This San Diego luxury hotel makes a big leap in U.S. ranking of top resorts

Rancho Valencia resort once again nabs top ranking in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards.
(Courtesy of Rancho Valencia)

The property was the only hotel in San Diego County to make it onto the list of 15 best resorts in the nation.


Rancho Valencia, a luxury resort in Rancho Santa Fe that each year racks up hospitality accolades, has been named by Travel + Leisure as the No. 4 resort in the country, up from its 11th spot in 2020.

The 45-acre property, which also ranked 35th among the top resorts in the world, was the only hotel in San Diego County to make it onto the list of 15 best resorts in the U.S.

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey, said Travel + Leisure, was open for voting by readers Jan. 11 through May 10 of this year, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Each year, readers are invited to share their opinions on a variety of hospitality categories, including hotels, cruise ships, spas, and airlines.

For hotels, survey respondents could offer ratings of excellent, above average, average, below average or poor on a number of characteristics, including rooms and facilities, location, service, food and value.

“While the past year and a half has been incredibly challenging for our industry, it has also made us even more innovative in how we care for our guests, taking a fresh approach to initiatives and experiences throughout the resort,” said General Manager Laura McIver. “I am so proud and inspired by our team here at Rancho Valencia for this tremendous ranking and how we were able to adapt and make the resort even better than before.”

Ranked No. 2 among California resorts for the last three years, Rancho Valencia was not among the best resorts in the world last year but held the 72nd spot in 2019. Within the category of best California resorts, the only other San Diego County property to make it into the top 15 resorts for 2021 was the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Carlsbad, which holds the No. 12 spot.

Also receiving a major accolade was Rancho La Puerta, a well-known Tecate spa for the last 80 years that was recognized as the No. 1 international destination spa. It was also the top spa in 2020.