Rancho Bernardo Inn: The Ultimate Southern California Staycation
For a couple of blissed-out newlyweds, a birthday weekend trip to Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego couldn’t have been more pleasant. Hunter and I were married in Kennebunkport, Maine, on September 13, and just two weeks later we celebrated my 27th birthday on September 27 (my “golden birthday”) at Rancho Bernardo. We viewed it as an extension of our honeymoon!
An easy two hours south of Los Angeles, the Rancho Bernardo Inn is an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. When you first pull in, you are greeted by a few young men in navy polos eager to assist with valet service or to take your luggage to your room. The lobby is welcoming, and the main building is a lodge style with a mesquite-burning fireplace and areas to play table games such as chess, checkers, and puzzles. It evokes a Southern France charm and feels like a home away from home.
Our room had a balcony with two chairs that opened to a courtyard with a fountain, an ideal spot for reading a book or enjoying an afternoon tea. The king-sized bed was a real treat for us, and it was super comfy. The bathrobes were large enough for Hunter and me (he’s 6’5” and I’m 5’10” so we’re not small), and we enjoyed feeling like the king and queen of San Diego in our little castle. The bathrooms were adorned with bath products from Philosophy, which I absolutely loved.
We had room service breakfast both mornings of our stay, spoiling ourselves with giant banana pancake stacks, omelets, Belgian waffles, and French toast.
The grounds of the Rancho Bernardo Inn are tranquil and include a few different pools, fountains, and walking courtyards. Sweet-smelling wild white rose bushes line the walking paths throughout the grounds.
Hunter is an avid golfer, and I am an avid “lay by the pool and catch some rays-er,” so this place was a true win-win. Although I also like to enjoy the spa, we did not call ahead to book appointments and the spa was already booked up by the time we arrived on Friday evening. (Word to the wise: Call ahead to book your spa treatments!)
Hunter claims the 18-hole championship golf course at Rancho Bernardo is his favorite course west of the Mississippi. According to him, “Hitting off the fairways feels like hitting off pillows of moss. The course beautifully carves the landscape and couldn’t have been designed better.” He was actually one of the first to test the new GPS touch screens in the golf carts and says the yardages were spot-on. “Even though the course is challenging, I found it improved the overall quality of my game,” Hunter says.
On the evening of my birthday, we made a reservation to dine at the resort’s restaurant AVANT, which couldn’t have been better. The chef brought out a charcuterie plate with an assortment of artisan cured and smoked meats alongside the restaurant’s house-made mustards and a cheese plate with cow, goat, and sheep’s milk cheese selections from around the world.
We also sampled some of the various farm-fresh appetizers, including a foraged mushroom tartine with grilled provolone, ramps, and chimichurri and the hand-dipped ricotta with truffle honey, figs, and baguette. Both were to die for.
As my entrée I had the New York strip steak with a truffled cheese soufflé and roasted beets. It was divine. Our server couldn’t believe how much food we consumed. I think she underestimated our appetites!
The Rancho Bernardo Inn is a truly beautiful property and we look forward to our next visit!