Located in the coveted neighborhood of Rancho Santa Fe, just 90 miles from Los Angeles, 30 minutes from downtown San Diego and a short drive from Del Mar and La Jolla, Rancho Valencia has reaped the favour of many a celebrity, including Bill Gates, Michael Jordan and Bill Clinton and boasts an esteemed reputation in the world of luxury resorts. And it’s no wonder – with its vast lush gardens featuring meticulous olive tress, its 18 tennis courts, an incredible spa, several excellent dining options and hacienda style accommodation, complete with private patios, fireplaces, hot tubs and more, the retreat appears determined to and more than capable of providing a luxuriously relaxing and reinvigorating retreat.
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With a spa and fitness centre, three swimming pools, plus whirlpool, tennis courts, motorboat, sailboat and bicycle rentals and various dining options at the resort, including fine dining at Mistral, casual fare at Market and tapas style bites at La Cantina, guests will find many of their holiday needs catered for at Loews Coronado Bay. It’s perfect for families with children and guests who would prefer not venture away from the hotel. The resort even boasts a host of boutiques, in case you desire a spot of shopping but don’t want to venture too far from the pool or bar.
Cold air rushes at me, and I gulp, desperately drinking in oxygen to appease my shocked lungs. I want to scream, but I remember, I’m on camera and I’ve been advised to smile and appear unnerved. “Grab his feet!” I hear my instructor Tony shout, and as I hang on to August, the skydiving cameraman’s ankles, we’re suddenly swinging around, horizontally, like the Flying Dutchman at a theme park, nearly 14,000 ft from the ground, and I’m screaming – I’ve never felt so terrified, yet so exuberantly alive in all my life.
In all my 29 years, I’d only really celebrated my birthday once. Birthdays have never been episodes of significance in my family and I can’t imagine this will change. But having vicariously indulged in others’ celebrations through the years, I had made up my mind, I would not allow my 30th birthday to transpire without an explosion of fun and indulgence. And so I embarked on my very first trip to New York City, for a birthday getaway of culture, fine dining and pampering.