Origins of the Ranch, XLII - Rancho La Puerta

Origins of the Ranch, XLII

September 1, 2016 by Rancho La Puerta

A special message from Deborah to guests and friends of Rancho La Puerta—new Villas Cielo continue the tradition of Siempre Mejor

By Deborah Szekely

Our best woodworkers, tile layers, masons, and a host of other craftsmen have been working mightily on three new very-private villas accommodations that are about to debut at The Ranch. Now open, I believe they will live up to their name: Villas Cielo (“heavenly country houses”)—the finest accommodations we have ever offered.

I hope you will consider staying in one of them very soon for an equally heavenly experience.

As background, I’d like to share a little history of how and why these special accommodations—a longtime dream of mine—were created:

First of all, I must say that dreams do come true! For many years I tried to lure some of my Golden Door guests to

The Ranch, and many came. But others told me that their greatest yearning was for what only the ultra-exclusive, ultra-private Golden Door could give them: a total escape from the “day to day” of regular life, the luxury of a super-attendant staff, and complete freedom from feeling hemmed in or being remotely concerned about deadlines and decisions.

I promised them that one day this would be an option at The Ranch. I promised that one day we could say, “This is just what you’ve been looking for.”

Like you, what I love most about The Ranch is the camaraderie—the “hi’s” and the hugs each and every week. But some people have that experience all day long in their lives back home, and they made it clear to me that they really wanted to step away into a more sanctuary-like environment.

They dream of their own “desert island,” yet one where they can also return to the “mainland” whenever the mood strikes—perhaps for a particular class or dinner, or evening entertainment…or more.

Over the years a number of Ranch guests have come here for more than our usual week or two. Many have deadlines: a book to write, a play to finish, a score to compose, or even a huge master plan for a new university to draw up. I remember well when famed architect William Perreira (perhaps best known for the Transamerica Building in San Francisco) stayed at The Ranch in the early ’60s specifically so he could draw up his very progressive plans for Southern California’s University of California, Irvine, and the community of Irvine itself. Each and every day a long, purring sedan would arrive at our gate to pick up his latest drawings and deliver them back to Orange County.

Another regular was Aldous Huxley, who wrote his novel “Island” in a casita here. (The two children that appear in the early chapters were modeled after my brother’s and my childhood in Tahiti.) At the same time, his gregarious wife Laura was out and about researching her landmark bestseller, “You Are Not The Target: Recipes for Living and Loving” by interviewing guests and leading “encounter-session” type workshops—including a few wild feathers-flying sessions where everyone punched pillows!

Have I convinced you of the need for a few true “retreat” accommodations here? I hope so.

Villas Cielo are private sanctuaries designed with ultimate wellness and relaxation in mind—retreats in which to experience spacious privacy and top-notch service while still enjoying as much of the traditional Ranch experience of fitness, culinary, and spa therapies throughout your stay.

A stay in these casitas includes private fitness sessions, personalized concierge services, and an in-room spa treatment. The rooms have customizable interiors (choose from a business center or home gym), original art, and private outdoor gardens/patios, dipping pools and hammocks.

Yes, dreams do come true. Today, my daughter—Ranch president Sarah Livia Brightwood—has created the sanctuary I dreamed of on a small hilltop on the eastern edge of Rancho La Puerta’s garden tapestry. I hope you will find out first-hand why I think this dream is heavenly. Welcome, Villas Cielo!