SHOP MY LOOK
A pandemic is a great excuse for indulging in a “staycation.” Travel enthusiasts like my husband and I are always itching to travel, even to places near us. Since we cannot travel outside the country due to COVID-19, it is the perfect time to indulge in luxurious gems right in our backyard.
We are so fortunate that we have the opportunity to discover so many places near to us in Southern California. First, we went to Ojai, and this time around we stayed at San Diego’s luxury resort, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, which is just one hour and 10 minutes from home.
We are more confident to travel now than we were a few months back. Hotels everywhere have adopted excellent standards in securing guests’ safety and well-being during the pandemic.
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is Luxury Personified
As we approached the property, it felt like we were in Europe. The architecture is lavish and elegant; the décor is French-Italian. The minute we entered the lobby, it was like stepping into a hotel in Italy or France. We were greeted with gigantic arched windows spilling light onto pristine marble flooring. Elegant furnishings invited you to sit for a little while to take it all in, and black marbled columns lead you to the elegant check-in area.
The staff could not have been more welcoming, and the check-in process was pleasant and efficient. We felt safe; all staff and guests were wearing face coverings, with some temperature monitors installed in key areas, with plenty of hand sanitizers around.
The resort has 249 elegantly-appointed guestrooms and suites. With expansive balconies and terraces, the rooms offer spectacular views of the resort gardens, the golf course, or the nearby Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
Outside, the façade of the property continues to impress. The Mediterranean-style resort features Italian-influenced architecture in a stunning burnt orange, with surroundings reminiscent of the lush-green Tuscan countryside.
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is one of only 14 triple Five-Star properties in the world and TripAdvisor’s number 1 Luxury Resort in California.
Bring Your Furbaby
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is also pet friendly and the service was amazing. We were so thrilled to be able to take our puppy Maple along with us. We were amazed at how the staff treated Maple as their own – and she even got a welcome letter and a bandana – a gift from the resort with an initial “M” embroidered on it. We thought that was the sweetest touch.
Maple was very comfortable throughout our stay. There are several walkways and grass areas for her to play and walk – such a treat for fur parents to know they are being well taken care of.
The European ambience extends into each and every guestroom and suite, with a wonderful mix of Italian, French and Spanish touches. Since we had Maple, we stayed at the King Terrace Room, situated on the lower level with a small patio and easy access to the infinity fountain, the Amaya Restaurant, gazebos and grassy areas. It was the perfect room for a couple traveling with their furbaby.
Our room was spacious, comfortably quiet, and beautifully decorated with Old World wood furnishings. Among the room amenities included is a work desk, small wet bar, an exquisite marble bathroom with deep European-style soaking tub, separate shower and “his and her” dual sinks. Italian-woven bath towels, plush bathrobes, slippers and luxury bath amenities complete the package. There was also a vanity, which was my favorite space in the room!
Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar
We arrived on a Saturday and were able to attend The Grand Afternoon Tea, located at the terrace lounge and overlooking the gorgeous gardens, coastal canyon, and golf course. Afternoon Tea is held at the resort on Saturdays only, for $65 per adult and $35 per kids 4-12.
The pastry selection was presented in such a pretty way and very delicious. We opted for adding champagne to make it even more enjoyable.
Resort Amenities Will Impress
The resort has four heated pools: the main resort pool with white sand seating areas and glowing fire pits, a children’s pool with wading area, a relaxation pool for adults only located next to the spa, and a family pool. The latter was our favorite, which has a view of the golf course, with beautifully-lined Palm and Cyprus trees nearby. The Tuscan atmosphere combined with the Californian sun made it so special – the best of both worlds.
AMAZING DINNER AT AMAYA
One of our highlights was dining at the Amaya Restaurant. We dined during our first and last night and it was a wonderful dining experience. Amaya serves contemporary Californian cuisine, inspired by locally-sourced ingredients. The menu features the very best in the region’s fresh and seasonal farm-to-market and sea-to-table ingredients.
Dining with my husband and Maple, it was a romantic meal in a beautiful, al fresco setting. The pet-friendly service extends into the restaurant, and the staff will immediately bring water for your pet as soon as you’re seated. The servers were knowledgeable and the service was impeccable.
The ingredients were fresh and well presented, with a great selection of wines. We ordered the Sea Bass and it was out of this world. Even the Jadori chicken was cooked to perfection. I can say with confidence that the Amaya exceeded our expectations on taste, quality of ingredients, and service.
Other restaurants at the resort include:
Addison. A Michelin star dining experience, where you can savor inventive and surprising French cuisine with refined simplicity.
The Clubhouse Grill. For a casual meal with lovely fairway views, breakfast or lunch, come here for delicious classic grill fare.
The Terrace Lounge. Del Mar’s newest addition. Come here for dinner, and indulge in a delicious meal next to an outdoor fireplace and gorgeous twilight views. Afternoon Tea is served here on Saturdays with reservations.
Although we didn’t partake in the spa or golf course, the 18-hole golf course by designer Tom Fazio is a masterpiece of lush fairways among rolling hills along stunning Los Peńasquitos Canyon. Similarly, the spa is the perfect way to unwind, and you can upgrade your room package with a rejuvenating 60-minute spa experience.
The Fairmont surpassed all our expectations and satisfied our cravings for the European travels that we’ve been missing since the pandemic hit us. It’s one of the best resorts we have ever stayed in California. We had an amazing time.
The property is elegant, peaceful, and captivating, the architecture, décor, amenities are outstanding. And best of all, the service was impeccable – the staff went above and beyond to make our stay enjoyable and comfortable. The food at the restaurants is excellent. Once you’re at the Fairmont, there’s no reason to go for dinner outside the property.
If you are looking for a European style vacation without flying out of the U.S., Fairmont is the perfect place to be.