By Karen Billing
The Rancho Valencia Resort’s $30 million makeover is nearly complete and they are gearing up for an Oct. 19 re-opening. Already the resort has hosted its first guests back during a soft opening—a wedding was held on Labor Day weekend and two more weddings held last weekend.
“The guests said they felt like royalty,” said Nicole Sharp, director of marketing.
While finishing touches are being made in some spots, much of the resort looks ready to go.
The fountain is again trickling in the courtyard entrance with new outdoor fireplaces, new wood floors are glossed and green grass is again growing on the famous croquet lawn.
Rustic lanterns, wrought iron details and beautiful sturdy wood doors carry the hacienda feel, but the look is made fresh with hip details, such as a chandelier made of leather straps in a resort conference room, branded wooden bar chairs in the new bar The Pony Room, and studded white leather beams in the ballroom.
“In the rooms is where you’ll see the biggest transformations,” said Sharp of the refreshed décor.
The resort has 49 suites in individual casitas and no matter what size the room, all have the same spacious bathroom. The bathrooms were reconfigured to give guests sunken tubs, steam showers, a walk-in closet and heated toilet seats.
Twenty-four of the suites come with their own private outdoor Jacuzzis, but all have their own private patio. New logo-stamped orange beach towels are already curled up on patio lounge chairs.
The resort also has a three-bedroom hacienda that guests can rent with its own private yard and pool — the interiors of the hacienda have also received the new look.
Clothing, jewelry and gifts are already on display inside the resort shop, Sheridan, run by longtime Flower Hill Promenade shop owner Irina Rachow. Rachow welcomed the first resort guests into her store last week — they signed the marriage certificate on her countertop and she gifted them with a bracelet with the geographical coordinates of the resort engraved in a metal plate on a leather strap.
“People will find lots of special things in here,” said Rachow, mentioning they will carry high-end lines, including Roberto Cavalli, Sydney Evan jewelry, and Sophia and Chloe jewelry made exclusively for Rancho Valencia.
Inside the new restaurant Veladora, there’s an amazing chevron print wood floor to match exposed beams, a pillows adorning big tables and booths to promote comfort and a central fireplace in a striking shade of blue. The restaurant serving up coastal ranch cuisine will also be home to a new $1.1 million Damien Hirst work of art, made of real butterflies.
The resort’s spa will also reopen on Oct. 19 with a new yoga pavilion and expanded fitness center. Visit www.ranchovalencia.com,