California Dreaming: San Diego Resorts and Hotels

by Jennie Nunn

From new spa treatments, revamped hotels and restaurants, San Diego is proving it’s worth the visit 

Located two hours south of Los Angeles, travel-hotspot San Diego is once again in the limelight thanks to a crop of new and recently re-conceived hotels and beachfront resorts with prime views and plenty of surfing and water sports. Here, a rundown of five of San Diego Resorts and Hotels that are worth the trip. 

L’Auberge Del Mar, A Destination Hotel

Riviera Suite 2816 bedroom 030

Situated in Del Mar, the cozy, Cape Cod-style shingled property feels more like a large guest home than a seaside resort. The resort, replete with 121 guest suites designed with coastal-inspired touches by famed decorator Barclay Butera (of Montage Deer Valley and W Residences Hollywood), features a 5,000-square-foot spa with body treatments such as the Marine Renewal, using hydrating ocean minerals and organic botanical oils. Other highlights include a new restaurant, Coastline, headed up by Chef Scott Mickelson. The casual California eatery offers locally-sourced seafood and produce with starters from sweet corn clam chowder with crispy shallots and golden potatoes, to entreés from seafood pasta with clams, mussels, rock shrimp, farmers market veggies and lobster sauce.

Fairmont, Grand Del Mar

Designed by architect Addison Mizner (whose other projects include beach communities such as Boca Raton, FL), The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is appointed with 249 guest rooms outfitted by San Francisco–based design team Warren Sheets, four swimming pools, an equestrian center, an 18-hole golf course, and a 21,000-square-foot spa with unique offerings conceived by acclaimed spa consultant, Anne Bramhan. Choose from a detoxifying Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatment designed to reduce inflammation, or an herbal salt scrub with hints of rosemary and sage with a Vichy shower.

West Inn & Suites


For lunch or dinner on the way in or out of town, stop by restaurant Bistro West at this boutique property in Carlsbad replete with 86 rooms. Sign up for a complimentary private tour (some led by Chef Jeff Campagna) of the hotel’s 3-acre off-site farm, The West Farm, to see produce used for the eatery’s farm to table offerings. Menu items range from starters such as roasted beet salad with farm fresh red and golden beets, apples and walnuts, to the hearth-fired West Farm veggie pizza with seasonal vegetables, arugula pesto and goat cheese.

Pier South Resort, Imperial Beach


Located approximately 14 miles from downtown San Diego in Imperial Beach, this new silver LEED-certified eco-resort is equipped with 78 rooms with 300-count linens, 42’ flat screen televisions, and private balconies. For an in-depth look at the nearby landscape and local birdlife, take a guided tour with a naturalist, or spend the day lounging poolside by the outdoor swimming pool. At the on-site spa, choose from tropical-inspired treatments from the hydrating Polynesian Noni wrap with a coconut milk massage.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa


Voted one of the top 100 spas by Condé Nast Traveler, the resort’s 7,050-square-foot spa is the perfect excuse to step away from the office for the day. Offering inventive treatments inspired from around the globe from Bali to Hawaii and Thailand, guests can choose from menu items such as the Island Origins, which commences with a guided tour of the property’s botanicals used for the treatment, followed by a massage, and a new garden courtyard and whirlpool tub. The spa also offers a new series of three Hydra facials with healing LED light for glowing skin. 

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