Fairmont Hotel and Resorts has a sparkly new jewel in its crown. The luxury hotel operator, known for iconic landmark properties such as Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Savoy in London and Four-Star The Plaza in New York, took over management of one of San Diego’s top resorts, The Grand Del Mar, and rebranded it Fairmont Grand Del Mar on May 4. So, what’s in store for this property now that it has a shiny new name? Kevin Frid, FRHI president of the Americas, recently visited the sprawling, sun-drenched hotel to explain just that. Here’s what we learned.
Other than its fresh moniker and virtual changing of the guards, the resort we know and love will largely remain the same. During Frid’s speech, which he presented at Manchester Salon and Terrace, the opulent event space overlooking the sumptuous grounds and Los Peñasquitos Canyon, he made it clear that he holds the property in very high regards. “This hotel is, without question, spectacular, adding much prestige and excitement to our portfolio,” he said. “We know the resort will continue to be revered as one of the country’s preeminent properties.”
Although FRHI is known for expert refurbishments of newly procured properties — the multi-million-dollar overhaul of Four-Star The Claremont in Berkeley immediately comes to mind — the pristine state of Grand Del Mar made it a turnkey acquisition. Other than a splash of paint and the replacement of tired furnishings and carpets, Frid has no plans for renovating the Spanish- and French-influenced resort. The original design concept, which reflects the Mediterranean style of famed American resort architect Addison Mizner, will simply be maintained and refreshed as needed.
When it comes to Fairmont’s handling of the resort’s beloved dining venue Addison, Frid was quick to make assurances that highly acclaimed chef William Bradley will remain at the helm. Bradley is known for his expert delivery of creative, contemporary French cuisine masterfully crafted with seasonal and often locally sourced ingredients. Reflecting Bradley’s classic style, the prix fixe menu will continue to be composed of multiple courses meant to delight the palate with a culinary journey of complex flavors. Optional wine pairings from Addison’s impressive cellar further enhance the experience.
As for the resort’s blissful 21,000-square-foot spa, which remains one of San Diego’s most decorated sanctuaries, it is yet to be seen if it will take on Fairmont’s signature Willow Stream Spa branding. For now, familiar rituals such as Stony Silence and Renaissance can still be found on the comprehensive list of therapies and treatments. As a bonus, guests who enroll in Fairmont’s complimentary President’s Club program may earn points towards discounted spa services.
Another perk of the program is a unique partnership with Reebok that allows guests to leave their workout gear at home and simply have athletic footwear and clothing delivered to their rooms and be used during their stay. Considering the resort’s state-of-the-art fitness center, four swimming pools, two outdoor tennis courts, 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed golf course and nearby beaches and hiking trails, opportunities to enjoy this extra amenity abound.
Immaculate grounds, precise hospitality, world-class accommodations and a sublime setting combine to make Fairmont Grand Del Mar one of San Diego’s most notable attractions. Only time will tell what the future fully holds for this coveted, highly esteemed resort, but based on what we’ve seen and heard so far, Fairmont Grand Del Mar is still very much in great hands.