Rancho Bernardo Inn celebrating 50 years
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
The Rancho Bernardo Inn is celebrating its golden anniversary with a series of promotions this summer.
The RB Inn is one of the community’s oldest businesses in continuous operation since opening in 1963. The 270-acre property at 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive includes an 18-hole golf course plus resort that attracts locals and people from around the world, said General Manager John Gates.
Guests come from many countries, with large contingents coming from England, Japan and other parts of Asia, Gates said. Locals often frequent the resort, attracted to its restaurants, spa and public golf course.
“Of the guests at our spa and restaurant, up to 65 to 70 percent are locals in the area,” Gates said. “We’re very proud of that number.”
When it opened, RB Inn had 26 guest rooms attached to the lobby, one restaurant, a swimming pool and the golf course. Over the years it has grown to include 287 guest rooms and suites, nine buildings, three swimming pools, 12 fountains, seven Jacuzzis and four food areas — restaurants Avant and Veranda, The Bar (a sports bar) and Café Granada where a quick breakfast and lunch is available. It has 540 employees.
When purchased in 1970 by JC Resorts, Gates said there was around 150 guest rooms. More rooms were added in the 1980s and earlier accommodations were renovated. A $28 million major renovation was completed in 2007 that included building the spa and Aragon Ballroom. Guest rooms were also renovated.
Last year the golf course was renovated, the venue for several LPGA tournaments and named among the top 10 golf resorts in California by Golf Digest, he said. By the end of this year the family pool will be remodeled and all guest room bathrooms will be freshened up as well.
“The owners consider treating the RB Inn like their house,” Gates said. “We are required to reinvest its revenues back into the property.”
The most recent endeavor was turning the El Bizcocho restaurant into Avant, which Gates called the resort’s “new baby.”
He said when the resort featuring mission style architecture opened in 1963 it was the only one like it in the county with the exception of the Hotel del Coronado. “It was to be a destination retreat in the suburbs,” Gates said, adding the staff continues to strive for that by offering so many amenities that guests do not have to leave the property.
When it opened the average cost for a guest room was $8.16 per night. Now, it averages $200 per night, he said. Through Labor Day one of the anniversary promotions includes one night at the 1963 rate when two nights at the present-day rate are booked.
Other promotions include:
• Throwback Thursday — each Thursday those eating at Veranda can receive their four-course dinner served on a vintage TV tray and listen to live ‘60s era music from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost is $28 for adults and $9 for children.
• Classic cocktails at The Bar — purchase a ‘60s inspired cocktail including The Bees Knees, a classic Prohibition cocktail made with gin, honey and lemon juice.
• Golf is golden — Gold-colored golf balls are randomly hidden in driving range ball buckets. Those who find one receive a free round of golf and those 50 years and older can try to out-drive the inn’s Golf Pro to win a $50 gift card to Avant.
• Share your story — Resort Club members can share their favorite RB Inn memories for a chance to win a two-night stay at any JC Resorts property.
• 50th anniversary classic cake-making package — Participate in a pastry-making class with the inn’s executive pastry chef and receive a 50th anniversary apron.
• Kids Rule! Golden Ticket — Children can redeem the golden ticket in the bottom of their welcome goodie bucket for candy treats popular in the ‘60s.
• Golden pampering — Golden pedicures are offered at The Spa.
For information on the promotions, go to www.ranchobernardoinn.com or call 800-770-7329.
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