Rancho Bernardo Inn is one of those resorts that changes on you the more you explore the property — a boutique chameleon, if you will.

Located in inland San Diego, 30 minutes from downtown, Rancho Bernardo Inn is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and it is a JC Resorts sister-property of Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach. The Inn is also a Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards Top 20 Resorts in Southern California.

Rancho Bernardo Inn is far from a cozy, quaint, country Inn. It’s a sprawling 265-acre resort with 287 guestrooms, three swimming pools, 21 fountains, an award-winning full-service spa, 18-hole California championship golf course, multiple restaurants and 40,000 square-feet of meeting space that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests. The entire resort is very comfortable, warm, inviting and enchanting with the gorgeous, quiet grounds.

The rooms are nestled in a blend of mature trees and the beds are delightful. For dining, the Veranda Fireside Lounge & Restaurant has a relaxed, yet energized ambiance, and the food is delicious. In quintessential Rancho Bernardo Inn style, a recommended cocktail is the Aromatherapy Cosmopolitan—tranquil and tasty. The Shrimp Scampi is popular and generous in size. Soon, Avant Restaurant will open at the resort in 2013—promising a most upscale experience.

To completely decompress, you must visit the spa. The space used to be tennis courts in in the 80’s, when tennis skirts were trendy. It’s now the luxurious, indulgent Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn with state-of-the-art treatment rooms, temperature-controlled outdoor treatment casitas, relaxing water features and sunning lounges. It’s heaven, really. The spa offers Made Fresh Treatment (MFD) facials with recipes using current seasonal ingredients such as chai and pumpkin with a pinch of cinnamon to get the blood pumping. The organic facials are soothing to the senses and the MFD facials get glowing results.

Who stays at the Inn? Guests range from couples, families (during summer and holidays mostly) and business travelers. So you’ll see a mix of leisure/loud golf pants, lanyard-wearing conference attendees and young children running about in swimwear when school’s not in session.

Rancho Bernardo Inn is definitely one of those places guests return to for its unpretentious ways and inviting atmosphere.

Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort & Spa

17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive
San Diego, CA 92128

Debbie Lavdas is a Southern California writer who covers travel for CBS Los Angeles, lifestyle for both Laguna Beach Magazine and bask Magazine, as well as various feature stories for OC Family Magazine and other publications. Keep up with her at @DebLavdas on Twitter or DebbieintheOC.com.