There’s something refreshing about San Diego, with its diverse neighborhoods, world-class beaches, and pristine weather. It’s one of California’s largest cities but seems so intimate. You can seemingly get from anywhere to anywhere else in 30 minutes or less.

The question is: Where would you like to go? The restaurants and nightlife in the Gaslamp and Little Italy? Hiking, whale watching, the museums, theater, and open spaces in Balboa Park? Take your time, you don’t have to decide right now.

Luxury at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

My first stop was the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, a great jumping-off point for all things San Diego. The resort is just a few miles from the beach at the southern end of what the locals call “north county.”

The Grand makes good use of its 400 acres. There’s an award-winning golf course, tennis, Tuscan-inspired gardens, several heated pools, hiking, fitness centers, and a spa. After a day of activities, be sure to visit the clubhouse grill for lunch and enjoy a refreshing margarita or glass of white wine paired with their delicious tuna poke bowl. For breakfast or dinner, make a reservation at Amaya restaurant for California bistro cuisine in a glamorous Old
World setting.

The resort features 249 rooms and suites. The standard rooms are already large at 500 square feet. If you need more space, there are a wide range of suites, from the 1,000-square-foot Prado to the 2,840-square-foot Presidential. All the rooms have terraces and tremendous views.

The Center for Wellbeing spa is a city unto itself with 11 treatment rooms. One of Forbes’ 5-star spas, the center offers a great selection of treatments, either combined or à la carte, including massages, mineral muds, herbs, and botanicals.

The Grand is literally immersed in nature. The Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve offers 4,100 acres for hiking, biking, and riding. By the way, if horseback riding is your passion (or you’re just curious to try), the resort features a complete equestrian center with a variety of lessons and programs for all riders.

Year-round golf on the beautiful courses of Fairmont Grand Del

Beaches, Shopping, Dining

There are more beaches than we can list in this article, including Torrey Pines State Beach, Coronado Beach, and Ocean Beach.

Naturally, you’ll want to visit La Jolla, with its restaurants, shops, and beaches. Take a surfing class at La Jolla Shores or snorkel, but don’t forget your wetsuit. The water can be pretty chilly.

Pendry Gaslamp Quarter
Balboa Park

Urban Oasis at Pendry Hotel

Pendry San Diego

If your tastes veer more toward cityscapes, I recommend a stay at Pendry San Diego, a new, modern, luxury hotel. Born into the lineage of Montage Hotels & Resorts, each Pendry expresses the spirit of its locale. Pendry San Diego is perfectly located in the Gaslamp Quarter, a short walk from San Diego Bay, the Convention Center, Petco Park, the USS Midway Museum, and the ferry to Coronado.

Pendry’s design is impressive—a beautiful balance between modern and traditional. The hotel has 317 guest rooms, including 36 suites. During my visit, I stayed in a “Grand King” with a very comfy bed, living room, and separate bathtub and shower cabin. The room also featured an impressive wet bar for food and drinks, plus a separate desk area perfect for writing or working remotely.

Pendry San Diego Grand King Guest Room

The hotel also features a spa and a collection of restaurants and bars. Enjoy dinner at Pendry’s Lionfish, which offers modern coastal cuisine. You won’t want to miss the spacious Poolhouse Bar. Relax on a chaise lounge, order a signature cocktail, and soak up the dramatic city views. For brunch, grab a seat at Provisional Kitchen, an airy restaurant-marketplace hybrid where food is served from an open kitchen. Get cozy and start with their delicious coffee or tea and cinnamon roll beignets. For the next dish, I recommend their wood-fired breakfast pizza with bacon, aged pecorino, spinach, and over-easy eggs.

For dining outside Pendry, visitors can easily find more choices within walking distance than you could experience in a month-long stay. 

Downtown San Diego is a happening place; you’ll have plenty to do. During baseball season, catch the Padres at Petco Park, acknowledged as one of the finest ballparks anywhere. Explore Balboa Park and the numerous museums, performing arts venues, gardens, trails, and many other attractions.

San Diego offers everything you could possibly want for a relaxing vacation: outdoor activities, restaurants, culture, history, sports. You name it. 

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