I think I may have found the world’s best hotel for spending a babymoon… I honestly can’t fault a single thing at Rancho Valencia. And also, complimentary Porsches, what? Come see for yourself!
Rancho Valencia Withdrawal
It’s been a few weeks since I got back from my very millennial California babymoon at the incredible Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa. To recap, a chance encounter in the south of Portugal, one last BA companion voucher and an unfortunate global outbreak of Zika meant only one thing: a babymoon in Cali (read the full story here).
However, this has actually been a difficult post to write, as I struggle to find the right tone that doesn’t come off as arrogant bragging… But is there a non-douchy way to say we spent an incredible week at one of the world’s best 5 star hotels wearing white fluffy robes and driving complimentary Porsches under the sweet California sun with the roof down while eating lobsters? Because I can’t think of one! I’m not gonna play it down, this babymoon was perfect. So perfect, I think I’m going through some kind of withdrawal…
It was the first thing I noticed when I got home from our long-haul flight and sat down on my toilet seat. Crikey! the thing was cold! Toilet seats at Rancho Valencia are always warm, open automatically when you approach and flush all by themselves once you walk away… So if you have a spare 1-2 thousand pounds to spend on warm buttocks, the brand is Toto and having tested it for a week, I really want one!
It’s just one of those things you don’t realise how much you need until you’ve had it. Like Uber and food delivery apps, premium vodka, or trying to use a Microsoft laptop after having a Macbook…
Anyway, on that first morning back from Cali, while still wiping the jet lag from my eyes, I went to open my front door as per our usual Rancho Valencia routine before suddenly remembering where I was. First of all, it was cold, grey and raining outside, but also there was nothing out there. No freshly squeezed jar of sun-ripened California orange juice or today’s Wall Street Journal neatly arranged in a crate waiting for me.
So I went back inside to look in my fridge. Empty, of course, as we hadn’t been to the shops yet. At Rancho Valencia, the fridge was restocked daily as if by magic fairies with a complimentary suite of beverages; everything from fresh milk to coconut water, cold-pressed juices and sodas. So I decided to go to the shops… but how? In the US we got so used to driving everywhere. Looking up and down my street, I found myself wondering why my house can’t also come with a fleet of Porsches on standby?
The Valencia Suite
Later that afternoon, I thought back to our ‘hotel room’, which is actually bigger than our London flat. We stayed in the ‘Valencia Suite’, their best suite type, which was more accurately a house. 120 sqm of perfected living space consisting of a large en-suite bedroom, an enormous bathroom with walk-in wardrobe, high wood-beamed ceilings and a Mediterranean-inspired living room.
A couple of notable features: a large glass-encased shower in front of a feature oval bathtub. Premium Natura Bisse toiletry products. A wrap-around patio with an outdoor private whirlpool jacuzzi. Both an indoor and outdoor gas fireplace. Bang & Olufsen stereos. A TV in every room. And that’s not even all…
Elsewhere on the 45 acre property, there are two restaurants, the fine-dining Veladora and more casual Pony Room; two gorgeous large swimming pools one for adults-only; a lot of tennis courts; lush gardens and olive groves; and an award-winning spa complete with a yoga pavilion, gym and fitness studio, treatment rooms and relaxation areas.
Guests are invited to join a range of complimentary fitness and yoga classes taught by beautiful, smiling California goddesses.
What further distinguishes Rancho Valencia from other luxury hotels is their incredible attention to detail, which did not go unappreciated. Each morning after our room had been cleaned, we found a Rancho Valencia bookmark placed inside our books, our phone charger cables wrapped up neatly inside a velcro cable organiser, and the Nespresso coffee capsules we’d used that morning already replaced.
Coming back to the room after turn-down service, we would find the fireplace lit and the radio turned on, creating a warm, inviting ambiance to retreat to. Literally the only problem was figuring out how we were ever going to leave this place!
One Last Luxury Trip…
Rancho Valencia is quite clearly among the very best hotels I’ve stayed. Located just 30 minutes drive north of San Diego city, it’s considered by Forbes and Conde Nast to be one of the best hotels in the world and an exemplary Relais & Chateaux property.
I honestly cannot recommend Relais & Chateaux hotels enough. It is my absolute favourite luxury hotel group and one that never disappoints. This is the third I’ve written about, see posts on La Bamba de Areco in Argentina and Cobbler’s Cove in Barbados.
What sets them apart is an unparalleled commitment to the highest standards of hospitality, interior design and fine dining, providing a holistic luxury experience that is so much more than a room.
Also because they are often much smaller than large luxury hotel chains, they are able to provide a much more private and personalised service (see post on how to find the best independent hotels).
Our goal for the babymoon was simple: one last luxury break just the two of us before we become three. We felt completely spoiled and pampered at Rancho Valencia. Each morning we woke up early to enjoy an incredible breakfast together at the Veladora restaurant.
By the end of our week, we had tried pretty much every item on the menu. Tip: they make the best avocado toast and don’t forget to order the freshly baked cinnamon roll served with extra icing on the side!
We also loved the complimentary yoga and fitness classes, and were lucky to get one blissful pool day even in Feb! Of course, for my husband, the highlight was undisputedly the complimentary fleet of Porsches. What other hotels have that?! All in all, it was the most beautiful, soulful and relaxing babymoon, and I can’t think of a better place to have spent it.
Look out for my San Diego Travel Guide… Coming Soon!
How to Book Yours
Rancho Valencia offer a special babymoon package called the “Great Expectations Babymoon.” To Book, call 866.233.6708 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s what’s included:
Arrive to a sweet rose petal turndown paired with crave-worthy cupcakes for two. R&R at The Spa at Rancho Valencia is a must on any babymoon. Share our couple’s spa suite and indulge in a dreamy massage for two, including a Pre-Natal Massage for Mom, at The Spa.
- Discounted room rate, available on all room types
- One Couples Massage (half mommy-to-be massage)
- Fresh orange juice and morning paper delivered to your suite daily
- Special Welcome Amenity
- Rates are subject to taxes & resort fee
- 2 night stay minimum requirement
- Black out dates apply
Before You Go…
Planning a babymoon is different from other vacations because you have to be extra careful about where you go, what you do and the things you eat. For a pregnancy-safe babymoon, you should always be comfortable, close to a hospital, ensure that you eat and drink safely, and remember to take time to relax! My advice:
- Doctor’s Note: Bring a “Fit-to-Fly” letter from your GP with you together with your maternity notes. In case of a health claim, your insurer will most likely ask for this.
- Travel Insurance: Call your travel insurer to make sure that you are covered for any pregnancy-related health incidents. And if you don’t already have cover, buy some!
- Fly Business Class: I don’t recommend flying long-haul in economy pregnant. Business class offers many benefits such as space, the ability to lay on your side, and ease of getting up often to stretch your legs.
- Check the Weather: Carefully consider the temperature of where you want to go before booking. A babymoon in the sun may sound like a nice idea, but in reality you may end up feeling stressed if it’s too hot.