High above the bluffs overlooking the Pacific about 30 miles south of Los Angeles, I discovered Terranea Resort. What a serene setting for meetings and incentives. Companies looking for a five-star experience without the luxury flag will appreciate the attentive service, warm atmosphere, and low-key elegance.

For top performers or high-level execs, the 582-room resort has three different options aside from the main resort building, including villas, casitas, and bungalows—all luxurious.

Rancho Palos Verdes is a spectacular but lesser-known oceanside community than the typical group destinations of Santa Monica or Marina del Ray. That contributes to its charm for attendees who are familiar with Southern California. In fact, the site was previously home to Marineland, Southern California’s first major theme park. Treatments at the 50,000-square-foot spa are inspired by the oceanfront setting, and, for golfers, the oceanfront course is truly unique: a collection of nine championship-caliber par-3 holes. Incentive groups make the most of the outdoor function spaces for evening banquets and entertainment, and many of the meeting rooms open right out to terraces overlooking the ocean. Incentive clients, including the largest telecommunications companies, typically book in the spring and fall, since summer is bustling with vacationers.

Many groups take day trips off site to nearby Catalina Island or tours of L.A.’s Beverly Hills and Hollywood. DMC Bixel and Company has inside access to everything L.A., including exclusive venues and sites that most tourists never see. Owner Dabney Bixel is known industrywide for her attentiveness to detail, right down to hand-delivering Sprinkles cupcakes to our group before the tour took off. Delicious!

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