Since opening in the spring of 2002, The Lodge at Torrey Pines has been nothing short of sensational.

In fact, The Lodge has earned a AAA Five Diamond award every year since the doors opened. There certainly is a buzz about the quality of The Lodge before you ever step foot on the property, but often expectations are hard to meet when you hear so many accolades in advance.

Not in this case.

From the time, we arrived – greeted by doormen attired in kilted Scottish dress –  until the day we left, we were taken in by the feeling we were in our own private resort.

Lodge entrance. Courtesy Torrey Pines

The Lodge at Torrey Pines, located 20 minutes north of the San Diego airport, was designed to reflect the California Craftsman style of architecture. The post-and-beam buildings fit right in with the surrounding area, full of Torrey Pines, sitting on a bluff over-looking the Pacific Ocean.

There are 170 guestrooms, including seven suites and 13,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and banquet facilities.

Our room was wonderful. Located on the fifth floor, our balcony over-looked the 18th green on the world-renown South Course, with the Pacific Ocean framing the course.

A huge marble and granite bathroom feature two sinks – a must when traveling with your wife – as well as a walk-in shower and an over-sized tub. The living area had a king-sized bed, work-space, couch and a very comfortable reading chair. There was also a gas fireplace and a large television mounted right above the fireplace.

With the fireplace on and the door to the balcony open, you got the best of both worlds, immersed in a coastal California retreat. You could relax on the balcony with a sweatshirt, or relax inside, enjoying the warmth of the fire along with the view from the outside.

The property is magnificent and relaxing. There is plenty to enjoy while taking a stroll around The Lodge.

GOLF

The Lodge is adjacent to the two Torrey Pines Course – the North and the South. Please see separate stories on the two courses by clicking on the following links: https://acesgolf.com/torrey-pines-north-course-a-world-class-test-of-golf/https://acesgolf.com/torrey-pines-south-a-bucket-list-course/.

The Lodge offers hotel guests preferred tee times as well as special golf packages. The golf shop and golf school are located next to The Lodge.

DINING

The Lodge offers two dining options. A.R. Valentien is the signature restaurant and features California cuisine and has a menu that changes daily depending upon what’s available at local farmers’ markets, local growers, ranchers and fishermen.

A.R. Valentien’s, courtesy of The Lodge

We dined one night at The Grill, a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is far less formal than A.R. Valentien. The Grill went through an extensive $2.5 million renovation, re-opening in June of 2016.

In addition to the indoor dining, there was an expansion of the patio. There are now five, outdoor fire pit tables, allowing for a tremendous view of the golf course.

A nice way to start the meal off, we were brought chips with an onion dip. For appetizers, we ordered poached pear salad for my wife and charcuterie board for myself. We could have gone with just one or the other as both were hearty portions and delicious.

For the main course, my wife had the Ruby Brook Trout Amandine, while I opted for the Wood-Grilled Tri-Tip. Both of us were pleased with our entrée, with the Tri-Tip coming with a tasty homemade steak sauce.

We were both so stuffed that we had to pass on dessert!

The Grill is an excellent option for a more relaxed, but still classy dinner.

SPA

Although we did not have the time to visit The Spa, there is a highly rated one on the property. The Spa is 9,500 square-feet, featuring 14 treatment rooms.

There are dry saunas, herbal-infused steam baths and aromatherapy inhalation.

The Spa also features a cardio area and weight room, featuring state-of-the-art equipment and fitness classes that include yoga classes conducted outside on the grass Arroyo Terrace.

AREA ACTIVITIES

There is plenty to do in the La Jolla area, including a visit to the Birch Aquarium located a short drive from The Lodge.

Courtesy Birch Aquarium

The aquarium is part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at U.C. San Diego. The centerpiece is the 70,000-gallon tank that is built around a kelp forest. In the tank, you can find leopard sharks, garibaldi, eels, giant sea bass and more.

There are also three outdoor living tide pools where visitors can touch Anemones and Sea Cucumbers. There are guides around the pools to assist the guests.

We also ventured over to the Torrey Pines Gliderport, a hot spot for hang gliders and para-gliders. While the wind was not enough for anyone to be in the air the day, it is a beautiful location and it was enjoyable to watch on land instruction for a pair of beginners.

Courtesy Annie Pearson

Also, located a short drive away is the La Jolla Cover, the cool place to see and be seen. Prospect Street, also known as La Jolla’s version of Rodeo Drive, features shopping and restaurants. We had a chance to dine at California Modern, part of George’s at the Cove.

By Dennis Miller

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