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Boasting old-world ambience and a foodie-magnet restaurant, San Diego’s Fairmont Grand Del Mar manages to have it both ways—both cutting-edge and timeless.

The hotel first opened in 2007, tucked in an upscale residential community just outside Del Mar, the north San Diego County beach town that’s home to the Del Mar racetrack with easy access to La Jolla, Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve, and even LEGOLAND California. The palatial, rosy-pink hotel was designed in homage to Addison Mizner, the California-born architect primarily known for his early 20th century work in Florida—including Mediterranean Revival hotels and homes in Palm Beach and Boca Raton.

Certainly, the Grand Del Mar lives up to its standard of old-fashioned luxury. The long driveway into the 400-acre resort is flanked by the gently rolling terrain of the Tom Fazio-designed golf course. Walk into the sumptuous lobby and you can enjoy afternoon tea service on the elegant couches or in the dark-wood-lined library. Wander a little farther and you’ll happen upon the Spa, with its classical aesthetics and decadent menu—like the Decompression Treatment, which includes an organic rosemary scrub, a massage, and a hydrating body wrap of goat butter while you bob around on a floatation bed.

Upstairs, the 249 rooms and suites have European-style soaking tubs, pillow-top beds with Pratesi linens, and balconies that overlook the resort gardens, the golf course, or the neighboring Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

Lounge by one of the four pools (including a children’s pool with wading area), take a trail ride from the resort’s equestrian center (for ages 7 and up), or play a round of golf—but life here can easily revolve around mealtimes. Beyond the lobby’s tea service and the espressos in the Cent’Anni Café, go to the hotel’s Amaya for Italian-accented California cuisine, or head to the Clubhouse Grill for a decadent burger or the duck confit grilled cheese.

The culinary centerpiece of the hotel, however, is the two-Michelin-starred Addison. Also notable for being Southern California’s only Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star restaurant, Addison is helmed by Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef William Bradley, who blends artisanal cooking with California gastronomy—delectable art on a plate. The nine-course prix fixe tasting menu might feature such refined dishes as Regiis Ova Reserve caviar with koshihikari rice, smoked sabayon, and sesame or Shellfish Chawanmushi, prepared with broccoli, bok choi and daikon—all finished off with a varied array of sample-sized desserts. The wine cellar, placed deliberately in the center of the big-windowed restaurant, boasts a selection of wine roughly 3,500 strong.

 

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