As the iconic Point Vicente Lighthouse appears on the horizon and you round the bend at Pelican Cove Park, paradise comes into full view. One journey is nearly over, but roll down your car window and another journey begins …
Before the ocean finds its way to your ears, birdsong from the sparrows, wrens and warblers inhabiting the dozens of pines and coral trees that line Terranea Way is the soundtrack to your approach. Safely parked in the roundabout, the patter of the grand fountain applauds your arrival. Once inside the vestibule, familiar melodies make their way into your subconscious and mix with the excited squeals of young children catching their first glimpse of the pool waterslide. The time has come to relax and unwind.
Specially curated playlists are in rotation throughout Terranea, each song handpicked to match its respective location. The Lobby Bar complements your first celebratory glass of Champagne with pop music for the refined palate. From the sun-soaked vibes of the main pool to the patio dining at bashi and catalina kitchen, the outdoor selection is a mix of island rhythms, West Coast beach balladry and feel-good R&B—with a twist of comfort rock ‘n’ roll thrown in for good measure. Down the path at Nelson’s, the mood intensifies and the volume is kicked up a few notches to adjust for the lively family atmosphere. A few steps away at the newly opened solviva, more relaxing, ambient choices provide a soft reentry for guests who’ve just enjoyed a treatment at The Spa.
“We make sure the music and the volume enhance the experience and it’s not intrusive,” says Marcos Figueroa, Terranea’s director of outlets and entertainment. “I always invest time in reading the clientele and making sure the playlist matches the concept and guest preferences.”
Outside the set boundaries of the playlists, an inclusively exclusive live music experience can be found at all levels of the resort. Guests who book their stay over the 4th of July holiday may enjoy a very special afternoon of Farm-to-Terranea cuisine, craft beer and soaring sounds with Music on the Meadows—an all-day concert set up on the Palos Verdes Meadows with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Curated with the help of Redondo Beach’s Saint Rocke, the event has hosted such musicians as Wilson Phillips, Kate Voegele, Al Jardine, Colin Hay of Men at Work and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and draws more than 800 people.
As the sun begins to set, guests make their way to the expansive lobby terrace overlooking the lush grounds. Amidst the clinking glasses and quiet conversation, a mysterious sound begins to unfurl itself: the peaceful yet powerful hum of Terranea’s quartz singing bowl, fashioned from the same crystal that can be found in the caves beneath the bluffs.
Inspired by ancient Eastern traditions, the sunset ritual is a daily practice meant to resonate with the body’s chakras and bring the spirit back into alignment and harmony. The wand slowly turns around the edge of the crystal bowl as the vibrations exude from its mouth. The ritual is performed seven times—once for each chakra—before the service has concluded.
As the afterglow of the sunset filters through the windows and paints the lobby walls with a warm hue, people begin to congregate at the tables by the hearth—angling their chairs to get a better view of the musicians who begin setting up and tuning their gear. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. until around 10, performers like Aragorn & Olivia, Justin Hopkins, Lisa Ritchie and John Koan weave magical twilight textures over the crowd—the perfect pairing for a signature old-fashioned.
Jazz pianist Richard Sherman has been performing at Terranea since the resort opened 10 years ago, but his history in the South Bay dates back 40 years and includes nearly 60 benefit concerts. He is a musical fixture in the area, having played everywhere from the Velvet Turtle and the Crowne Plaza Hotel to El Camino College. When he tickles the ivories in the Terranea Lobby Bar, it’s standing room only for the hotel guests and local residents.
“One woman, she used to own a jazz club in Japan, has come to see us every week for 20 years,” Richard beams.
Meanwhile, a few yards down the pathways that wind through the property’s many bungalows and casitas, a different type of live musical energy is brewing. Follow the sound of a bell, the charming whale sighting alert, to lead you there. While the rolling waves of the Pacific provide the soundtrack to outdoor dining at Nelson’s during the cooler months, Nelson’s summer Sound Series entertains friends and families from Memorial Day Weekend through the last weekend in September. The live music happening was designed, in the words of Marcos, to be an event where “three generations can be together and enjoy an amazing sunset, cold drinks and great music.” Since its inception in 2013, the Sound Series has welcomed a host of local singer/songwriters and bands that embody the spirit of the South Bay—but none longer tenured than Kevin Sousa, whose uniquely interpreted covers and beachy rock originals can be heard beneath the warm orange glow of the filament lights crisscrossed above the cactus and bramble of the Nelson’s patio. Kevin and his bandmates forego the traditional preplanned set list for a play-as-you-go flow, tailoring each show based on their connection with the audience on any given evening. The audience hears electric melodies, vibrant low end and hot, peppered rhythms—the foundation for passionately sung songs about lives lived in the surrounding South Bay communities. But what do the players hear?
“The hum of the ocean breaking below on the bluffs, people’s laughter, and conversations filled with joy and gratitude … connective sounds of gathering, celebrating summer out under the stars,” says Kevin. “I sometimes catch myself in the wonder and relation of it all and feel totally blessed. The evenings are special on so many levels. I hope you are able to join us.”
When the amps have been turned off and it’s time to turn in, a short stroll to your suite by way of the walking path reveals Terranea’s most abundant auditory resource—and arguably its most precious: silence. No distant street noise, no gas-powered golf carts ferrying workers from one end of the property to another. Just the soft, slight crash of the waves below.