The Grand Del Mar is California’s only triple Five-Star resort, it is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, and it’s a grand escape for two or more families. Awarded Forbes’ Five Stars for hotel, spa and dining, the San Diego resort is a top destination for a getaway with another family – for many “make-everyone-happy” reasons.
If you think about it, a lot of vacation checklists have to align to get 10-12 people on the same sabbatical page. Is it a prime locale for both families? Do they have activities for everyone—from tot to teen to parents? Will there be enough room for everyone and everything? Is there dining all can agree on—for children, vegetarians or those perhaps gluten-free? And so on.
What makes the Grand Del Mar such a charmed co-family getaway is the exquisite nature of the resort (named one of the “World’s Best Places To Stay” by Condé Nast Traveler), and its breadth of experiences for everyone individually. For the kids, there’s the Equestrian Center, a cool-factor pool with underwater music and the Explorer’s Club. There’s the spa, championship golf and tennis for parents. Plus, everyone can enjoy a waterfall hike, beach escape and the grand grounds of the resort. Add to all that, the proximity of boutique shopping and dining in Del Mar and La Jolla, both of which are just an Escalade-coach ride away, and the totality is hard to surpass.
The resort is glamorous and elegant with old-world Mediterranean escapism inspired by architect Addison Mizner, who designed with Spain’s palaces and France’s coastal retreats in mind. Marbled entries and dramatic fountains accent the resort, yet families are welcomed at the front desk with toy chests of treasure and warm cookies. Everything is grand in scale from breezy interiors to lavish lobby lounges to the restaurants, so you never feel like you’re bumping into each other as a large group traveling together.
Accommodations at the Grand Del Mar (with 249 rooms) invite you to stretch out and completely relax. Suites, such as the stunning yet family-friendly Palazzo Suite, offer layouts including a 2,050 square-feet floorplan with a master bedroom, parlor with fireplace and dining for eight, a kitchen area, two queen beds for the children, three bathrooms, and three stunning ground patios or sweeping balconies. It’s quite spectacular. There are dressers, armoires and drawers galore for everyone’s clothing and gear, so a family can fully unpack and settle in as though they are at home. It’s fun for families to join one another in their suites too for an evening board game, movie night, or even have the kids plan a pal-sleepover. The suites and the resort overall allow families the space to relax, yet still have room and time to themselves.
A favorite co-family hangout is the 10,000-square-foot Aria Lawn. It’s regal, palatial and relaxed. Just a call to the Concierge, and you’ll have a croquet game setup or horseshoes arranged for play whenever you like. With the backdrop of the pavilion and views of the resort’s golf course and 4,100-acre Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, the Lawn makes for a enchanting time before dinner. The grand, open spaces of the grounds are really quite extraordinary. You’ll also find many smaller, intimate spots to casually relax in Adirondack chairs while warmed by firepits at night.
You can saddle up the kids (over 7-years old) for a trail ride or choose a pony ride for tots. The stables are just below the pool area, yet it feels like you’ve ventured far away with the white-picket fences and loose dirt kicking up. Even first-time young riders are welcome to hop on and will be well taken care of by seasoned guides who will walk the horses if needed.
While the kids ride or play at the children’s Explorer’s Club, parents can hit the Tom Fazio-designed golf course or the award-winning spa. The Spa at the Grand Del Mar is one of only 30 Five-Star spas in the country. A stellar treatment to get is the regenerative Grand Masterpiece Facial, which is performed at only two other spas in the U.S. The anti-aging treatment combines a detoxifying kaolin clay mask with vitamin E and an acerola extract mask, rich in vitamin C. After any treatment, there is plenty of space for you to melt away in the 21,000-square-foot spa with lovely lounge areas, canopied chairs and a toasty fireplace. There’s also a Wet Room area, as well as an outdoor Relaxation Pool.
Kids will dive into the fun with their friends at the main pool with the underwater music and vanishing edges. They can also play at a smaller pool area, which two families can often have all to themselves. Poolside cuisine includes a children’s menu with PB&J, pizza and more.
When it comes to resort dining, Amaya is perfect for families. It’s American cuisine with Mediterranean influences. You can dine indoors for a refined evening or dine al fresco under the terrace; its gives you a sense that you could be off the coasts of Spain, Italy or France. Amaya offers Vegetarian and gluten-free menus, as well as a children’s menu, so it really is possible to please all. Afterwards, everyone can move to the patio firepits for some hot cocoa, brownies and crème brulee—a sweet end to a truly grand co-family time at the luxurious Grand Del Mar.
Current Grand Life Packages are available with daily rates from $366. Year-round guestroom rates start from $395 with suites rates ranging from the Prado Suite at $795 to the Manchester Suite from $4,900.