Set amidst the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, Fairmont Grand Del Mar offers warm Mediterranean style with a desirable Southern California locale. It delivers every indulgence, including impeccable service, a Five-Star spa, a Tom Fazio-designed golf course, and San Diego’s most acclaimed fine dining restaurant. But it’s not just a romantic getaway or an adult-only vacation. With family-friendly amenities, children and family pools, daily activities, complimentary green fees for children 12 and under, onsite childcare, and the Explorer’s Club, Fairmont Grand Del Mar is family luxury at its finest. Whether your family enjoys diving into adventure like waterfall hikes or family-friendly pools, Fairmont Grand Del Mar is a splash for the whole family.
When we arrived at Fairmont Grand Del Mar, we immediately made our way to the family pool area. The cool September breeze was no match for the 81°F pool or the 102°F spa. As we walked toward the pool, we were greeted by the hotel staff. They laid out towels on chairs and asked if we wanted water or menus. They were within ear-shot and ready to respond to our every need, providing the five-star service and setting. There was another pool on the other side of an archway as well as an inviting kiddie pool and a hot tub. They all overlooked the golf course and neighboring hills. Spa guests and adults have a separate pool off of the fitness center for quiet sunbathing, but we didn’t utilize that area until the next day.
After our swim, we returned to our room to settle in. Then, we were off to The Clubhouse Grill for dinner. It’s a short walk from the main hotel but a golf cart or chauffeured car was ready to deliver us in style. We chose the golf cart and Athena hopped in the front with the driver. He was friendly and happily allowed Athena to ride next to him. She felt like Cinderella in her modern day carriage, her dress blowing in the wind while we rode along the path.
Rather than ordering dinner plates, we spiced things up with a Southern California-inspired tapas menu. We savored Smoked Chicken Wings and Crispy Calamari while sipping specialty cocktails and local craft beers. There was a large selection of children’s menu items, but Athena opted for her favorite buttered pasta accompanied by chocolate milk. The delicious food was all complemented by the enchanting views and exceptional service.
We returned to our room with lovely memories from our day and finished off our evening with a relaxing deep in our European-style soaking tub. It was already a league above other hotels and our adventure had only just begun. We filled out our breakfast room service menu before drifting off to sleep.
Ding dong! We woke up to the door bell and a table full of delicious breakfast foods at the foot of our bed. I envisioned starting every day like this. Imagine how much happier we’d be if we could spend an hour of the morning dining with our family and enjoying the tastes of freshly baked breads and crisp strips of bacon. The smells filled the room and I anticipated the relaxation that was to follow our breakfast.
After breakfast, we were escorted to the Del Mar beach in the resort car. Chairs and umbrellas, as well as beach toys, were arranged for us and we walked along the beach for our morning exercise. We wanted to enjoy the morning with Athena before having adult relaxation and alone time.
Our anti-agenda for the day was to spend the afternoon at the spa and adult-only pool while Athena played with the babysitter. If that wasn’t special enough, we were dining at the award-winning Addison restaurant in the evening. Athena was excited to have a babysitter at her side and the exciting array of activities of the Explorer’s Club at her fingertips. We were excited to have a peaceful, relaxing afternoon together.
Child care can be arranged through the Concierge at Fairmont Grand Del Mar. We arranged a nanny for the entire day. Having child-free time is an important part of having a healthy family balance. Athena is an amazing child but I’m better equipped to take care of her when I have some time to myself.
While she was with the nanny, they visited the Explorer’s Club. It’s filled with visual media, creative outlets, and environmental endeavors. With the latest gaming systems like Nintendo, Wii, Xbox, and PlayStation 3, traditional games like board games, foosball, ping-pong, and air hockey, movies, arts and crafts, and a variety of exciting activities both indoors and out, the Explorer’s Club entertained Athena while the nanny was at her side for guidance and we were off on an adventure of relaxation of our own.
Athena created sand art, paintings, key chains, and necklaces to take home as mementos from our getaway. She swam in the pool and ordered room service. Her day was as luxurious as ours.
We were off for a couple’s massage at the exceptional five-star spa. It’s a huge facility with extensive his and her locker rooms, including sauna, steam, fireplaces, and indoor/outdoor relaxation areas. We arrived 30 minutes before our treatment to take advantage of the peacefulness of one of only 30 Forbes 5-Star spas in the nation.
The masseuses were smooth, focused, and well-trained, but that’s only part of an exceptional massage. The treatment room was quiet with the ideal music choices and levels, comfortable tables, and just the right room temperature. The spa takes wellness seriously and our environment and masseuses were reflective of that.
Sipping cocktails while relaxing in lounge chairs around the adult-only quiet pool followed our treatment.
Surprisingly, even having the time to prepare for a dinner is a special treat. Athena was still out enjoying her day with the nanny while we prepared for our fine dining experience. Addison restaurant has been awarded the Forbes 5-Stars – a rating harder to come by for restaurants than hotels – and I wanted to dress up, wear make-up, and style my hair for our special dinner.
We were driven over in the hotel’s private BMW SUV and arrived early for pre-dinner drinks.
Addison demonstrates the difference between very good and exceptional dining. With a top chef and exquisite ingredients in fresh and unusual combinations, Addison delivers contemporary French cuisine highlighted by seasonal California ingredients. Chef William Bradley holds the title of Grand Chef from Relais & Châteaux, one of only 160 such chefs in the world and the only one in San Diego, and does an incomparable job. The room is also gorgeous, the service perfect, and the wine list is deep with excellent by-the-course parings available. Our eleven-course tasting menu had been customized to accommodate my dislike for seafood. Each tasting focused on an ingredient’s core flavors, showcasing everything at its best. I can’t think of a meal that topped this one in flavor, appearance, or pairings. My appetizer was Hibiscus Beets with wild berries and aged balsamic and was exquisite. Kobe Beef Short Ribs with potato darphin, shallott confit, and sauce bordelaise was another sensation.
It was walking distance to return to the hotel and the moon-lit evening was lovely but we still called for the chauffeur. After 11 courses, it seemed like the only logical choice.
Athena was brimming with excitement when we returned to the room. She shared all of her crafts and told us all about her adventures from the day. With an early morning hike lined up before a day at Legoland, we tried to tame our enthusiasm and save it for dreamland, but not before picking breakfast for the next morning.
We woke up again to a delicious array of breakfast foods and prepared for a morning waterfall hike.
Outdoor activities are another strong suit at Fairmont Grand Del Mar, which adjoins the 4,100-acre Los Penasquitos nature preserve with miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horse rides. We planned to experience the two hour waterfall hike starting at 8 am. I certainly didn’t prepare like the night before, but a healthy breakfast helped wake me up for the hike.
The hike does include hills and rocky trail but it’s more than possible for young children to enjoy the adventure. Athena hiked at my side and never missed a step. The waterfall is hardly a cascading falls but it’s a pretty destination with stunning views. It was a beautiful start to our day and it was at such a leisurely pace that we were able to take lots of photos and enjoy being in nature.
We had just enough time to wash up and pack for the day before heading to Amaya for lunch. Amaya features Mediterranean flavors of Italy, Spain, and Southern France.We enjoyed an outdoor lunch at Amaya before leaving the property for an afternoon at Legoland’s Brick or Treat. Amaya might not have as many awards as Addison, but the service is welcoming and the food delicious.
By the time we returned from Legoland, we were grateful for the early turn-down service and tasty chocolate-covered Oreo treats on our pillows. It wasn’t long before we were back to dreamland in our comfy beds.
We enjoyed the morning on our private terrace before checking out of the hotel. World-class lodging, food, service, spa, facilities, and activities left us soaking up the amazing memories from Grand Del Mar. We had the perfect balance of family time and alone time while enjoying experiences exclusive to Fairmont Grand Del Mar.
****Although we were complementary guests of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, all opinions are completely my own.****