Travelogue: Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Tucked away in a northern San Diego County suburb, Rancho Bernardo Inn is a hidden gem. Wind your way through a sleepy upper middle class neighborhood, and at the end you’ll find a resort complete with a golf course, spa and plenty of dining options. The vibe is perfectly Southern Californian with its laid-back elegance and beautifully manicured grounds (21 fountains!) — perfect for a weekend getaway.

Rancho Bernardo Inn has an 18-hole golf course, a spa, three pools and four eateries. It’s an intimate property, just big enough to make you feel as if you’ve escaped from the real world for a while.

I was recently invited to stay at Rancho Bernardo Inn as its #INNfluencer of the month. I was treated to a day at the spa, and my husband and I enjoyed dinner at the resort’s fine dining restaurant, AVANT. We stayed with the resort’s Spa + AVANT Package, which includes a 50-minute hydrating facial or organic signature massage and two-course dinner at AVANT with a glass of on-tap wine or beer for $175 per person.

The spa offers a retreat within a retreat, with its own private spa and saline pool (the best pool on the property, in my opinion). In addition to the indoor private treatment rooms, there are also outdoor treatment rooms that can accommodate couples. This private garden area is the best part of the spa, with its adjacent jacuzzi and tranquil sitting area. The saline pool is just beyond and is limited to spa guests.

Outdoor treatment room area at spa

Outdoor treatment room area at spa

I had a satisfying massage with a therapist who gave me homework based on what she found: don’t sit so much (tight hips), change your work station (tight forearms), change up the shoulder you carry your purse on (one side of my back in knots). I liked her no-nonsense attitude. I still try to remember these things daily.

Saline spa pool

Saline spa pool

Dinner at AVANT offered an upscale experience without being stuffy. The Dungeness crab and corn fritter served with avocado, hearts of palm and a jalapeño aioli was the standout starter for us, and I enjoyed the ricotta and spinach gnocchi served with a poached egg as my main. The fritter was flavorful and perfectly fried, though the dish’s presentation was a bit odd (it looked akin to a hot dog), and the gnocchi were pillow-like.

Gnocchi at AVANT

Gnocchi at AVANT

For dessert, we had an interesting dish of rehydrated Fuji apple slices fried and dusted with cinnamon and sugar served with marshmallow, apple crisps, hard cider syrup and salted caramel ice cream. While I appreciated the creativity, the chewiness of the apples made it kind of hard to eat. The flavors were on point, though.

Apple dessert at AVANT

Apple dessert at AVANT

With a large room overlooking the golf course, as well as a comfortable king-size bed and spa bath tub, our stay was pleasant and satisfying. If you’re looking for a quiet retreat, Rancho Bernardo Inn is it.

King-size room in Greens building

King-size room in Greens building

View from room in Greens building

View from room in Greens building

Note: This stay, spa treatment and meal were hosted.

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Maya Meinert

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11 2015

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