Eleven Excuses to Celebrate at Terranea Resort

There are some key moments in life when you feel inspired to do something really great; like when you graduate college, take that first 8am sip of an iced coffee, or get a really uplifting quote on the inside of your Dove chocolate wrapper. For me, a moment came just last week, when I was observing a wedding and a 50th birthday party, all from a patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a pool, a spa, a set of mountains, and a sunset. The location: Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, just 40 minutes south of Los Angeles. And when you’re at a sprawling oceanfront resort surrounded by celebrations, you just feel inspired to make your own.

At Terranea, celebrations are everywhere, and every cranny of the seven dining spots, three pools, 225 fire pits, and 582 rooms (starting at $425/night) is abuzz with a "life-is-good" hominess that makes you not want to leave. Which is why many of the guests—mostly unassuming millionaires—don’t, and decide to buy one of the jacuzzi-and-fireplace-stocked casitas or villas for sale on the property. Beyond the scenery and accommodations is a menu list of adventures known as "Pointe Discovery" activities, where guests can hitch a ride on a horse, explore sea life in the tidal pools, meet some falcons, hike, kayak, and more.

Need an excuse to visit Terranea? Maybe a tailored itinerary, too? Try one of these, and begin The Terranea Experience.

You’re Days Away From Getting Married: Your single days are numbered, so grab your girlfriends, and share one of the 1,100-square-foot Spa Club Bungalows right by the ocean. Included in that $1,215 ticket are free meals at the Spa Café, free use of the spa pool and amenities, 10 percent off spa/salon services, and 10 percent off cabana rentals. You’ll also get a personal concierge, so you can start getting used to bossing someone around all the time.

You Can’t Remember When You Last Vacationed: Leave work behind and live it up in one of Terranea’s oceanside 900-square-foot suites with a private patio, living room, and stone master bathroom. If you can make it out of your suite, head over to Nelson’s; a stone and wood-beam sports bar restaurant that sits right by the ocean – for a beer, shrimp taco, and an outdoor table by the sunset, all while getting reacquainted with your social life. 

Winter Isn’t Fun Anymore: With its three heated pools (family, adult, and spa), hot tubs, saunas, and fire pits, you can catch a lot of warmth at Terranea, no matter the weather. Then, when you’re complaining about how hot summer is, you’ll be glad the ocean and cold plunge pool at the spa is nearby.

Your First Weekend Without The Kids: Just take any room that’s available and get out ASAP for heaven’s sake. Have a couple of beers and a sunset dinner at Nelson’s, race each other in kayaks, swim in the adults-only pool, dress up for some seafood at Mar’sel, and end each night with s’mores by a fire pit.

Wait, You Had To Bring The Kids: Go for Pointe Discovery’s horseback riding adventure at Wagon Wheel Ranch and get a view of all of LA—from Malibu to Long Beach—right on your thoroughbred. Refuel at the kid-safe, all-day dining spot Catalina Kitchen, just steps from the family pool. Then, drop them off at The Tidal Pool Kids Club for a day and evening of nonstop themed activities and projects, while you get multiple reflexology and shiatsu massages.

You’re Bored of Malibu: Whether you’re sick of living or vacationing there, sometimes it’s just really nice to get out of LA and go somewhere not too far away that still feels uncharted. Recapture the charm with a guestroom that overlooks the ocean, and begin your day at the quaint and warm café Sea Beans—where a cappuccino keeps you buzzed for hours, and a lemon blueberry scone is the size of a pizza slice—but better.

You Just Wanna See Some Ocean, Dammit: Okay, this is really easy. Reserve any of the oceanside or oceanview rooms, and eat at Mar’sel and Nelson’s for every meal. Sit by the spa pool facing the water, and in the afternoon, book a tidal pooling Pointe Discovery trek with Sean, where you’ll discuss Taoism and Hawaii, in the midst of jumping into the cove and sticking your fingers in Hoover-sucking sea anemone.

You’re Going to Propose: If she won’t say yes here, then you’re out of luck. Make it special with a couples’ Signature Treatment Suite at the spa, and an oceanside king room, a platter of fresh oysters from Catalina Kitchen’s Friday night seafood buffet, and rose petals, and sprawl on the bed in just a robe and… KIDDING, JUST KIDDING. But really though, that’s a very good deal.

You’re On a Seafood Binge: When you’re surrounded by ocean on three sides, you can’t go wrong with ordering seafood, which is why every dining spot at Terranea offers some edible form of sea creature. To make the most of it, arrive on Friday and head to Catalina Kitchen’s weekly seafood buffet. Then make your way to the spa on Saturday, and pick up a lunchbox full of coriander-crusted tuna rolls and Thai-style shrimp salad. For dinner, check out Terranea’s fine-dining spot Mar’sel for their wild Alaskan halibut, or the crispy walnut shrimp at Asian fusion spot Bashi. Then wake up on Sunday for Catalina Kitchen’s buffet seafood-filled brunch. Vacationing is fun!

You’re Having a Quarter-Life Crisis: Give yourself some time to think and overanalyze the meaning of your life with Pointe Discovery’s painting by the sea and a hike to the Point Vicente Lighthouse. Who cares how long the trek is? It’s not the destination, but the journey that counts. HAHA.

You’re Sick of Everyone: Four words—falconry and horseback riding. Just stick with the animals.

Terranea Resort

Anantara, Angsana, Andara, Oh My! Our Guide To The Tongue-Twisting Thai Resort World

When we heard the news that Banyan Tree had officially opened a new resort yesterday call Angsana in Phuket, our first thought was, “Yes! Another gorgeous, warm, exotic-yet-comfy property in the Banyan Tree family!” We literally thought those exact words. Our second thought was “Isn’t there already a resort in Phuket with that name?” (Because these are the questions that keep us up at night.) The answer, as it turns out, is no. But anyone who’s tried to book a beach getaway to Thailand knows there’s a good reason for such confusion. Here’s our quick-reference guide to what makes Thailand’s high-end resorts unique.

Located on Bang Tao Beach, Angsana is a $30 million renovation of the former Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket, a part of the Laguna Phuket complex of five luxury hotels set on 600 acres of parkland, with three kilometers of pristine beach spread over six lagoons, and an outstanding array of recreational and dining facilities. It’s constructed in a modern style with hints of traditional Thai architecture, like steeply arched roofs and small canals and waterways throughout the property. We love the brightly colored accents in the décor, which bring the vivid colors of the nature outside into the pristine rooms. There’s an emphasis on teaching sustainability, both in the hotel’s management practices and in experiental learning, like interacting with the property’s two baby elephants, Lucky and Joey. With 409 rooms and suites, four restaurants, and Xana–the resort’s beach club which is yet to open–there’s a lot going on here, so we’re eager to see where this property finds its niche.

Anantara’s 83 villas enjoy prime real estate on Mai Khao beach on the northwest coast, near the Sirinath Marine National Park, which keeps development to a minimum. The Anantara Hotel Group specializes in the Asia-Pacific region, based out of Bangkok, and this is definitely the place to make the most of the islands, with a busy itinerary of activities on the resort, ranging from tennis to cooking classes, and numerous excursions for everything from visiting a gibbon rescue, to an elephant trek, to snorkeling and diving the Similan Islands. And definitely make sure to check out the open-air spa—you’ll need one of their ultra-relaxing signature Thai massages to wind down from your busy day.

With just 26 villas and 37 suites built into the hillside overlooking Kamala Beach, it’s tempting to hide out in Andara’s plushly appointed rooms and play house with the high-end appliances, punctuated by trips to the pool (a social gathering place for the resort). The restaurant, Silk, serves elegantly presented Thai classics to a mix of hotel guests and locals. Force yourself  to hop the shuttle down to the hotel’s private club at the public beach, or to nearby Patong Beach, a major party destination for travelers to Thailand. After all, you need to reach the water in order to access the hotel’s two best accessories—a pair of 92 and 115-foot yachts available for everything from multi-day cruises around the islands, to catered scuba-diving daytrips.

It will come as no surprise to fans of the Aman brand of resorts (and they do tend to be ardent fans) when we say that the traditionally-constructed Amanpuri, on the west coast’s Pansea Beach, is all about relaxation. Unwind here with visits to local festivals and temples, daily yoga and meditation sessions on the hillside, and trips to the teak-lined but airy spa (Aman’s first full service spa, where they developed many of their signatures). Or try it the Western way with a sunset drink on the bar’s beachfront terrace and attentive service, including spa treatments, in your spacious, traditionally appointed rooms.