There’s a reason why Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa was recently rated #1 resort in the States and #1 Relais & Chateaux hotel in the world by U.S. News & World Report—the property, all 45 acres, is simply spectacular. I visited this SoCal gem a while ago and fell in love with it: the spa, set in a gorgeously landscaped garden oasis; the farm-to-table cuisine at Veladora; the decor and the craft cocktails at the infinitely fun Pony Room; the fitness center with a terrific array of classes like TRX, Pilates, and Ballet Sculpt, as well as window walls that open onto beautiful views; and the comfortable, nicely done casita I stayed in that had a bathtub I wanted to bring home. For yoga lovers, there’s an impressive 1,000-square-foot Serenity Yoga Pavilion that’s partially open-air.
The Spa at Rancho Valencia, spread out over 1.5 acres, has some thoughtful outdoor touches, including a Watsu pool, private sun gardens, whirlpools—and my all-time favorite—the humble cold plunge—in this case, a plunge pool circuit. You know you’re at a serious spa if there’s a cold plunge. The decor is Mediterranean, and I loved the beautifully tiled rooms with private patios (five with deep soaking tubs and rain showers) throughout the spa. On the menu are treatments that highlight indigenous botanicals, especially fragrant citrus.
You know you’re at a serious spa if there’s a cold plunge.
I stared up at the sunny blue sky, allowing my thoughts to wander and my body to relax while luxuriating in a private outdoor bath during the Sixth Sense Ritual. This signature treatment, given by an excellent therapist, also included both a full-body massage and super-relaxing scalp massage. How could this spa get any better? Well, I just learned that it has launched a new partnership with the Barcelona-based luxury skincare company, Natura Bisse. The two have put their high-end heads together to create a lusciously scented citrus product line (think a combo of orange and tangerine) that’s newly available in-room and at The Spa. Naturally, inspiration was taken from the property’s orange groves. Now, in-room, you’ll find Hydrating Bath Foam, Detox Body Balm, boxed soap, and Repairing Shampoo and Smooth Conditioner. Even better news: There are a number of new Natura Bisse spa treatments on the menu, including:
Citrus Supreme: An exclusive and intensely hydrating and firming C+C ritual for the face and body. Begins with a mandarin exfoliation, then cocooned in a citrus soufflé mask and cream application. The ritual ends with an antioxidant facial for a perfectly soothing, serene spa experience. (135 minutes, $425)
The Valencia Vichy: A unique treatment that is the ultimate experience in water therapy. This starts with a vitamin C polish to regenerate and exfoliate the skin. A rejuvenating Vichy steam and shower massage combined with Rancho Valencia’s amazing body balm offers the pinnacle of relaxation. (75 minutes, $225)
Nourishing Citrus Drench: This includes an exfoliation, wrap, and application of nourishing body cream with concentrated ascorbic acid and shea butter that protects the skin from dryness and premature aging. (75 minutes, $225)
Citrus-A-Peel: An antioxidant treatment that relieves sun-damaged skin and helps alleviate signs of premature aging; 100 percent pure Vitamin C stimulates collagen production and renews skins firmness. (75 minutes, $220)