Guy and the Blog was invited on this trip by Mazda to Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa to review and drive the MX-5 and CX-5. All accommodations were included, but all opinions are my own.

Sometimes we just need to get away and stay at an amazing place. At times it involves a great journey. Other times, it may lead you to a great location or amazing place. For me, maybe the most ideal destination would be an equally amazing (even more amazing) resort and spa in that amazing place. Then there are those very few times when you get to enjoy everything all at once!

Even though I have been lucky enough to visit some really great spots, it was actually my husband Bill that enjoyed this wonderful trip, courtesy of the amazing people at Mazda! Not only did that lucky guy get to test drive the amazing MX-5 Miata Roadster and CX-5 SUV, he got to do it all in gorgeous Rancho Santa Fe, CA in the San Diego area right near Del Mar. The location is second to none, and neither is the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa!!!

The Cars

From the moment Bill arrived to check out all of the amazing cars from Mazda, he was whisked away to a beautiful, luxurious place he just couldn’t get enough of. As soon as he arrived, he was texting me pictures of all the sights. And they were beautiful. Nestled in the hills of the exclusive Rancho Santa Fe area, the Rancho Valencia is a unique place. I can really see why Mazda wanted to stage an event there. Their cars are all about great design, luxurious details, and amazing feelings…and so is this resort. It’s a perfect match, and Bill was floored (and that’s not easy to do)!

The Resort

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa is a sanctuary of goodness tucked away on 45 acres of lush gardens and olive groves. The look and feel is perfectly Mediterranean-inspired and, better yet, the property begins the pampering with 49 luxuriously appointed guest casitas with private patios. Yes, there are no “normal” rooms here. It’s a private hideaway just for you. It’s to die for.

The Renewal

A $30 million renovation in 2013 really set this place apart from the rest with remodeled casitas and completely remodeled meeting space, as well as major enhancements to The Spa and restaurants. There are two distinctive restaurants – Veladora and The Pony Room – showcasing Rancho Valencia’s farm-to-table philosophy. To get you feeling good after all that delicious food, you can take in some rejuvenating treatments and a wellness-oriented fitness program at the spa. There’s also an award-winning tennis program (there were courts everywhere) and awesome fitness center.

The Casitas

The casitas were gorgeous. They are basically apartments, with an amazing bathroom (hello steam shower), wonderfully sized sleeping and living spaces, and perfectly placed outdoor space (did someone say hot tub). The design and decor was spot on, too. Ideal feels for such an impressive resort and setting. The place felt like home, the home of a really nice friend with impeccable design taste. LOL! I want my house to look like this casita. Like, no joke. I wonder why Bill has his fingers in his ears again. Huh, odd.

The Dining

Anyway, as wonderful as the casitas are, Bill (and I) are all about the food. Be it a hotel, resort, spa, restaurant, wedding, BBQ, whatever, it all comes down to the food. Doesn’t it? Be honest, you know it does. I have some great news on this front, too, party people. When it came to enjoying a great meal, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa delivered big time. Bill loved every meal, including breakfast and the food at the Mazda presentation and nighttime events.

Veladora is where sun dappled afternoons fade into lantern lit evenings. And where all things fresh, handcrafted and simply delicious reside. The Pony Room offers hand-crafted cocktails alongside rustic lunch and dinner in a newly created bar and eatery. While both were great, Bill just absolutely loved to vibe and the feel of The Pony Room. He said it just screamed SoCal relaxation and good times. I seemed to really fit the place very well. Oh, man, those Huevos Rancheros and breakfast burritos look amazing!!!

The People

Sure, you can have a wonderful space that’s designed well. Yes, you can have some great food and comfortable places to have some cocktails. Of course you can be in one of the nicest locations in the world. But if you don’t have service to match, it will all fall flat. From the moment Bill arrived, he said he felt like he was home.

The staff was welcoming and warm, and always looking to go the extra mile to please. From the pitcher of fresh-squeezed orange juice and paper outside his door every morning, to the service with a smile in the restaurants, it was all just a wonderful experience. He was never left to feel unattended to or wanting. Again, as if it was a perfect match, Bill also really loved working with the people at Mazda. Sure the cars were gorgeous and super fun to drive, but the passion, knowledge, and pleasant nature of the people from Mazda really struck him. He really came away with good feelings for the folks both at Mazda and at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa. He said he couldn’t not have asked for more.

The Accolades

Don’t just take Bill and my word for it (though it’s ok if you did), check out some of the accolades  has received!! Rancho Valencia was:

  • Hand selected by Forbes Travel Guide as one of the finest Five-Star hotels in the world (2017) and awarded the prestigious AAA Five Diamond award (2017), both for four consecutive years
  • Ranked as the #1 resort in the country by U.S. News & World Report (2015)
  • Listed on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards List
  • Among the Top 20 Hideaways selected by the readers of Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report in 2016.
  • Included among Travel + Leisure’s Top 50 Hotels in the World (2016)
  • Rated #1 U.S. Tennis Resort each year by Tennis Magazine

Whew. Let me catch my breath. That’s a lot of love right there. And truly well deserved. Bill literally couldn’t stop talking about how great the casitas were, how good the food tasted, and how exceptional the staff was. There was no stone left unturned and nothing left to chance. Everything is done to the highest degree of professionalism and luxury…and I can’t complain about that. The resort also really takes sustainability as seriously as it does everything else, another huge plus in my book. I simply cannot wait to visit this place sometime very soon. From the fountains to the tiles to all of the other little (and big) details, it just seems like Rancho Valencia thought of everything. With all that Bill shared with me, I just know I’m going to feel totally pampered in this amazing place, too.

The Information

To find out more about Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, please check out RanchoValencia.comTwitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

To find out more about Mazda, the RX-5, and the MX-5, please check out Mazda.com, InstagramFacebook.comTwitter.com, and Pinterest.com. Also, search #exploremazda and #drivingmatters.

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