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A green resort with a blue ocean view

Terranea Resort crowns the Rancho Palos Verdes Peninsula near Los Angeles, a part of the original 1827 California land grant that was “Rancho de Los Palos Verdes.” The area supported thousands of cattle until it became an elite residential colony in the early 1900s.


The resort site also once housed Marineland, California’s first major theme park. Marineland opened in 1954, one year before Disneyland, and featured the world’s largest venue for sea life, entertainment and aquatic research. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the television series Sea Hunt was filmed at this location, which is memorialized by the Resort’s cliff-side restaurant, Nelson’s.

The developers of Terranea sought to preserve the site’s historical, cultural and ecological significance by building a luxury venue in the Mediterranean aesthetic that is common to the area while taking care to protect its rich environmental resources. The 582-room resort is only 20 miles from the Los Angeles International and Long Beach airports, making it easily accessible to world travelers.

Of the resort’s 102 acres, 15 acres are restored native habitat. Some 45 mature trees were preserved from Marineland and replanted on the premises. Native plant material was acquired from the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy and sewn throughout the site, 75 percent of which is green space. Only 25 percent of the total land area is covered with impervious surfaces, like paving and concrete.

Terranea’s golf course is irrigated by Bioswales, which are engineered wetlands, and populated by plant species capable of remediating polluted water and soil. Bioswales facilitate sedimentation, filtration, absorption and vegetative uptake. These wetlands also provide a habitat for numerous bird and animal species.

Efforts have been made throughout the resort complex to conserve energy and water.  Additionally, Terranea provides guests with access to shuttle services and public transportation and uses hybrid and low-emission vehicles.

Terranea offers event planners 60,000 square feet of indoor event space, from board rooms to the 18,000 square-foot Palos Verdes Grand Ballroom. All 75,000 square feet of outdoor event space provides guests with a spectacular ocean view, where Catalina Island is visible just across the bay.

The Resort offers state-of-the-art media resources. Spa and leisure facilities provide ample opportunities for unique teambuilding and recreational activities.

Adjacent to Terranea is the Point Vicente Light House. Built in 1926, this historic landmark adds further romance to the coastline near the Resort. The Light House is now owned by the U.S. Coast Guard and is available for tour, free of charge, on the second Saturday of each month. Call 310-541-0334.

A little farther along the coast is the Point Vicente Interpretive Center. The Center features natural and cultural history exhibits, including a collection from Marineland. Outdoor activities include a walking path through the 7,000-square-foot plant garden containing more than 72 species of native plants. Hiking tours are available to local tidal pools, hillsides and canyons.

Marine life abounds in Abalone Cove and Sacred Cove below the Interpretive Center. The bluffs are a renowned whale-watching site, and the Pacific gray whales’ migration can be witnessed from December through mid-May. On the day of my recent visit, 10 whale sightings were reported, but I was not one of the lucky observers.

The center also features an event space that can accommodate 100 guests indoor or 150 guests with the adjacent patio. The venue offers a breathtaking view of the peninsula and nearby light house, which is a popular wedding spot in the area.

The Rancho Palos Verdes coast delivers a truly gratifying conservation experience, paying homage to a cultural and environmental heritage that is unique in the world.

Green Tip for March:

The Terranea Resort is owned by Destination Hotels and Resorts. This company, through its Destination Earth program, implements 100 environmental initiatives at each of its properties. The company also initiated the Green Meetings program in 2009, designed to minimize waste generated by meetings and conferences. For more information about Destination Earth properties, please visit www.destinationhotels.com.

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