We just spent six lovely days and nights at the Grand Del Mar Resort and felt it was the perfect location from which to explore everything that San Diego has to offer for our family of four with two young children. While the rooms are not inexpensive, they were offering a fantastic deal (third night free) and combined with AMEX Platinum Travel benefits (daily breakfast, $100 resort credit, and room upgrade), we had a fantastic stay.
The hotel was very centrally located about five minutes inland from Interstate 5 just off Route 56 East. Downtown Del Mar was a quick 10 minute drive, and Downtown San Diego, the airport, Carlsbad, and Escondido were roughly 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. Disneyland was exactly 90 minutes away. In many respects the resort is very similar to Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Both are in ideal locations set back from the main road with a scenic drive into the main hotel that is surrounded by a golf course, and further afield high end time share residences. Check in was super efficient, and we were in our room with our luggage very quickly. If available, ask for a lower numbered room, as they are much closer to the main lobby, restaurant, and pools. Initially we were in Room 139 (a Verandah Suite), but then they moved us to Room 119 (a Palazzo Suite) -- more on that later. Our Verandah Suite had a decent sized kitchen with sink and microwave and table service for four. The living area featured a round dining table and a comfortable sitting area with several chairs and a sofa that pulled out. The bedroom was quite spacious with a super comfortable king bed, a larger dresser, a loveseat and coffee table, and a desk and chair. French doors from both the living and bedroom areas opened onto a flagstone patio. The marble bathroom featured two sinks, a large soaking tub, a separate glass shower, and an enclosed toilet area. Off the bathroom was a large walk in closet. Housekeeping was excellent and everything appeared to be well maintained. Shortly after we got to the room, the hotel sent a lovely welcome platter of tasty cheeses, nuts, crackers, and fruit. On the second night of our stay, there was a malfunction of the tub faucet resulting in our inability to turn off the cold water. Maintenance was called and they had to shut off the water supply to the tub, which was problematic in that we needed the tub to bathe our children and they were unable to fix the problem that night. Fortunately we were planning to head out for the Safari Park the next day while the problem was being fixed. The next morning a front desk person called to apologize for the inconvenience and offered to upgrade us to a larger suite for our troubles. When we returned that evening, we walked into a massive Palazzo Suite that was in the wing closest to the main lobby, and significantly closer to the pool area. This suite has a large entry foyer that opened to an equally large dining area with a massive table that could easily seat 12 people. Off one side of the foyer was the kitchen, off the other a full marble bathroom with twin vanities, soaking tub, separate two person shower, and enclosed toilet. The sitting area featured a gas fireplace and spacious sitting area with several chairs and tables and a sofa that pulled out to a queen sleeper. Through a doorway was the bedroom, which is actually an adjoining room (120) that has a separate entrance to the hallway. The bedroom had similar furnishings to the other suite with a small minibar area next to the bathroom. Again there was an enormous flagstone patio off the living and bedroom areas via French doors.
There are four pools at the Grand Del Mar that are overall very nice. Near the restaurant was the biggest pool that features a large bar and large hot tub accessible by room key card. There were seemingly plenty of chairs to accommodate all the guests. Just outside of that was a sandy area with additional chairs. Pass through a covered walk at the far end of the pool, and you will find the more intimate family pool area with a smaller (and decidedly warmer) rectangular pool (about 3.5 feet deep), a kiddie pool (about 1.5 feet deep) and a tiny hot tub (max 6-7 people). There were definitely less chairs available in this area so plan to go early to stake out your chairs. Plenty of towels available, but pool food and beverage service was spottier on this side. Finally, there was another pool was located on the other end of the hotel adjacent to the spa and is designated for adults only. Some of the guest rooms have patios that open directly into this pool area. There was also a very large hot tub in this area. The spa was quite spacious and inviting, and located adjacent to the fitness center. There were separate single sex spa facilities including hot tub, sauna, and steam room with a club-like sitting/relaxation area while you wait for or after you finish your treatment. The entry to this area was complementary with a treatment; I found it very enjoyable so be sure to allot plenty of time before or after to make full use of everything.
The restaurant Amaya was good, standard hotel dining fare for this caliber resort. We actually opted for room service in the morning since our kids were still on East Coast time and we found the selections to be tasty and well presented. Evening turndown featured wonderful truffles left on your pillow!
Overall, we found the service to be uniformly excellent at the Grand Del Mar. The bell staff and valet people were all speedy and helpful. The housekeeping personnel were polite and prompt and efficient; we asked that they clean the room after we left each morning and that turndown be done at a certain time (because of the pull out sofa) and they complied without fail.
Of note, there were fire alarm incidents on two separate mornings at around 7-7:30 AM, and it wasn’t clear whether they were real emergencies or pranks. We were up (since it was 10:30 New York time), but it would not have been very pleasant to be awoken that way if you were looking to sleep in on those particular mornings. Also one morning at 5 AM our smoke detector in the bedroom chose to alarm; turning on the fan resolved the issue, but I told the front desk to have maintenance change the battery and we did not have another incident like that.
All in all, our stay at the Grand Del Mar was excellent and we all agreed we would return in a heartbeat!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Serenely nestled amidst San Diego's Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve and a mere five miles from the Pacific coastline, Fairmont Grand Del Mar seamlessly combines the old-world charm of a Mediterranean estate with the modern luxury of an elegant resort. The result: TripAdvisor's #1 Luxury Hotel in California. Little wonder, given the sun-drenched climate, stunning natural beauty, championship golf course, one of only 25 Five-Star spas in the United States, and irresistible dining - epitomized by Addison, Southern California's only Five-Star/Five Diamond restaurant, helmed by Relais and Chateaux Grand Chef William Bradley. From the completely relaxing to the downright invigorating, you'll find a variety of ways to fill your days (and nights) at Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Engage in a seasonal mixology class. Take a dip in one of four heated pools. Enjoy an afternoon hike or horseback ride amid the pristine nature preserve. Or, sip signature cocktails at the resort's enticing lounges - all before retreating to your thoughtfully appointed guestroom. Welcome to the Grand life - just east of the Pacific and slightly north of expectations. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Grand Del Mar Hotel San Diego
- Grand Del Mar Hotel
- Grand Del Mar San Diego