At my husband’s urging, I’d just unfollowed 50 social media accounts, an effective start to improving my mood. Life had been overtaken by current events, natural disasters and breaking news about Kardashian pregnancies. I needed to clear my mind, aware that the days when that could be accomplished on a lounge chair with the latest John Grisham and a tube of Bain de Soleil were BiP (Before iPhone).
Enter Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa. No, they don’t make you delete Twitter when you check in. It’s just that the intimate resort in San Diego County offers a balanced blend of luxury, comfort and activity that during my two-and-a-half-day stay left me engaged, pampered and well-fed. Unplugging was a happy byproduct.
For the uninitiated, Rancho Valencia has been around since 1989, now spiffed up, the result of a $30 million upgrade and transformation. Caring attention and personalized service take center stage. The 45-acre property sits as an oasis inland from Del Mar in Rancho Santa Fe, a little-over-an-hour drive on a weekday from Orange County for my late-morning arrival.
I immediately fell in love with my one-bedroom Valencia suite, so spacious and warmly decorated that I had the feeling of staying at a villa guest house in the resort’s Mediterranean-inspired California ranch setting. My favorite spot was the casita’s huge patio, with its fireplace and private whirlpool spa.
As inviting as the room was, I didn’t stay put long. Not when one of two pools is always nearby, where 18 tennis courts (and a tennis pro) are available, and when a spa is at the ready. Not when I could hit the fitness rooms by myself or join an organized Pilates or spin class. Not when a gorgeous indoor-outdoor yoga pavilion beckons.
But first, a welcome cocktail. The place to be at Rancho Valencia clearly is The Pony Room, a draw for guests and locals who come to imbibe…