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Fairmont Grand Del Mar
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1,822 - 1,827 of 1,909 reviews
Reviewed October 19, 2008

This resort was way up there in luxury and service - the second best we've ever stayed at - very opulent. In the words of the in-room guest book: "...inspired by the rich, decorative arts of Spain, Portugal, Italy and Morroco"; "colorful palette, graceful arched doorways, rotundas, vibrant tile, wood-beamed ceilings, ornate stone and wrought-iron accents, decorative columns, parquet flooring and gracious verandas.". More simply put, you walk in and say "Wow!" - several times.

First impressions were exceptional, from the eucalyptus-scented hand towels presented at the front desk during check-in, to the fresh lemonade, iced tea, and cookies and huge, aromatic, floral arrangement in the lobby. The concierge desk was very nice and helpful, especially Gabrielle and Lynette. We asked their advice every day.

We requested and got a room with a fairway (golf course) view - the one downside is there's only a standing balcony, with insufficient room for chairs to sit and enjoy the view. We found the room to be very luxurious - all the amenities you could possibly want and more. The room (389) had a great layout, including a bathroom with a huge tub, two sinks, separate shower and toilet, and a folding window above the tub that opens into the main bedroom. There are lots of subtle, sometimes hidden extras, like a vanity with a top that opens up to reveal a large mirror and provide a compartment for your wife's things. The bedroom offered plenty of drawer space, slide-out table tops, a beautiful corner couch, cushions, and ottoman for relaxing, and a large flat screen TV on the wall. Two newspapers were delivered to the room each day, and we were asked if we wanted any others.

Valet parking is the only available option, and they charge quite a bit for it ($30 plus tips). I complained because I didn't see this spelled out up front until my reservation was confirmed - the resort very kindly said they would waive the fee. Each time you leave the premises, the valet offers bottles of cold water for the road. Nice.

A plus for us was that we rarely heard or saw any other people in the adjacent rooms - either the walls are nice and thick or no one was in them.

A couple of relatively minor downsides:

We only got turndown service on the first night of our four night stay. Not sure why. We loved it when we got it.

We were offered and accepted an in-room coffee maker, but housekeeping just didn't seem to know how to handle this extra. They consistently failed to clean and provision it, even bringing coffee bags without filters on the last day. On a similar note, we requested extra towels (to their credit, the hotel asks before you arrive), but housekeeping had to be reminded to keep replacing them.

We used in-room dining several times, but got tired of it. Would have liked some simpler, less "frou frou" options to choose from. We switched to muffins from the coffee shop (Cent'Anni) for the last couple of mornings.

Speaking of dining, we opted not to eat at their highly touted restaurant, Addison - settling instead for "second best", Amaya. It was fine - great decor, nice waiters, good food, very classy - frankly it was hard for us to believe Amaya wasn't the best!

I can't emphasize enough how pleasant and accommodating the staff was. We had the feeling they would do anything within their power to make our stay a nice one (and they succeeded). Also, the resort is absolutely beautiful. Be forewarned, though - it's about a half hour drive north of San Diego just off I-5, so it's not right in the heart of the city if that's what you're looking for.

We loved it!

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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7  Thank Brian M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2008

Earleir this month my wife and I arrived at the hotel for what was to be a romantic getaway, it turned out to be less romance, and more of a disappointment.

We arrived at the hotel at about 2pm, found it desolated; no concierge and only one person behind the desk who appeared to be overworked and having a horrible day, made us feel like an imposition, yet another person tasking her patience. We were understanding since we could see how understaffed and overworked she was however, arriving in our room to find that both trash bins; bedroom and bathroom had not been emptied, we wondered if the rest of the room was clean. It did not instill the confidence we expected for the price we paid.

Later that evening while at dinner, we chatted with another couple with a similar experience, which confirmed our fears. Our “dining experience” as they described it was less than impressive and average at best. You are better served by traveling far, far, away to La Jolla where a lovely diner is easier to find at a more reasonable price with better service.

We left the next morning and stayed in La Jolla, that made our trip to San Diego worth wile. If you are looking for overpriced service with little to show for it, you will love The Grand Del Mar.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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26  Thank mikemyers999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2008

We just returned from a 4 night stay at this resort, and it is easily one of the best resorts we have stayed at-worldwide.
I only learned of the resort while researching private golf clubs in the area, and was directed to the resort site. We have stayed or visited the 4 Seasons, LA Quinta, Rancho Bernardo, etc., and our experience at the Del Mar far exceeded any experience we have had at any of those.

From check in, we were treated like royalty. Our trip was planned for our anniversary, and they not only knew of the event, they knew what year anniversary it was (not sure how they figured that out yet). We were given an upgraded room overlooking the quiet spa pool. The room/suite was beautiful; the amenities were top notch (4 flat screens, enormous bathrooms, comfortable furniture, great bed, etc.). The room was extremely quiet, we never felt crowded or rushed, and the service staff and employees are extremely polite and helpful, knew us by name, and catered to us. Also, we were surprised by a very generous gift for our anniversary the first night.

We decided to take the "shuttle" to La Jolla the first evening. The shuttle is a Mercedes S550! There was no fee, no charge, the driver was great, and they dropped us off at the restaurant, and picked us up 2 hours later right in front. I could not believe it. My wife asked what they use if there are more that two passengers, and we were told that have an Escalade and a Luxury Coach for the bigger groups. We ended up taking the ride again another night, and the driver gave us a nice guided tour through La Jolla before dinner. We never touched our car the entire time we were there.

We ate each breakfast, most lunches, and 1 big dinner at the resort. One very pleasant surprise was that the cost of the food was very reasonable by resort standards. We had a big breakfast each morning on our porch, and I remember thinking that the bill was about half of what I was expecting. The food at the bigger pool was great, and there was never a big crowd or a lot of noise. The dinner we had at Addison, their signature restaurant. We spent about a half hour at the bar talking with the bartender and manager who were both very generous and thoughtful. Once we were seated, we told the server to surprise us, and he did. The service was great, I think we had 6 different people attending to us, and the food was spectacular. We enjoyed 6 courses, and were delighted and surprised by each serving. Even after the drinks, the food, dessert, etc., I was again surprised that the bill was not higher.

I golfed two separate days. The clubhouse and personnel were great, and the caddies were very helpful. The course itself was not in the greatest shape as they had recently over-seeded., and they were undergoing some maintenance on a few of the holes. After the second round, I thought I might mention something to one of the starters but never did. After another day, I mentioned my experience to the manger back at the resort. I told him the truth that while the course was not in "excellent" shape, I still played out my round and enjoyed the course. He told me how important it was that I mentioned it to him and thanked me for bringing it to his attention. He was very sincere, seemed genuinely concerned, and told me he would take care of it. Later that night we had a hand written note and an expensive gift in our room to thank us for telling him, and I learned on our final day that he had given us a significant credit to our bill to accommodate our experience on the course.

I will say that this is by far one of the best experiences we have had at an exclusive resort. I have not even mentioned the great work out room, the number of free exercise sessions available to guests, the tennis clinic we took, the mountain bikes and trails right outside the gate, the spa sessions my wife loved, etc.

Lastly, one other point of note-there was a large wedding at the resort on Saturday night. We had heard from some of the staff about the wedding, and jokingly told each other that it might be the one night that we would have to wait for a drink, seat, etc. Just the opposite. The wedding and most of the big halls are on another side of the resort, so that we never heard or even saw most of the group. I never would have known that they were hosting such a large event that evening.

We live less than 50 miles from this resort, but will absolutely go there again and recommend it to everyone we know. We felt as if we were miles away, and it is one of those experiences were we were in vacation mode the minute we walked through the front door. It was spectacular.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank kissell_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2008

This resort is amazing. We stayed there for two nights in a beautiful room that overlooked one of the pools. The staff was amazing and exceeded my expectations. The rooms are gorgeous and the bathtub is gigantic, perfect for bubble baths. The food was excellent. We dined at the restaurants and we also ordered room service a couple of times. The spa was equally great with a beautiful lounge area. The only downside was that the golf course had recently been worked on, and my husband said that the grass was difficult to play on becayse of this. Overall, I highly recommend this resort to people who are looking for a great relaxing vacation. I would also pick this hotel over the Four Seasons in Carlsbad, which says a lot!!

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank melfreeman08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2008

We stayed at the Grand Del Mar over Labor Day weekend. We were extremely impressed with the quality of service, even during what was presumably one of the busiest weekends of the year.

We stayed at the hotel with our 5 month old baby. We requested a crib for the room when we made our reservations. The hotel contacted us before our stay and asked us the name of our baby. When we arrived in our room, the hotel had spelled out our baby's name in colorful sponges around the bathtub. The hotel also gave us a gift for the baby upon our arrival. We were blown away by the attention to detail.

The food at the resort is better than most other hotel food, and there are plenty of options. We also thought the food was reasonably priced, especially compared to other hotels of this class.

The pool area was very crowded, but the staff still managed to help us quickly.

The hotel is a little isolated, so a car is a necessity. But, the isolation also makes for scenic views of the golf course and the mountains. The hotel is in a beautiful setting -- much nicer than the Four Seasons.

The staff consistently impressed us. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to help us. The concierge and bell man remembered our name after our first meeting.

We are usually very picky travelers, but the Grand Del Mar exceeded our expectations in every way.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank gemes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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