by Judy Koutsky
Set atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island, Terranea Resort, A Destination Hotel, is a mere 30 minutes from LAX. Yet, it seems a world away from the bustling city.
This quintessential California resort, with stunning ocean views at every restaurant, hiking trail and pool. The views alone make a trip here worthwhile. There is also an adventure concierge to plan activities throughout your stay. Options include art classes, kayaking, tidal walks, nature hikes, whale-watching tours, falconry, and a kids’ camp. Plus, there are four pools, with cabana access and a private beach perfect for picnics.
With so many activities onsite, there’s really no need to leave the property. Plus, there are ample food options at the resort. Sea Beams is a great sandwich, salad and dessert take-out place, ideal for a quick bite or for packing a lunch for picnics. It also has a create-your-own-Belgian-waffle station on weekends, and S’mores kits for the fire pits scattered throughout the property. Nelson’s is a favorite with both locals and visitors; it’s located right on the water and has the best views of the ocean (you can often see dolphins from your picnic table). They have daily fish specials on the menu. Mar’sel, the signature restaurant, is known for its amazing brunch, as well as fancy dinner options (it’s a good place to celebrate a birthday). Catalina has the best omelets and avocado toast, while Bashi has amazing sushi and a dish called Shaking Beef that’s delicious.
The kids’ camp is open daily and you can book your child for half- or full-day programming. It’s not a bad idea to drop the kids at camp so adults can indulge in a little spa therapy. The spa is really expansive, with a variety of signature treatments, but it’s the setting itself that’s so magical. The indoor and outdoor spa lounge overlooks the ocean and the sound of the crashing waves below is soothing. There are also fire pits, a large outdoor pool, a variety of saunas and steam rooms and plenty of lounge chairs.
Our Editor Loves
- Adventure concierge
- Amazing views from all four pools
- Excellent food options
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
Room categories that a family might consider for their stay:
Guestrooms and Suites
Standard guestrooms feature a king bed or two doubles; they range from 450 to 2,200 square feet in space. They have a separate bathtub and shower; flat-screen TV; private balcony and patio. The configuration for suites is a king bed and sleeper sofa.
Located near the ocean's edge, the bungalows are for those 18 and older who are looking for a private, quiet, relaxing VIP environment. A 24-hour personal concierge handles all dining reservations and can set up all activities. One- and two-bedroom bungalows are available, which can sleep three to four people in oversized bedrooms. Children 17 and younger stay at no additional charge in the same room as their parents. Rates are based upon double occupancy. Additional adults over 18 years are subject to a charge of $50 per night.
Located on the bluffs overlooking the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the casitas are vacation rentals with private entrances and a luxurious, residential feel. They have amazing views, and amenities include a kitchen, living room and laundry facilities. It's a good option for a large family or those wanting more room or plenty of space for entertaining. One-, two- and three-bedroom casitas are available, which can sleep three to six in oversized bedrooms. Children 17 and younger stay at no additional charge in the same room as their parents. Rates are based upon double occupancy. Additional adults over 18 years of age subject to a charge of $50 per night.
Very beautiful resort, My room AC did not work, and even after technician visited, still did not work, so room was uncomfortable. Check in area was very crowded and took 30 minutes to check in, then no directions o mu casita, wandered for a while to find.
An absolutely perfect place for our engagement and a resort and staff we will never forget! Every person was beyond friendly and helpful and made our stay so enjoyable. The spa was so relaxing and the food at Mar'sel was unbelievably delicious! We will definitely be returning in the future.
The Tide Pool Kids Club
Age 4 to 12
Morning camp is $75; hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Afternoon camp is $60; hours are 2 to 4 p.m.
Evening camp is $85; hours are 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Kids take walks, partake in arts and crafts, play games and watch movies.
There are four pools: The Resort pool, the Vista, Cielo Point and the Spa pool. There are cabanas at all pools, except the Spa pool. Free S'mores are offered on Friday nights at the Resort pool (Memorial Day through Labor Day).
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Resort Pool - no age limit. This 5,000-square-foot family pool has the 140-foot Peninsula Plunge waterslide and a jumping splash pad.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Vista Pool - age 13 and older
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Spa pool - age 18 and over
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Cielo Point - age 21 and over
Adventure Concierge Activities
Kayaking - good for swimmers age 8 and up
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ SUP - good for swimmers age 10 and up
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Tide pooling - from age 4
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Falconry - all ages
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Plein Air Painting - age 6 and up
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Whale tour - all ages
There are kid-friendly dining options at all the restaurants. Menu items change seasonally.
There are ample food options at the resort, many with kid-friendly options.
This is a great sandwich, salad and dessert take-out place, ideal for a quick bite or for packing a lunch for picnics. It also has a create-your-own-Belgian-waffle station on weekends, and S'mores kits for the fire pits scattered throughout the property. This is the go-to for a quick bite or for some less expensive fare.
This is a favorite with both locals and visitors; it's located right on the water and has the best views of the ocean (you can often see dolphins from your picnic table). They have daily fish specials on the menu for parents and kids. They also have plenty of kid favorites-burgers, fries, sandwiches and desserts.
This is the signature restaurant, known for its amazing brunch, as well as fancy dinner options (it's a good place to celebrate a birthday). For kids, the steak frites for $15 is the best deal around. For brunch, they have pretty much everything: eggs, pancakes, waffles and fruit.
They have a great menu for kids, including omelets for breakfast and pasta, sandwiches, fries, burgers for lunch.
If your kids like sushi, this is the spot. Or they can try the kid-favorite: Shaking Beef (it's delicious and easy on the palate). Plus, there's fried rice and other Asian kid-friendly specialties.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Destination Hotels has teamed up with Babierge, offering guests quality baby gear to use during their stays. Babierge is the leading baby gear rental marketplace, connecting traveling families with local "Trusted Partners" -- independent concierges who rent out, deliver, and set up a wide variety of baby gear in a family's hotel room, and then return to pick it up on departure day. Babierge's inventory ranges from small comforts, such as books and toys, to bulkier equipment such as cribs, strollers, and Pack 'n Plays. The partnership between Destination Hotels and Babierge was created to enable a seamless family travel experience and is the first of its kind between a leading hotel brand and a baby gear rental marketplace. Destination Hotels guests will receive an exclusive 10-percent discount on Babierge rental fees.
There is a small fitness center onsite, open 24 hours.
The resort allows pets for a $150, non-refundable fee.
Babysitting services are contracted out for children under 4 to Help'r.
All children receive a grey whale stuffed animal at check-in.
There is a resort fee of $35 per room, per night, for numerous resort amenities and benefits, including: complimentary glass of sparkling wine at check-in; complimentary Wi-Fi; nightly turndown service; complimentary in-room coffee and tea set up; digital newspaper and magazine access powered by PressReader; transportation within 5 miles of resort to local golf courses, shopping and tennis (not valid for group transfers); complimentary local and 800 access calls; naturalists for guided tours; fitness & wellness center access; complimentary daily yoga and fitness classes; access to The Links' short game practice area; and pool and beach service (chairs/umbrellas).
Check-in time is 4 p.m., with check-out at noon.
The Art of Smart Timing
High Season: Labor Day to Memorial Day
Low Season: Dependent upon group business levels
The best airport is LAX; it's under an hour to get the resort.
The resort is easily walkable. For guests who want onsite transportation, Lexus is the resort's preferred vehicle; guests can enjoy the fleet of Lexus vehicles to use for onsite transportation, airport transfers and other guest services. Lexus sedans, SUVs, hybrids and convertibles are also available to Terranea guests for on- and offsite test drives.
For Mom and Dad
If parents are able to sneak away from the kids for a bit, they should head to the Links Golf Course, Cielo Point, or the spa.