This past August, I had the pleasure of visiting the San Diego area with my family. In serious need of some rest and relaxation at the end of a busy summer, we managed to achieve a great balance of activities and downtime during our short stay.
We stayed at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar and we couldn’t have been more thrilled with our choice of accommodation. Del Mar is located just north of downtown San Diego, which is an easy 25 minute car ride away.
The hotel is certainly grand, and from the moment you pull up to entrance of this Mediterranean-styled resort, you feel as if you’ve been transported back in time. The hotel has amenities galore: four pools (family, children’s and adults-only options are available), hot tubs, tennis courts, a full-service spa, a Tom Fazio-designed golf course and gorgeous gardens everywhere you look.
Even the most basic room was well-appointed and spacious, with a huge soaking tub and separate shower stall in the bathroom and a balcony overlooking the grounds.
One of the fabulous things about this property is the customer service, especially their concierge desk. With their help, we borrowed tennis rackets and balls to play on one of their regulation-sized courts, booked dining from their on-point suggestions, and scheduled a complimentary morning hike through the nearby Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve with a local naturalist as our guide.
Eat and Drink
By far, Cucina Enoteca was the most impressive meal we had while staying at the Fairmont. It is located in a strip mall, but don’t let that deter you. With hundreds of bottles of amazing wines from which to choose, you can pick a wine to have with your meal. If you don’t finish your bottle, they will happily cork it up for you to enjoy back at your hotel. Their sommeliers are both knowledgeable and approachable and the enormous menu has something for everyone in your group.
Strong cocktails and a spectacular view are the highlights at George’s at the Cove’s Ocean Terrace in La Jolla.
Finally, if fish tacos are your thing, you are in luck as San Diego is fish taco paradise. We asked some locals and the places they told us to go are Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill, Pacific Beach Fish Shop, Puesto Mexican Street Food and Oscar’s Mexican Seafood.
One can’t visit San Diego without spending some time at the beach. We fell in love with Windansea Beach in La Jolla. Surfers, sunbathers and families enjoying themselves abound on this gorgeous stretch of public beach. We even witnessed a sunset wedding ceremony.
We really enjoyed our electric bike tour with San Diego Fly Rides. If you have never been on an electric bike, you are missing out on some terrific fun! You can get a workout by not employing the electric power on the bike, but it is there when you need it most, especially on inclines. We did the SOCAL Riviera tour with Scott. We travelled along the La Jolla coastline, rode through some of the most expensive residential streets in San Diego and then climbed Mt. Soledad, San Diego’s highest coastal point. This was a highlight for the entire family. (Note that the tours are for children 14+.)
Finally, I am a firm believer that any city visit should include some kind of local market day. We visited the Little Italy Mercato, which is held on Saturdays. Fresh produce, flowers and prepared foods are the real draw here, but there are also all kinds of kiosks with everything from kitchen supplies to homemade greeting cards.
There is so much to see and do in San Diego and we simply ran out of time. Here is a list of some of the other amazing places to experience: visiting massive Balboa Park and checking out the animals at the famous San Diego Zoo, spending some time in Coronado, exploring a floating city at sea at the USS Midway Museum and hiking in Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve.
Images: Grounds at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar; Family pool at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar; Hiking in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve; Cucina Enoteca Del Mar (courtesy of their website); Windansea Beach in La Jolla; Our great guide Scott of San Diego Fly Rides; Little Italy Mercato in San Diego.