Picture Perfect: The Grand Del Mar

“Please.”
“No.”
“…please..”
“No.”

 ***

Waking up Saturday morning, the gorgeous sunshine peeking through the blinds and the warm weather seeping through the open windows, I was reminded why I love Southern California so much. It was only 7:30am and already a seemingly perfect day outside.

Dave and I got up, chowed down some eggs and then headed to the beach. Whenever I’m down visiting, one of our favorite activities includes grabbing a coffee and chai from Kona’s then walking the seaside to wake up our bodies and minds. The fresh ocean air, paired with the spicy chai tea and the good conversation is the best way to wake a person up if you ask me. I would love nothing more than to start every morning off this way.

After a few hours, strolling up and down the beach, watching the children play in the sand, surfers catch a wave and catching up on the newest ideas rambling through our minds we decided to head back to the apartment. Dave had informed me that I should shower, put on a decently nice outfit, pack a small bag and get ready to go in an hour or so. Perplexed I began to ask many questions trying to pry for more information. Strong willed as he was, he wouldn’t say anything just informed me what to bring with. I love surprises but I’m the worst at receiving them. I just want to know everything, all the time. I have a hard time understanding patience and just want to know as much information as I can.

“Please.”

“No.”

“…please..”

“No, and if you keep asking this drive isn’t going to be very fun.”

I’m probably so irritating sometimes, ha. Onto the I-5 we jumped, me asking questions and asking for hints the entire time. Only a few miles we were already turning off which threw me off a little bit. Winding through the hot, Southern California hills we passed a sign that read, “The Grand Del Mar” with signs pointing in various directions for the Golf Club, Resort & Spa and Club. Dave turned to me and told me that this was one of the finest hotels in North America, The Grand Del Mar, and that we were spending the day there, exploring and relaxing. 19 - IMG_9516

From the moment we pulled up, I felt like we were in a fabulous far away land. The stunning Spanish influenced architecture was the perfect backdrop to the bold and bright spring flowers that were popping up around the land. We rolled up to the front door and were immediately greeted by three or four employees. Opening my door for me, they were right there, in our faces, making sure we had everything we needed. “Welcome to the Grand Del Mar, Ma’am” I felt like I was some fabulous, rich person rather than just your average mid-twenties lady.

The warm SoCal sun beat down and a slight, cool breeze made an absolute perfect Saturday. The BellMan held the door open for us, and we walked inside one of the most breathtaking hotels I have ever seen. This was no ordinary stay- as it’s name suggests, it was grand. Right away, you are greeted by a three-foot tall spring arrangement of roses, lilies and tulips. Fully bloomed in yellows, pinks and lavenders I didn’t believe they were real. They were seemingly too picture perfect to be real- similar to the hotel itself.

Marble floors, gold trimmings, diamond and crystal chandeliers the hotel lobby was definitely something for the eyes. Making our way to the front desk, the staff was very polite and on top of their game. They don’t joke around with service at a hotel as grand and the Grand. Since we were a bit early, our room wasn’t ready so we were given an access key to the pools. Wanting to take advantage of the warm temperatures and bright sunshine, we wasted no time walking around the property and exploring what the resort had to offer.

13 - IMG_9501I thought that San Diego was already paradise and had no idea there was a piece of paradise inside paradise. The Grand Del Mar was completely breathtaking in every way. From the adult only pool, the family pool, the gardens, tennis courts, horse stables, golf course, spa and restaurants the place was built to ensure people of every background and need for relaxation would be met. I immediately was captivated by the Spanish influenced architecture. I love the way the shapes and the burnt orange compliment and contrast the bright blue California sky. The picture perfect resort made for stunning backdrops- I never wanted to leave.

After exploring, we made our way to the adult only relaxation pool. No phones or loud noises were allowed and it was perfect after a stressful week up in Seattle. It felt like it had been forever since I had felt the sun kiss my skin and warm up my entire body. Drifting in and out sleep- it was the perfect afternoon snoozing by the pool. Just as it had been the case during check in- the pool staff was always around, ensuring each guest had whatever they desired. A complete menu of drinks and hors d’oeuvres was offered to guests along with a selection of reading materials.

04 - IMG_9438Our room was incredible, just as the rest of the hotel it was stunning, large, posh and fancy. Marble in the bathroom, wine in the bedroom, a porch that over looks the pool area, and my personal favorite- the most comfortable robes and slippers- ha! Dave and I agreed that we would live here if we could. From the moment you walked into the room- it felt more like walking in to a small apartment. There was more than enough space for two people, which made it feel very comfortable, and at home.

When we returned to our room after a delicious Italian dinner and ice cream, there were rose petals and chocolates laid out on the bed. How sweet. We decided to spend the evening beneath the stars, drinking wine out by the fire pit. The thing about the West Coast that people don’t understand until they are here is just how cool the evenings can get. In Minnesota in the summertime you can run around in shorts and not even blink an eye. Out here on the West Coast when the sun goes down, the breeze from the ocean swoops in and sends shivers down your spine. The fire was much needed if we were going to be outside, well, the wine didn’t hurt either. I love simple moments like this- counting the stars, watching for constellations, sipping a fine wine and just talking about life with someone special. Moments where you want to freeze time, and just stay in that moment for a little longer. You never want to let it go because it’s too perfect. It’s moments like this that I try to hold close and re-live when the good times fall to dark times.

***

The next morning, Easter, neither one of us particularly wanted to  leave. It was another beautiful day and the resort was hopping with families dressed in their Sunday Best. Resort employees were hiding eggs all over, preparing for the children’s Easter hunt. Dave and I wandered down to spend some time looking at the horses and trying to soak in just a little more time in this breathtaking piece of paradise.

Soon, hunger got the best of us and Pacific Beach was calling our names. We checked out and bid our farewells to the Grand Del Mar. Vowing to be back, someday, it was a little bittersweet to leave. Feeling like we were in a far off and magical destination we were once again faced with reality. However, when your reality means spending Easter Sunday at the beach- life isn’t so bad.

Another happy day from the sunshine in SoCal. 🙂

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