Opulent but not arrogant is the perfect way to describe Fairmont Del Mar resort.
Situated amidst the striking fairways of The Grand Golf Club, Fairmont Grand Del Mar is one of San Diego County’s finest luxury resorts. The resort offers a complete spectrum of first-class amenities: four sparkling swimming pools, tennis, fine dining, San Diego’s only Tom Fazio-designed golf course, a Renaissance-inspired spa and 249 elegantly appointed guestrooms.
The resort is nestled in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, relatively close to
Interstate 5, but the feeling is being in another world, apart from the hustle and bustle of Southern California.
GOLF: San Diego’s only Tom Fazio designed course originally opened in 1999 as part of the Meadows Del Mar, a private residential community of 134 home sites. In 2003, Manchester Financial Group purchased the land–including the golf course, clubhouse and a parcel zoned for hotel development. The course was renamed The Grand Golf Club, and the extensively renovated and expanded clubhouse was opened in September of 2006.
With spectacular fairways that wind throughout the scenic valleys of the beautiful Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, the private rolling greens of The Grand
Golf Club are the centerpiece of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar resort.
In any major region of California, there is no shortage of top-notch golf courses.
The fairways are immaculate, the bunkers pristine and the greens perfectly manicured. Certainly the course at The Grand Del Mar passes all those tests with flying colors.
What sets courses apart are the intangibles.
Playing with my son, we were able to reflect on the course throughout the round and the one constant–above and beyond the quality of the course–was the aesthetics. Thinking back on our round, the lingering memory was the incredible site lines throughout the course.
As you wind your way through and over the canyons, many times are you afforded an incredible view of the surrounding areas, be it the hotel property from afar, or the natural beauty when you are down in the canyons.
Talk about saving the best for last: the 18th hole was a pure treat and a wonderful way to end the round. The 421-yard, par 4, features a man-made, 15-foot waterfall behind the green, helping end the round with the tranquil feeling the entire resort presents.
Of course, the entire experience is enhanced by the fore-caddie program The Grand Golf Club has in place, which re-institutes a tradition no longer found at many courses. An experienced caddie guides and assists resort guests– enhancing the golf experience by providing course strategy, shot distances, filling divots, raking bunkers, finding errant shots—and ensuring that all other needs are met. These guys are dialed in on every aspect of the course. Hit it where they tell you and your already special round is made that much better.
ACCOMMODATIONS: There are 249 guestrooms, suites and villas on the property, featuring 31 luxurious suites, including a pair of opulent two-bedroom presidential suites (expandable to three bedrooms), five one-bedroom specialty suites, 12 luxury one-bedroom suites (expandable to two bedrooms) and 12 executive suites. The suites range from the 2,840-square-foot presidential suite–with private balconies–to the 1,010-square foot executive suites.
We were fortunate to spend our time in a presidential suite and it was stunning, from the pure size to the quality of everything in the room. At night, it was heavenly to sit on one of the three balconies and take in the peace and quiet of the property.
We also took full advantage of walking down to one of the big fire pits on site, enjoying the wonderful San Diego weather.
Your room should be the final piece of relaxation each day and the accommodations Grand Del Mar take it to another level.
DINING: There are six dining options on the property, but the two not to miss are Addison and Amaya.
Addison features acclaimed Chef William Bradley’s artisanal approach to cooking, offering contemporary French cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal California ingredients.
For example, half of the produce served at Addison is procured from Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. Reflecting Bradley’s classic style, menu highlights include entrees with intense flavors and simple, yet masterfully combined ingredients.
The kicker for me was the 2,500-bottle wine room clad in Jerusalem limestone and trimmed in intricately carved Italian stone. The space also features a dramatic triple arch with glass windows, providing further visual interest and opening the area up to the dining room, allowing guests to view the resort’s impressive wine collection. Addison is a world-class wine tasting environment, replete with ideal glassware, perfect storage of wines and knowledgeable service.
If something less elegant suites your needs, the casual, resort style dress confines of Amaya is the perfect fit. The menu is Southern Italian cuisine in a casual yet elegant setting.
The family loved the experience at Amaya and I would not hesitate to recommend it to any size family.
OTHER AMENITIES: As if the golf, accommodations and dining were not enough to make Fairmont Grand Del Mar world class, the other amenities on the property take care of sealing the deal.
What resort can be considered among the elite without a sensational spa? And it is no different at Fairmont Grand Del Mar.
The 21,000-square-foot, 5-Star spa features 11 treatment rooms for massage, facials and hydrotherapy, including a couple’s suite. The separate locker rooms feature lavishly appointed relaxation rooms, complete with a stone fireplace, shower, steam, and sauna areas. European-style wet rooms, an indoor Jacuzzi, with a shared outdoor Jacuzzi and spa pool.
Another aspect that had my wife and daughter in awe was the Fairmont Grand Del Mar Equestrian Center. Opened in March of 2011, it is a 20,000-square-foot facility with eight stalls, tack and feed rooms, an expansive riding area, and six resident horses and a pony.
When it is time to relax at the pool, once again there are plenty of options. There are four heated swimming pools – including an adults-only spa pool and a children’s pool. Both are complimented by private cabanas. Two tennis courts, plus a labyrinth of hiking and jogging trails provide outdoor enthusiasts with an array of options.
If you yearn for the nearby beach (10-15 minutes), the staff has all the answers. There is transportation to the beach, basically concierge service, setting up your chairs, providing refreshments, beach towels and umbrellas. When it was time to leave, the attendant was right there to collect everything.
OVERALL: I am the type of person who almost demands being able to see the ocean from my room or the course when I am at a coastal resort in California. It is one of those things that I not only look forward to, but embrace. In the past if the ocean did not come into play, there was a strike against a resort. That is until I came to the Fairmont Grand Del Mar property. The resort takes your breath away from arrival until you leave.
If golf is your objective, you have the world-class Fazio design. If it is decadent accommodations, you have come to the right place. Your time spent on site leaves you feeling as though you are the most important person on the property!