Boasting a tripartite sweep of Forbes Travel Guide’s Five-Star awards for its hotel, spa and restaurant, The Grand Del Mar is San Diego’s most distinguished place to stay. The hotel takes luxury and service seriously, and once you set foot in this opulent oasis, you won’t want to leave. Here are five things to know when planning your grand getaway:
1. The setting. Although the name suggests a Del Mar locale, the resort is actually five miles inland from the classic beach town. And while it has a San Diego address, it’s about 20 miles from the city’s downtown. Its tucked-away location is cradled between the striking natural beauty of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve and the sculpted emerald-green fairways of the resort’s Tom-Fazio-designed golf course. Sprawling and serene, the property possesses the ambiance of an Old World Tuscan estate set under the ubiquitous SoCal sun.
For those who must have a little surf with their turf, The Grand Del Mar offers complimentary beach butler service as well as guided hikes along La Jolla’s Cliffside Trail and other coastal paths.
2. The scene. While The Grand Del Mar has a certain magnetism that attracts glamorous couples seeking romance, its warm and welcoming atmosphere makes it a kid-friendly destination, too. The resort’s family pool features rentable cabanas with complimentary fruit and water. Though, each of the four pools offers amenities every 30 minutes, everything from chilled grapes and pineapple to frozen smoothies and lemonades. The resort’s Explorer’s Club for Kids is another option for families. The club’s lineup of engaging activities — crafts, magic shows, animal visits, video games and more — keeps youngsters busy while mom and dad enjoy some free time being pampered at Five-Star The Spa at The Grand Del Mar, lounging by the adults-only pool and dining at the resort’s excellent Five-Star signature restaurant, Addison.
3. The digs. The hotel’s Mediterranean-inspired design style is evident both inside and out. Statuaries and elaborate fountains grace the resort’s grounds while interiors feature intricate marble floors, Venetian-plaster walls and hand-painted frescoes in shades of indigo, amber and emerald. Each detail is attended to with expert artistry and the resort’s 249 guest rooms, suites and villas reflect these exquisite facets. Every lavishly appointed guest room includes custom furnishings, luxurious Pratesi bed linens and a marble bathroom with a deep European-style soaking tub. Commanding views of rolling fairways and Los Peñasquitos Canyon complete the sumptuous scene.
4. The dining. The Grand Del Mar boasts an abundance of wining and dining venues as well as in-room, poolside, spa and picnic services. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner on Amaya’s shaded terrace or in the family-friendly restaurant’s relaxed but elegant dining room. For tapas and cocktails mixed with sports and live music, visit Club M Restaurant by day and club by night, this haute spot is a great place to gather with friends. For romantic dining, let Addison’s Five-Star chef, William Bradley, take you on a culinary journey through contemporary French cuisine. Chef Bradley’s summer tasting menus feature dishes such as Kumamoto oysters with fennel gelée, seaweed and champagne and wines from across the globe — Australia, South Africa, Spain, Italy and more — from the resort’s 37,000-bottle cellar.
5. The timing. While the reliably sunny weather makes San Diego an ideal destination year round, The Grand Del Mar treats the four seasons as unique, tailoring its offerings to bring out the best of each. The reason to visit right now is that you can groove to live music at the hotel’s annual summer concert series. Held over an eight-week period from mid-July to early September, the 2013 lineup features soulful folk group Delta Rae (you may have heard its song “Bottom of the River” on the season-six True Blood trailer) and the Grammy Award-winning R&B band All-4-One. Other summertime activities include Cinema Sotta Le Stelle (alfresco Italian movie nights) and starlit evenings roasting s’mores over a toasty fire pit.
Photos courtesy of The Grand Del Mar