Fall isn’t necessarily a season in Southern California. Temperatures go from nice to really nice, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. Perhaps a little dip in the evening mercury brings some cooler, foggy mornings. All things considered though, it is with certainty the best time of the year to schedule a getaway.
The beaches are deserted, the ocean hasn’t cooled off again yet, and you haven’t quite hit the craziness of the holidays.
Tucked back between the Carmel County Highlands and the Del Mar Mesa Preserve lies one of San Diego’s premier resorts. Stretching from Europe through the Riviera Maya, the Fairmont family of hotels take the concept of luxury to an entirely new level. The Fairmont Grand Del Mar (www.fairmont.com) is no different. From tennis courts and an 18-hole championship golf course to 37 miles of canyon preserve trails and the Pacific Ocean just miles beyond the borders of the resort, there is surely no abundance of activity to fill your every need.
If it is rest and relaxation you’re on the hunt for, and hiking doesn’t really suit your fancy, lounge poolside in the year-round sunlight, or simply soak in one of the deep tubs en suite and order room service while the day slips softly through the resort gardens. Each of the 249 elegantly appointed guest rooms feature spacious marble bathrooms, expansive balconies and terraces, and spectacular views of the grand golf club, gardens, or Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.
Los Peñasquitos Canyon is a nature preserve with historical significance as the first route from Yuma to San Diego, which is today a beautiful hiking, biking and horseback riding destination. Guests of the Grand Del Mar have access to all the canyon has to offer, with bikes available for pickup at the front desk, and horses at the on-site stables ready for trail riding. For those whose outdoor adventures entail a driver and a putter, the Grand Del Mar features the only Tom Fazio-designed golf course in San Diego, complimented by swing analysis technology services, a SAMPutt lab, specialized practice areas used by some of the world’s top professionals, and more. If you’re of the aquatic persuasion, the property features four pools, three that are ideal for families and one infinity (read tranquility) pool for adults only. Not far beyond pools are the resort’s private beach and oceanic excursions including sunset sails and whale watching. And this only scratches the surface.
For spa enthusiasts, the Grand Del Mar offers one of the most acclaimed in the country. Treat yourself to a day of cleansing facials or therapeutic massages at one of only 60 Forbes rated 5-star spas in the world, with complimentary amenities including use of the fitness center, access to daily yoga classes, wet or dry saunas, and even a couple hours of Explorer’s Club access, the resort’s on-site kids club for ages 5-12. Signature hot teas and an all-organic line of spa products await while the littles are kept carefully contented. You might even have time for a delicious craft cocktail at the Lobby Lounge.
Open daily with live music on the weekends, flanked by warm fireplaces and elegant furnishings, the lounge boasts an intimate sophistication. Taste one of the resort’s signature drinks, like the Margarita Blossom - light and refreshing - or the Chaturanga, featuring coconut water and basil, while you snack on tapas style fare from the kitchen. Or hold onto your appetite and feast at Amaya, the Fairmont’s Mediterranean-inspired gourmet dining destination. Italy awaits at breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner on the terrace, using only the seasons’ most fresh market ingredients. Complete with antique books, stunning views, and two separate inviting rooms, Amaya is open to create a memorable, intimate atmosphere for whatever occasion you can come up with: even a simple staycation.
The working wine cellar is pretty spectacular, providing guests at the resort tastes to compliment any menu combination. Seafood to salad, pasta, risotto, or something from the grill: only the most delectable ingredients make it onto your plate. USDA prime grade beef, both hormone and antibiotic-free, and local, family-owned Assenti’s Pasta make it onto the short list with flavor to spare, providing dishes such as the Prime Tomahawk Ribeye. Bone-in beef with crispy fried house potatoes and farmer’s market vegetables in a cognac-peppercorn jus is enough for two, perhaps with just enough room to spare for the resort’s very own tenth anniversary Grand Reserva Patron Anejo Tequila. But excellence does not stop at Amaya. From its six on-property food and beverage options (including in-room dining) and robust wine program to its seasonal menus and Afternoon Tea, the Grand Del Mar has something for every epicurean.
Even without the crisp weather that accompanies October and November onto the calendar across the country, the resort’s warm fireplaces, delicious seasonal fare, and views of the sun-kissed California coastline are enough to add a little magic to your weekend away, fall or no fall.