I was hosted by Terranea Resort Palos Verdes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’ve recently become a little obsessed with Palos Verdes. Its rugged, craggy terrain, unobstructed ocean views, and unique ecology are unlike anything else you’ll find in Los Angeles. This, combined with Palos Verdes’ abundant hiking trails and scenic coves, have quickly made Palos Verdes into one of my most fervent weekend go-to’s when I want to get outside and be in nature without heading too far from the city.
Terranea Resort Palos Verdes is not just Palos Verdes’ go-to accommodation for visitors, it’s also Los Angeles’ only oceanfront resort, making it a well-loved destination for locals and out-of-towners.
I’ve heard stories of epic oceanfront views, life-changing encounters with wildlife (the resort is set on a unique piece of land with incredible biodiversity and conservation efforts. More on this below!), luxurious spa days, and unbeatable sunsets.
And recently, I finally had the opportunity to stay at Terranea Resort and experience all of these things for myself!
Here’s what you need to know about staying at Los Angeles’ only oceanfront luxury resort.
Palos Verdes (also known as Palos Verdes Peninsula) is part of Los Angeles County, and situated about an hour’s drive outside of downtown. Weirdly enough, the Palos Verdes Peninsula was actually part of the Channel Islands millions and millions of years ago, and once it fused itself with the mainland, it brought with it a whole host of unique rocks and plant life that can only be found on the peninsula itself and on the neighboring islands. Crazy, right?
In the early 1900s, a group of New York investors purchased a bunch of land in Palos Verdes to transform the area into a coastal Mediterranean village.
Fast-forward to the 50s, the area became Marineland of the Pacific, California’s first major sea life theme park. This park lasted the late 80s, and construction for Terranea began right after.
It’s important to get an understanding of this background to really appreciate the resort today. Terranea Resort’s design sought out to fuse all of these historical influences together – Mediterranean architectural design, lots of original structural elements from the theme park, and a commitment to ecological sustainability in an effort to preserve the unique environment the resort occupies.
The Terranea Resort Palos Verdes Property
The resort spans 102 acres and more than 3/4 of that land is dedicated to green space and natural landscape. Because of its unique setting at the edge of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, guests can encounter a whole range of local plants and even animals native to the area. Whale migration viewing is incredibly popular here, and it’s not uncommon to also spot dolphins and seals. On land, you might get to see cottontail rabbits, hawks, and rare Palos Verdes Blue butterflies, amongst other things. Even though I only stayed at the resort for two nights, I had close encounters with dolphins and seals that easily made my entire visit.
To keep seagulls away from guests, the resort actually employs falconers – people who train and fly birds of prey. On Thursdays and Sundays every week, you can listen to one of their resident falconers talk shop and show off his bird patrol squad, which when we were there consisted of an awe-inspiring array of owls, falcons, and hawks. These birds are not trained to attack seagulls or other wildlife, but just their presence alone apparently serves as enough warning to keep unwanted visitors away.
In order to really take advantage of Terranea’s natural surrounds, you can organize paddleboarding, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, golfing, and biking during your stay. I’ve been paddleboarding for over a decade, and I’d never experienced the scenery I did here – Terranea’s protected kelp beds are home to hundreds of marine species, and you get to immerse yourself in it from above.
Of course, in addition to the outdoor activities, there’s also the resort itself. Terranea’s property features four different pools, an oceanfront spa, and nine unique dining options. Bashi was one of my favorites for Asian fusion dining, but I’ve also heard Mar’sel’s weekend brunch can’t be beat.
Just like the property itself Terranea’s accommodations are exhaustive. There seems to be a choice for every possible group size, which isn’t always easy to find at hotels.
They have guest rooms and suites, much like you’d expect (these rooms sleep up to four people), but they also offer bungalows (adults only, up to four people), casitas (up to eight people), and villas (up to six people).
I ended up staying in one of Terranea’s suites, which offers an impressive view of the ocean and the property. Sunsets here are an event in their own right, and best viewed from the balcony!
Terranea Resort Palos Verdes Sustainable Practices
One of the biggest things I was curious about was Terranea’s sustainability, and how the resort does its part to take care of the environment around it. During my stay, I learned a couple of things that I really appreciated:
- Terranea has its own garden, honeybees, chickens, and Sea Salt Conservatory, enabling the resort to produce a lot of the ingredients for its restaurants onsite
- The resort donates leftover food and usable toiletries to Chefs to End Hunger and Midnight Mission
- Guests can enjoy docent-led hikes to learn about the property’s native flora and fauna
- The design of the property set out to painstakingly preserve the existing structural elements – including 50+ year-old trees – that were already available from the area’s theme park past, in an effort to minimize any additional impact on land
Every staff member we encountered was just gushing about how cool their job was and how lucky they felt to be working somewhere like this. After just three days, I can definitely see why.
You can learn more about Terranea’s sustainability efforts here.
Tips to Know Before You Go
1. TRANSPORTATION: Driving is the best way to go in order to fully enjoy Palos Verdes (so be sure to rent a car if you’re from out of town). Once you’re here, keep in mind that the resort charges $40/night for self-parking.
2. PETS: The resort is pet-friendly for most dogs up to 50 lbs!
2. WHERE TO EAT: At the resort, check out Mar’sel for brunch, Bashi for dinner, and Catalina Kitchen for a casual bite. The resort also has an onsite coffee shop, Sea Beans, that has pretty good breakfast burritos and to-die-for gelato.
For a change of scenery off of the resort property, check out Black Bamboo Sushi, Yellow Vase, and Girogio’s Italian, or venture further out for a bite in Hermosa Beach or Long Beach.
3. WHAT TO DO IN THE AREA:
- Go on a paddleboarding tour at Terranea Resort
- Hike one of Palos Verdes’ countless hiking trails
- Bike to Point Vicente Lighthouse
- Enjoy the views at Abalone Cove or Malaga Cove
- Check out Wayfarers Chapel
For more Palos Verdes information, check out my full guide on what to do in Palos Verdes here!
Ready to pack your bags? Book your stay at the Terranea Resort Palos Verdes here.
Book Activities In or Near This Hotel Here:
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