The most recent season of Netflix’s revolutionary bio-drama The Crown follows Britain’s royal family to the Queen’s Scottish estate house, Balmoral. Views of verdant, rolling hills, and moody, dark skies await its guests. As a fan of the show and an avid traveler, I’d been dreaming about a family getaway. I couldn’t have been more excited when my husband and I planned a weekend retreat to La Jolla’s atmospheric the Lodge at Torrey Pines. I’d only seen photos of the sprawling expanse, and on the drive in felt utterly transported - just to the north of the property the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve showcases 1,750 sprawling acres of unspoiled land that protects its namesake - one of America’s rarest pine trees. By the time we pulled in under the Lodge’s porte-cochere and were greeted by doormen attired in traditional Scottish kilted dress, we knew we were in for an experience unlike any other.
With warmer, Craftsman detailing than you might find at the Queen’s residence, the AAA 5 Diamond rated resort boasts expansive public rooms with fireplaces, marble mantles, leather chairs, and unbeatable views of the Torrey Pines Golf Course. Beyond, you’ll find you’re looking at the Pacific, not the cool Atlantic - but to be honest, I knew I’d be hard-pressed to be pulled away from the cozy poolside cabana. The heated pool, especially during California’s winter months, was just what we all needed to unwind and relax.
Understandably, travel looks decidedly different these days and as a family with two middle-school aged children, safety is a top priority. Transparent in its commitment to ensure the well-being of resort guests, The Lodge’s Clean & Care Commitment protocols have earned the property a Clean + Safe Certification from the California Hotel & Lodging Association (see website for details).
Accommodation + Amenities
It’s easy to see why Sunset Magazine rated The Lodge as the #1 Hotel in the West and described it as “one of the most beautiful hotels anywhere.” Our stunning guest accommodation featured the most luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, gorgeous oversized soaking bath, a cozy fireplace, spacious living quarters and breathtaking views of the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course overlooking the California coastline.
We chatted with a couple who raved about the 36-hole facility owned by the City of San Diego, originally designed by William F. Bell. The South Course was redesigned in 2001 by Rees Jones in preparation for the 2008 U.S. Open and is now 7,698 yards with a par of 72. The North Course is 7,258 yards in length with a par of 72.
The Lodge features a full-service spa and state-of-the-art fitness center. Although these may be closed due to state guidelines at the time of your visit, there’s no shortage of open-air recreational opportunities - from outdoor yoga and croquet to golf, guided hikes and of course, the gorgeous heated pool.
The Lodge’s signature restaurant, A.R. Valentien, highlights seasonal cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients - delicious dishes we enjoyed “outdoors” in an elegant, open air, timbered dining room. The metal-strap post-and-beam structure, hand-crafted wood framed windows and stained-glass lanterns all a nod to its Southern California heritage and Craftsman architecture and further enhanced by the panoramic views overlooking the 18th hole of the Torrey Pines Golf Course.
For starters, we sampled wonderfully fragrant and flavorful artisanal cheeses paired with spiced nuts and jam followed by a delectable crispy skin sablefish butternut squash tortellini, lobster consommé, pomegranate and preserved orange relish.
During our stay, we also indulged in room service with wood-fired favorites (think chimney roasted chicken and wood-grilled tri-tip). My daughter and I are completely addicted to the charcoal bread avocado toast topped with smashed avocado, fennel, pickled and fresh vegetables, watercress and Everything seasoning and the wood roasted vegetable quinoa (our attempts to replicate the recipes at home came up a little short so she’s already angling for a return trip). My son would eat the Grill’s “Drugstore Hamburger” at every meal if you let him and my strictly meat-and-potatoes husband thoroughly enjoyed the cooked-to-perfection New York Strip paired with a glass of regional wine.
An offshoot of the early 1900s Arts and Crafts Movement, the Lodge boasts one of the loveliest examples of California Craftsman you can find. Clean lines, warm, open spaces, and naturally rough raw materials, like stone, wood, and plenty of natural light give beautiful complement to the deliberate and exceptional care the staff take to ensure each guest’s stay is comfortable and memorable. You’d think we were titled guests of the estate with the unprecedented service we received. The best part? You don’t have to claim a royal lineage to stay.
The Lodge at Torrey Pines
11480 North Torrey Pines Road