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Terrific Terranea in Palos Verdes

Author: JillW
Date of Trip: July 2011

I remember as a child driving by the abandoned Marineland of the Pacific, an animal seaside theme park. It sat deserted and forlorn for over thirty years, until in 1998, Lowe Enterprises became involved with the 102-acre property and built the gorgeous Terranea resort.

The views from every angle are exquisite, offering 270-degree views of the rocky coastline, secluded coves and Catalina Island to the west. There are over 400 guest rooms and suites ranging from 450 sq. ft. to 2,200 sq. ft. with resort and ocean views. Each room has a king-size or two double beds. For larger groups, or longer visits, the villas, casitas and bungalows are available with full kitchens, laundry rooms, living rooms, and lovely private patios.

Our day began with a short stroll to The Links at Terranea. A challenging 9-hole par-3 course with ocean views at every hole. Later we visited the full-service spa for a massage and short nap at the adult-only pool.

Afterwards, we walked along the Discovery Trail to watch for whales, dolphins or seals in the distance. During the winter-spring seasons, this area is the migration route of the California Gray Whale. The nutrient-rich continental shelf is occasionally the summer feeding ground of the rare Blue Whale, the largest mammal on earth. Signs along the trail are interpretative stops with a rest area to learn more about the history, folklore and marine life of this coastal area. We learned, that the nearby Point Vincente lighthouse, circa 1926 is also called Lady of the Light. Tales are told that in the evening the shape of a woman paces the light’s walkway. Terranea is very family friendly for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Catalina Kitchen with its children’s buffet table, filled with fruit, veggies and dip, pastas and pizza.

For romantic dinners, the resort offers the Tide Pool Adventure Club from 6 to 10 pm for ages 4 to 12. While children are entertained, parents stroll over to the resort’s signature restaurant, mar’sel (Spanish for “sea” and French for “salt”) for oceanfront dining of modern California cuisine. The fresh herbs and produce used each evening are grown in tidy little gardens behind the restaurant. Another ocean-view, dining experience is Nelson’s, overlooking the Point Vicente Lighthouse. It offers casual, pub-like fare with televisions playing the latest sporting events. Guests gather outside around the cozy fire pits for dinner and drinks, while watching the sunset.

Since the beach is small and not conducive to swimming, adults congregate around El Cielo, the resort’s second adult pool overlooking the Pacific.

Be sure to attend the sunset ritual in the evening on the Lobby Terrace. To signify the end of the day a member from Concierge brings out a sacred crystal-singing bowl. As he taps the bowl and swirls the rubber tip around the inside, it creates a sound and vibration that is known for healing and relaxation. The pure sounds of the crystals resonate to bring harmony and well-being to all who hear the beautiful sound. It’s a wonderful way to end the day and enjoy an evening at Terranea.

For information and reservations, go to or 866-998-3772.

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