Rancho Santa Fe, California
By Roger Cox, Editor
Courtesy Rancho Valencia
Set amid the horse farms, citrus groves, and multi-million-dollar houses in the hills 24 miles north of San Diego, Rancho Valencia hugs the eucalyptus-capped slope of a secluded valley not far from Rancho Santa Fe. The access road loops around the 18 courts—built in three clusters connected by walkways—before ending in front of a Spanish Colonial-style clubhouse inspired by old Rancho Santa Fe estates.
For a tiny resort it has remarkable breadth of dimensions, not only the tennis but a spacious outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, a 10,000-square-foot spa, a croquet court, and putting green. The nearest golf course is immediately adjacent, though guests have privileges at half a dozen in the area. And all of the rooms are just short walk from the resort's award-winning restaurant.
Rancho Valencia underwent an extensive renovation in 2012, remodeling all 49 of the suites, expanding the spa, and enhancing the reception, dining, fitness, and meeting spaces. The tennis complex remained open throughout the renovation, and now that the hotel has reopened, there is a new tennis director: former touring pro Robin White. White won the U.S. Open Doubles title with Gigi Fernandez in 1988 and the U.S. Open Mixed Double Championships with Shelby Cannon in 1989, as well as a dozen other doubles titles and three singles titles. I'm going to try to get back to the resort soon to see all the changes and update this page. Meanwhile, if you have a chance to visit, please write a review for the benefit of other vacationers.
Pro Shop: 858-759-6224
Courts & Fees. There are 18 hard courts (none with lights) arranged in three clusters variously called Palm, Citrus, and Sycamore for the trees planted around them. One of these courts has been dedicated to a self-feeding ball machine. Court time is free.
Veladora, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, looks out across the valley and showcases the farm-to-table cuisine of Chef Eric Bauer while its sister restaurant, a bar and eatery called the Pony Room, serves rustic cuisine, craft tequilas, and cocktails, with a terrace for al fresco dining or drinks.
If you like the sound of Rancho Valencia, you may also want to consider, in this order:
- The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina
- Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Florida
- Rosewood Little Dix Bay, British Virgin Islands
- Topnotch Resort and Spa, Vermont
Rates and Reservations
Rates at Rancho Valencia are the same year-round and vary according to the size and location of the suite chosen and whether you're booking midweek or weekend and whether its a holiday. There is also a Hacienda, which contains three suites, a full kitchen, and a private pool.
5921 Valencia Circle
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
Web Link: Rancho Valencia
Seasons: Year-round. The climate here, 7 miles from the ocean, borders on ideal. Average high temperatures in January hover in the mid 60s and even in August it is possible to sleep comfortably without having to turn on the air conditioning, especially since the rooms have ceiling fans.
Travel Instructions. The resort is 24 miles from San Diego International Airport. To reach it from San Diego or La Jolla by car take I-5 north to Del Mar Heights Road east. Continue to El Camino Real and turn left. Turn right at San Dieguito Road. Turn right on Rancho Diegueno Road, then left (immediately) at Rancho Valencia Road and then left at Rancho Valencia Drive.
General Tourist Information. There are two sources of information: for the immediate area, visit the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau website or contact them at 360 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025-2600. Phone: 800-848-3336; for the county as a whole, visit the San Diego County Convention & Visitors Bureau website or contact them at 2215 India St., San Diego, CA 92101. Phone: 619-236-1212.