Paradise for Any Season
For most of the world, sun-soaked Southern California holds a special mystique. Temperate weather year-round, and postcard worthy landscapes with rolling hills, breathtaking surf, and the cinematic charm of Hollywoodland itself.
For those of us lucky enough to reside in the region, the mystique can be a bit more localized – a home beach or perfect trail out the back door. Our family loves to “stay-cation” in San Diego and Carlsbad tops the list of favorite locales. Tucked between the white capped Pacific and some of the best golf courses in North America rests one of the most idyllic escapes on the west coast: The Four Seasons Residence Club, Aviara in North San Diego.
This stunning property isn’t just a resort. It can be anything you make it, really. Business trips, family retreats, friend reunions or romantic getaways all coalesce in casual elegance for an intimate, residential-style luxury “home away from home” experience perfect for short sojourns or lengthier stays (extended stay packages can be customized).
Whether you repose in one of the resort’s superior amenity-rich guest rooms or opt to stay in of one of the property’s stunning personal villas, the experience will undoubtedly be reflective of the verdant green grounds, Batiquitos Lagoon and crystal blue Pacific.
Four Seasons has long been synonymous with luxury. On that front, this resort remains true to the brand. But unlike its traditional hotel properties, this Four Seasons offering consists of residences that allow for a range of options – from ownership to residential stays of virtually any length.
In celebration of spring birthdays, our family of four recently took up residence in what we imagined would be an unrivaled memory-making weekend away – and we weren’t disappointed. Our accommodation featured a full kitchen, dining room, spacious bedrooms and plenty of living space to spread out, beautiful lush golf course and garden views and access to all of the resort’s amenities including an array of dining choices: destination (Seasons Restaurant), al fresco poolside (Summits Grill or Palmera), in-villa private dining delivery service. For the latter, think customized experiences from artisanally crafted sandwiches to family-style dinners, all conveniently packages to go and ready for enjoyment in the comfort of your villa).
Other property features and services? The list is seemingly endless. A pair of sparkling heated pools and whirlpools, skin and body treatments at the full-service Driftwood Spa, two state-of-the-art fitness centers, group yoga, pilates, barre and circuit training classes, playground equipment – a particular delight for parents with littles and a Kids Club (our 13-year-old still loves anything arts and crafts so “Crafty Hour” was a huge hit – she even wore her colorful tie-dye creation to school the following Monday).
Seasons Restaurant serves as the “culinary epicenter” of the resort guest experience where farm-to-table New Californian cuisine showcases inventive dishes inspired by seasonal and locally sourced ingredients in a setting defined by an abundance of natural light and modern beach-town charm. The service here – and throughout the entire resort – is warm, friendly and highly attentive without being the least bit intrusive.
A team of talented chefs puts a flavorful spin on a traditional favorites – the wagyu burger is enhanced with black garlic aioli, aged white cheddar, bacon onion jam, aru- gula and duck fat herb fries, while the tagliatelle is a perfectly al dente house-made pasta with short rib ragu, whipped ricotta and picked onion.
Strawberries are officially in season and serve as the inspiration for several specialty dishes and craft cocktails. I’m a bit of a sushi snob when sampling sashimi and fish dishes, so trust me when I say the strawberry/chili hamachi crudo appetizer was absolutely divine and worth coming back for. In fact, it was all I could do to not order the dish as an entree and again for dessert. It. Was. That. Good.
Having a full kitchen at our disposal made it so easy to whip up meals for a leisurely al fresco breakfast and end of day glass of wine and charcuterie on our private balcony. During the day, we ventured out to pick our own super fresh strawberries at the Carlsbad Strawberry Co. and then over to the famous Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch where nearly 50 acres of blooming Giant Tecolote Rananculus transforms the rolling hills into one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of natural color and beauty.
Land and sea activities were on the itinerary – next stop: Agua Hedionda Lagoon, where we rented a Runabout Bayliner from Josh at Carlsbad Watersports (carlsbadlagoon.com) for a fun, fast aquatic adventure (other motorized watercraft rentals include pontoon boats, craigcats, funcats and two-person mini-boats). Looking for a more leisurely day on the water? Rent a kayak, standup paddleboard, aquacycle or Swan peddle boat.
The choice is yours to make: stay in bed all day surrounded by coastal luxury or sign up for an open-air yoga class or tee time. Make vacationing effortless with their pre-arrival Concierge, and find your villa stocked with food and drinks, ready for the family to pile in and relax.
This postcard perfection is only a short drive from Orange County – straight down the shoreline. Why wait? When the rest of the world is thinking of vacationing, and you could be living the actual dream, the mystique alongside your loved ones. Stay as long as you’d like.