By Katrice L. Mines
If you were bound to just one word to illustrate Fairmont Grand Del Mar, no doubt, the charge would seem impossible. You would most certainly need a word that could not be topped when one thought of the best of … well, everything.
Set within Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, the luxe 249-room resort hotel aspires to conjure the elegance and comfort of an old-world Mediterranean estate within its enviable Southern California locale. Designed in the extraordinary style of visionary architect Addison Mizner, who drew his inspiration from Spain’s palaces, France’s sun-washed coastal retreats and Florence’s decorative arts — it delivers.
From first impression, the overture of lush fairways, pillared palms, and coastal canyon Pacific breeze, you understand why, for many, a love affair begins at first sight. The triple Five-Star Grand Del Mar is rated No. 1 among San Diego’s 273 hotels believably because every traveler can find their place within its confines. There’s simply so much more to the Tuscan-esque getaway. The well-traveled from young singles to retirees and families come to lounge poolside (family and adult-only options available). It’s not uncommon to see pro golfers pass on carts headed to the private 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course where resort guests also have at their disposal one-on-one lessons with PGA-certified instructors.
The extended hallways of Grand guestrooms, highlight the sense of space as even a standard guest room (starting at $495 per night) feels like you’ve been upgraded. Marble bathrooms, plush linens and flat-screen LCD TVs in each elegant haven offer all the comforts of home and more. Even greater opulence awaits in its plush suites — each more than 1,000 square feet of relaxed elegance. All 31 suites feature separate bedrooms and inviting parlors.
Sustenance? Indeed. Six venues — among them Addison, Amaya, the Clubhouse Grill and Club M — offer a collection of dining options. With an extensive wine program, seasonal menus, Afternoon Tea, cooking classes with the executive culinary team, and events for oenophiles, epicureans and connoisseurs alike, there’s no shortage of enticing options. Do make it a point to indulge in the brilliance that is Addison. Southern California’s only Five-Star/Five-Diamond restaurant features the contemporary French cuisine of acclaimed Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef William Bradley. For me, nine courses from the summer menu which included my first foray with Mussels — curried with kombu, cauliflower and broccoli, and a mocktail with each course. Outstanding.
The bottom line of it all, however, is that everything tangible about your stay at Grand Del Mar seems a wonderfully curated accessory to superior service. True story: My evening turn-down service included the tidying up of my room, punctuated with organizing my strewn makeup and bringing in a drying rack for my bathing suit.
There just isn’t anything ordinary about Fairmont Grand Del Mar.
If, however, you need more, there is more to be had.
The Spa at The Grand Del Mar is one of only 27 Five-Star spas in the country and features a comprehensive menu of treatments, such as cleansing facials and therapeutic massages, as well as a custom organic product line. But never mind the spa experiences you’ve had prior to its Renaissance treatment. This replenishing, signature 90-minute body ritual begins with a warm body wrap of mineral-rich mud and aromatic oils while resting in a relaxing free-floating bed. An invigorating rosemary-infused Swiss shower follows, along with a tension-relieving touch therapy applied with rhythmic rocking motions, bringing gentle movement into the joints and encouraging flexibility.
The Grand Del Mar resort’s backyard is the spectacular natural scenery of the stunning 4,100-acre Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, a naturalist’s haven and an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. Every Saturday morning, resort guests are invited to join in a complimentary hike through the Preserve to discover streaming creeks and breathtaking landscapes.
One may not be able to wrap up the breadth of the Southern California retreat with brevity, but there is one word that comes to mind when nuances of my stay arise; Rich. AT
Berry Mojito Mocktail
6 Fresh Mint Leaves
1 ½ oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
2 Demerara Sugar Cubes
Fever-Tree Soda Water
Directions: Muddle berries, mint, lime juice and Demerara sugar cubes. Shake with ice and strain ingredients into a fresh glass with fresh ice. Top with Soda Water. Garnish with a beautiful mint leaf, one raspberry and one blackberry.
Strawberry, Basil AND Vanilla Bean Mocktail
4-5 Basil Leaves
1 ½ oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon
1 oz Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup (3 Vanilla Beans added to a mix of 1/2 Qt Sugar + 1/2 Qt Boiling Water)
Vanilla Bean Dry Soda (From Dry Soda Co.).
Directions: Muddle Strawberries, Basil, Lemon juice and Vanilla Bean infused Simple Syrup. Shake with ice and strain ingredients into fresh glass with fresh ice. Top with Vanilla Bean Soda from Dry Soda Co. Garnish with a small strawberry and basil leaf.
Cucumber, Lemon and Elderflower Mocktail
4-5 Cucumber Slices
1 ½ oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon
1 oz D’Arbo Elderflower
Directions: Muddle Cucumber with Lemon Juice and Elderflower Syrup. Shake with ice and strain ingredients into a glass with fresh ice. Top with Fever-Tree Soda Water. Garnish with Cucumer wheel or Lemon Twist.
Mocktails by Addison
Bartender: Kimberly Morris