Take a side trip from L.A. or indulge in a foodie weekend at the eco-luxe Terranea Resort.

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Usually when you think of a resort, you think of overzealous employees, screaming children and questionable foods. In an age of bespoke, well, everything, large-scale vacation options seem to have lost their appeal.

Until you find a resort that has the careful attention to detail and quality of a mom-and-pop bakery, with the convenience and luxury of something bigger. Terranea Resort is one of those places.

Located on 102 acres of pure bliss, with 270-degree views of the Palos Verdes coast, the resort is easily one of the most relaxing places to unwind in California. When booking your room, there’s no need to worry about waking up to a parking lot; the hotel rooms positioned so that each is facing the ocean. If you leave here without seeing a dolphin, you didn’t have your eyes open.

Dining wonderland

The resort boasts eight restaurants, each featuring creative dining with no discernable difference in quality. But the crown jewel is Mar’sel, Terranea’s fine-dining restaurant. Between a wagyu short rib that melts in your mouth and house-made biscuits, you are going to leave here satisfied.

Bashi, the resort’s Asian-inspired restaurant, overlooks the sweeping coastline and has a locally sourced ahi tuna tartare. Less formal dining options include traditional American cuisine at the Catalina Kitchen and the beach-themed Nelson’s, where they serve a lobster roll that is out of this world.

It comes as no surprise that people drive in from Los Angeles (the resort is about 45 minutes from LAX) to dine at these restaurants.

Commitment to sustainability

The resort is also dedicated to culinary sustainability. Executive chef Bernard Ibarra, who brings his culinary style from his native French Basque region, started a dedicated farmland at the nearby Catalina View Garden two years ago. Today, the resort’s garden grows fennel, strawberries and onions, among other fruits and veggies, all of which are harvested and brought directly to the hands of Terranea’s chefs.

Executive chef Bernard Ibarra sources food from a dedicated farm near the resort.
Executive chef Bernard Ibarra sources food from a dedicated farm near the resort.

The resort also tends an impressive bee population whose honey you can eat on its homemade mozzarella.

While walking the resort’s breathtaking grounds, you may come across its on-site Sea Salt Conservatory. About 30 pounds of sea salt are made in the conservatory each month using the saltwater from Terranea’s coast, which is considered some of the most nutrient-rich sea water in California.

If you’d like to take a little bit of Terranea home, the salt infused with Meyer lemons and rosemary is sold at Sea Beans, the resort’s coffee shop (which also has an inside-out bacon, egg and cheese sandwich that’s to die for).

The resort is proud of its efforts, as well they should be. You can taste their passion.