San Diego resort awarded top spot in this year’s U.S. News luxury rankings

Outdoor space at Rancho Valencia Spa
Courtesy of Rancho Valencia Spa
(Chris Gramly)

The Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa was named the No. 1 resort and also the No. 1 hotel in California in the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report.


The Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa was named the No. 1 resort in California and one of the top three in the nation in the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

The Rancho Valencia also was named the best hotel in California and was ranked the fourth-best hotel on the national list.

This year, the top three resorts in California are all based locally. Among the top resorts in California was the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in Carmel Valley (No. 2), the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad (No. 3) and The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla (No. 9).

On the best hotels list for California, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar ranked No. 4 (and No. 21 nationally), the Park Hyatt took fifth (and No. 23 nationally) and The Lodge at Torrey Pines came in at No. 17.

The top spots in the U.S. went to The Peninsula Chicago (No. 1 hotel), Montage Kapalua Bay in Hawaii (No. 1 resort, No. 2 hotel) and Acqualina Resort & Residences on the Beach in Florida (No. 2 resort, No. 3 hotel).

Nationally, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa ranked third on the resort list. The Rancho Santa Fe resort moved up from its previous year ranking of No. 2 on the California resorts list.

“We are truly honored to have been named the best resort in California for the fourth year in a row,” said Laura McIver, general manager at Rancho Valencia. “Our dedicated team has continued to expand and nurture the luxury experience we offer, all while keeping the wellbeing of our guests and staff a top priority. Receiving this prestigious ranking shines a light on our passion and commitment to providing warm, inviting and exceptional hospitality.”

U.S. News & World Report earlier this month rolled out its lists of Best Hotels and Best Resorts, which ranks properties that consistently receive a 4-, 4.5- or 5-star “hotel class” rating. U.S. News considers the opinions of published travel experts and the overall customer satisfaction expressed online in its analysis.

The best hotels are scored by U.S. News using a combination of awards and recognition, hotel class rating and guest rating. The best resorts are evaluated using the hotel’s overall score as determined by its class, its guest rating, and its awards and recognition points.

“The travel industry has faced many disruptions over the past two years, highlighting the need to support and recognize hotels that continue to maintain excellent standards,” said Zach Watson, senior travel editor at U.S. News. “The 2022 Best Hotels rankings offer a dependable guide for travelers to use when organizing their next trip, whether that’s in a few weeks or later in the year.”

While travel isn’t where it used to be pre-COVID, the tourism industry is slowly but surely rebounding. In San Diego County, hotel occupancy averaged 61.4 percent last year — compared with 76.6 percent in 2019 prior to COVID-19 lockdowns, according to the San Diego Tourism Authority.