Terranea Resort Opens

Luxury oceanfront resort occupies former Marineland site in Southern California’s South Bay

By: By Deanna Ting

Terranea Resort Opens // (c) 2009


Terranea Resort opened on June 12 on the former ocean bluff site of Marineland of the Pacific oceanarium in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. The new oceanfront, 102-acre luxury resort is the only one of its kind in Los Angeles County, situated in the South Bay and located some 14 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport.

At a grand opening ceremony held on June 12, developers Bob and Rob Lowe of Lowe Enterprises Ltd. spoke of their high hopes for the resort, which was more than 10 years in the making.

“It’s been a long ride, but a great journey,” said Rob Lowe (no relation to the Hollywood actor), CEO of Lowe Hospitality Group. “Our company niche is to create unique places that are customized for the local environment and culture.”

Local support from the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council helped make the resort a reality. Most recently, the resort drew media attention for receiving an $8 million loan from the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, allowing the $480 million resort to defer payment of its hotel tax for several years. Numerous representatives and members from the Rancho Palos Verdes city council, along with representatives from neighboring sister cities, attended the grand opening ceremony.

Since the closure of Marineland of the Pacific in 1987, the land which Terranea Resort now occupies was, for the most part, desolate and barren. The location encompasses a prime ocean view on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. In recent years, the site has also served as the backdrop for such films as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Pearl Harbor.”

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime responsibility to develop Terranea so it looks like it belongs on this fabulous point,” said Bob Lowe, chairman and CEO of Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises.

While building the resort, Lowe and its team of architects and builders made sure to incorporate as much of the old Marineland property as possible, even replanting some 45 trees from the site, including the four trees that shade the resort’s central plaza. In addition, Lowe planted 14 acres of natural coastal sage scrub habitat to recreate the area’s natural California coastal terrain. The resort also utilizes a series of water quality systems to treat and clean rainwater runoff and help protect the ocean.

“We are proud that Terranea provides access to irreplaceable land while safeguarding its beauty and nurturing the flora and fauna — all for the benefit of generations to come,” said Rob Lowe. “It is our vision that people will come away from Terranea compelled to become caretakers with us, of the land and the ocean that make Southern California one of the world’s most precious locales.”

Terranea Resort, in its design, evokes a Spanish Mediterranean feel and is bright and airy, with plenty of room and space. The hotel’s name is, in fact, a play on the word “Mediterranean.” Management of the resort will be overseen by Lowe subsidiary Destination Hotels & Resorts.

The property comprises a 360-room hotel, 20 bungalows, 50 oceanfront casitas and 32 oceanview villas. Amenities include The Links at Terranea, a dramatically landscaped nine-holf golf course; The Spa at Terranea, with 25 treatment rooms in total; three oceanview pools; a secluded beach cove; and a total of eight distinctive restaurants, bars and lounges. The resort’s children’s center also specializes in interactive nature programs that take advantage of the property’s unique location.

“Terranea feels secluded and private, providing an oceanfront escape that transports guests to another world, but is still close to all the attractions of one of the world’s great cities,” said Terri A. Haack, executive vice president and managing director of Terranea Resort. “Our staff has received many hours of training to ensure that Terranea offers a level of gracious, highly personalized service found only in the most exclusive resorts.”

For meetings and events, Terranea boasts 135,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including 60,000 square feel of indoor facilities and a ballroom and 75,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space and gathering lawns. At the time of its grand opening, a reported 29 weddings had already been booked at the resort, which is large enough to hold five weddings at one time.

Right now, Terranea is offering introductory grand opening rates up to 50 percent off for travel through Dec. 30. Clients can save up to 50 percent off room rates from Sunday through Thursday, and up to 25 percent off on Friday and Saturday. Blackout dates and some exceptions, however, apply.

Terranea Resort
Commission: 10 percent