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Rancho Palos Verdes' Terranea is a Luxurious Family-friendly Resort
August, 2010 - Issue #70
"Daddy, pool!" exclaimed 2-year-old Amber as she stood on the balcony of our sixth-floor room and peered through the railing at the expansive body of water below.

She could have been talking about the impressive panorama of the Pacific Ocean and the bluffs of Rancho Palos Verdes that spread out to the south. But no, she meant the swimming pool.

We had just checked in at Terranea Resort and the kids' enthusiasm about the upcoming weekend bubbled over. When they weren't running between our adjoining rooms and bouncing on the beds, Laurel, 7, Drew, 5 and Brooke, 4, joined Amber on the balcony. They craned their necks to look for the water slide. They had seen pictures on the hotel website. Now that they were finally here, they wanted to see it for themselves.

We headed downstairs so they could scout out the 140-foot slide's twists and turns. And after having satisfied their curiosity, we wandered the resort's extensive walking paths to explore the sprawling property.

Terranea opened in June 2009 and occupies 102 acres of unmatched coastline on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It was built on the site of what used to be Marineland, an aquatic theme park that predated Sea World. After 10 years of approvals, and finally construction, the result is something to be experienced.

Infused with Mediterranean style, the resort is built for luxury relaxation. It includes a 360-room hotel, along with 20 bungalows, 50 casitas and 32 villas of varying sizes. Amenities include a nine-hole par-three golf course, a 50,000-square-foot spa, three heated pools, eight restaurants, beach access and miles of trails and walking paths.

The kids looked forward to experiencing the Tide Pool Kids Club. We dropped them off at 9 a.m. and they were predictably hesitant, being in a new place with new people. But that didn't last long.

"It was a HAPPENING PLACE,
with kids in the water and parents reclined
on the deck enjoying detective novels,
naps and the wireless access."

As we sat in the hot tub later in the morning, we saw them out with the recreation guides on a walk down to the beach. The kids were laughing, smiling and chatting up the friendly guides. April went to retrieve Amber for her late morning nap and the other three kids wouldn't look at Mom for fear it was time to leave. And when it finally was time to depart at 1 p.m. they came back with a collection of crafts and stories about all the fun they'd had playing games, competing on the Wii and hanging out with their new friends.

The afternoon was devoted to indulging Amber's quest for water at the resort pool. It was a happening place, with kids in the water and parents reclined on the deck enjoying detective novels, naps and the wireless access that allows you to simultaneously surf the net and catch some sun. Between the pool, the waterslide, the sand play area and the splash zone, the hours flew by. Next thing we knew, it was time for dinner.

We settled into a window table at Catalina Kitchen. The kids felt right at home, as it featured a buffet created just for them. Situated on tables placed at their level was a spread of their favorites: mac and cheese, chicken tenders, fries, fruit salad and pizza.While they munched, we enjoyed our burrata salad. The mozzarella-like cheese was perfectly paired with vine ripe tomatoes, fragrant basil, eight-year-old balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil.

After the kids went back for seconds, our main course arrived. April opted for the arugula and goat cheese flat bread, while I went for an intriguing crispy chicken and a side of Yukon Gold Potato puree. Everything was fresh and flavorful, and so good we wanted to eat it all. But we had to save room for dessert - a decadent chocolate cake with berry compote, and an ice cream roll with a center filling that exactly matched the taste of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

Amber didn't have any comments about dinner. But she didn't need to say anything. The smear of chocolate on her face said it all.
Eric Harnish lives in Newhall.

Terranea Resort
310-265-2800
www.terranea.com
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