Angeles. The unparalleled setting and relaxed, gracious service destine Terranea to become California's premier coastal resort destination. This Earth-friendly, picturesque Mediterranean-style 582-room resort includes guestrooms, suites, bungalows, casitas and villas and a host of world-class amenities including spectacular dining venues, a world-class spa, and a family-friendly nine-hole golf course.