We adore all things honeymoons here at Desireehartsock.com so when Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa invited us to preview their property, we said “yes, please!” After all, choosing the right location for your first week as Mr. and Mrs. is important and challenging (we’ve all experienced those places that look like Paradise Found on the website yet are more American Horror Story: Hotel once you check in). In order to help you out, we are always on the look out for places that are the perfect balance of restive and engaging.

And, after spending a week at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Southern California (located in North San Diego, where views of palm trees come standard), we can say that we’ve found our new favorite honeymoon spot! Here’s why:

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The lodgings 

How does a nestled-away casita with a wood burning fireplace and private patio sound? About right? We certainly thought so! Guests stay in one of forty-nine residences, each one featuring such luxuries as huge soaking tubs, walk-in wardrobes, and Mediterranean styled living areas. Oh–and melt-into-them beds that would pass even the most rigorous Princess and the Pea test. We loved how transitional the casitas were. You can open up the windows and pull back the curtains to let in the bright blue glories of the Southern California sky or you can draw the blinds, wrap yourself in a soft blanket, and cuddle up to the fireplace with your love and some room service Irish coffee!

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The spa

You stuffed 200 wedding favor bags and wrote all your guests’ name cards out by hand. After all that work, you deserve a day of pampering–and RV has a full service spa that’s basically a shrine dedicated to all things relaxation. Grab your guy and indulge in a fireside couples massage or enjoy some alone time with a facial or wrap. We especially recommend the Vitality Ritual. This one-of-a-kind experience is tailored to your personality. It begins with a massage, proceeds to a full body wrap, and then concludes with a soak in a private outdoor tub filled with flowers, minerals, and aromatics. You’ll leave so loose and relaxed, you’ll feel like you’re floating!

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The yoga 

You’ll be saying “Serenity now” after classes at RV’s state-of-the-art yoga pavilion built right over a pool. The soothing sight and sounds of water lapping at the floating yoga platform and right up to the edges of the studio will whisk you away to a place of zen. It’s the sort of environment that makes even the most newbie of yogis (ahem, that would be us) feel like experts. We were going from chaturanga to cobra in no time! You can sign up for a private class or get mingling with a group session. Every class finishes off with a green wellness drink, leaving you restored and refreshed (and, of course, saying “ommmmm”).

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The dining 

While we were visiting RV, we toured Chino Farm, a local farm where the chefs from RV source fresh veggies and fruits to use in their menus. It was a fascinating experience to see the produce purchased that morning on our plates that night (talk about farm to table!). Every meal at RV was a delight for the eyes and the tongue–and stomach. We dined at The Pony Room (pictured above) and Veladora Restaurant, where the aesthetic environments enhanced every bite. From breakfast to dinner, these places consistently left us cleaning our plates and satiated all cravings, whether sophisticated (re: foie gras) or a little more homey (waffles!).

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The Wine Cave

One of our highlights was touring and then dining in the Wine Cave. This brick and glass space houses over 240 bottles of vino and epitomizes the best things in life: good food to eat, good friends to enjoy, and good wine to drink. You can reserve this venue for an intimate candlelight dinner or even book it for your rehearsal dinner or post-wedding thank you dinner with your nearest and dearest. When we dined here, it was set for a formal affair, complete with fragrant floral centerpieces and flickering votive candles. As you may guess, we never wanted to leave! If you’re looking for a romantic environment to be wined and dined, this place is it. Cheers and salut!

And the list could go on and on. From bikes to borrow to poolside bars, RV is the perfect backdrop for that first trip as husband and wife! Only problem? You won’t want to leave!

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Photos