The jetset’s best-kept secret for luxury vacation getaways, San Diego’s tonier neighborhoods of La Jolla,Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe welcome well-heeled visitors to discover the region’s finest hotels, resorts, spas and other offerings. Equally alluring, the temperate Mediterranean climate, averaging 70 degrees year-round, and 70 miles of picturesque Pacific coastline put San Diego in a travel and leisure class all its own. Add in gourmet dining and a diverse range of exclusive activities—from world-renowned golf and exciting safaris to Tony® Award-winning theater—and this vacation gem gleams even brighter.
- The Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego’s most luxurious destination resort, shinesas Forbes Travel Guide’s only triple Five-Star resort in California, along with other impressive recognitions including TripAdvisor’s #1 Luxury Hotel in California and recipient of AAA’s Five Diamond Award for six years running.
The 249-room resort offers plush accommodations and unrivaled amenities including a championship golf course, an award-winning 21,000-sq.-ft. full-service spa, acclaimed restaurants, an equestrian center offering trail rides through Los Peñasquitos Canyon and four sparkling swimming pools. Built on 24-acres nestled amid rolling fairways and manicured greens, the buildings radiate the romance and elegance of a Mediterranean estate with a Southern California flair featuring an exotic mix of Spanish, Portuguese, Moroccan, and Venetian elements with fine art, antiques and beautifully handcrafted details.
- La Valencia Hotel has long delighted guests with 112 sumptuous guestrooms and villas—including the new ICON Sky Suite, the pinnacle of panache—perched atop La Jolla Cove. Overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean, the trademark pink facade and distinctive mosaic-tiled tower have become landmarks within walking distance of elegant art galleries, boutiques and museums. La V’s MED: Ocean View Restaurant and Café La Rue delight the most discerning diners amidst Mediterranean-inspired splendor. Since opening its doors in 1926, “The Pink Lady of La Jolla” has been a special hideaway for Hollywood stars seeking personalized attention, exceptional privacy and graciousness.
- Set on six-and-a-half acres in La Jolla, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and adjacent to the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is a luxury, AAA Five Diamond resort that combines the elegance of Craftsman-style design with rare amenities, such as guaranteed tee times for guests, complimentary chauffeured car service and daily guided walking tours of the pristine Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The resort features 170 luxury guestrooms, a full service spa, the acclaimed A.R. Valentien restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool with trellised cabanas.
- Nestled in the rolling hills of San Diego’s North County, the Rancho Bernardo Innfeatures 287 luxuriously appointed guestrooms, a recently renovated 18-hole championship golf course—host of both PGA and LPGA events—three swimming pools, an award-winning full-service spa and fine dining at Avant. Reminiscent of a Mediterranean estate, the resort's early California design, lush patios and alcoves include a variety of hand-collected antiquities from the Americas and Europe, creating a warm, inviting and relaxing retreat.
- One of the most famous luxury spas in the world, The Golden Door in San Diego’s bucolic North County earned the designation as the World’s Best Destination Spa in theTravel + Leisure 2015 World’s Best Awards. A jewel-encrusted entrance gate leads guests through courtyards of meditative gardens and fountains. The harmonious, Japanese-style facility envelops guests in a beautiful, health-promoting environment featuring exercise studios, the Dragon Tree Gym, swimming pools, tennis courts and a private hillside for hiking to the on-site restaurant where chefs prepare healthy gourmet meals with fresh ingredients from the spa’s organic gardens. The spa contains a steam room, sauna, showers, fan-shaped therapy pool and sequestered rooms for body scrubs and herbal wraps. With a clientele that includes the very famous and ultra-rich, the Golden Door has earned a reputation for exclusivity, luxury and unparalleled relaxation and rejuvenation.
- Named one of the Top 25 Spas in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler, the Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn offers a luxurious menu of massages, treatments and body wraps which can be experienced in a lush garden oasis or five temperature-controlled outdoor treatment cabanas. Guests can also enjoy a 2,500-sq.-ft. saltwater pool and private poolside cabanas. With a focus on seasonal ingredients, the spa’s customized “Made Fresh Daily” spa package includes a special “spa at home” body treatment recipe from the spa therapist and a recipe from their culinary expert.
- Ranked a “Four-Star” spa by Forbes Magazine (2015), the feng shui-inspired, 9,500-sq.-ft.Spa at Torrey Pines utilizes marine and botanical-based products for its therapeutic treatments, like the signature Coastal Sage Scrub, reflecting the spa’s magnificent seaside location next to the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The spa also offers an extensive menu of massages, facials, rituals, body wraps and hydrotherapy, as well as three exquisite lounges and facilities for dry saunas, herbal-infused steam baths and aromatherapy.
- Inspired by La Jolla’s serene coastal setting, the 7,000-sq.-ft. Spa at Estancia is a garden oasis where California flair combines with Mediterranean and Asian influences. Recognized by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top spas in the world (2012), the spa’s signature treatments include botanical body treatments, a Hanakasumi Body Ritual inspired by Japanese traditions, a SeaCreation Facial utilizing extracts of deep sea microorganisms and green algae and an exclusive Couple’s Bungalow Escape in a private bungalow complete with a deck, fireplace and whirlpool. Additional spa amenities include a meditation garden, saltwater whirlpools and soothing eucalyptus steam rooms.
- The San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers several VIP experiences, including a tailored 5 to 8-hour Ultimate Safari ($599-$999 per person) that includes access to the most exclusive areas of the park, up-close animal encounters and a personal tour guide. The park also offers Roar & Snore Safari, a thrilling “glamping” adventure where guests overnight in a luxury tent ($220 per person) surrounded by the sights and sounds of wildlife. The sleepover includes camp activities, after-hours wildlife viewing, guided walks, a campfire program, dinner and breakfast the following morning. Shutterbugs love theCaravan Safari Deluxe ($165 per person), a 3.5-hour tour of several field enclosures from the back of an open-air safari truck, with up-close views of Asian and African birds and mammals and an opportunity to feed giraffes.
- The new Sky Combat Ace offers extreme air adventures where guests zip into flight suits and take the controls of high-performance stunt planes to experience aerial dogfights and wild aerobatic flights of non-stop spins, barrel rolls and loops high above the San Diego coast. Experiences range from the Top Gun ($599 per passenger) and signature Sky Combat ($999 per passenger) to Operation Red Flag ($1999 per passenger), the ultimate fighter pilot flight. For the faint of heart, there’s the tamer San Diego Tour of the coast ($499 per passenger).
- Fly like a seagull over La Jolla at the Torrey Pines Gliderport, America’s most popular coastal soaring site. Take a tandem paragliding ($175 per person) or hang gliding ($225 per person) flight at the world’s largest tandem operation with professional, experienced instructors. Enjoy sensational bird’s eye views of dramatic coastal cliffs and the Torrey Pines Golf Course, as well as the stunning mansion homes of La Jolla. Paragliding is the more prevalent of the two activities and allows guests to fly in a more diverse range of conditions.
- Corporate Helicopters provides another exceptional and exciting way to view San Diego’s beaches, bays and landmarks. Notable tours include the aptly-namedUnforgettable ($455 per couple) tour flying over San Diego Bay, Point Loma, Mission Bay, Mission Beach and La Jolla, and the Surf & Turf ($649 per couple), which includes everything on The Unforgettable plus the scenic countryside of Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo and Miramar Air Station.
Two exclusive tour packages include the Winery Lunch flight ($1175 per couple) along the coast from La Jolla Shores to Solana Beach, then inland to Temecula for a wine tasting tour, and the Stone Brewing Flight ($875 per couple) over La Jolla, Miramar Air Station, Black Mountain, Lake Hodges and Escondido, home of Stone Brewing Co. World Bistro & Gardens, where guests enjoy a guided brewery tour and craft beer tasting.
- Guests can drift through the clouds in a hot air balloon ride while sipping champagne and enjoying panoramic views of San Diego. Floating up to 3,000 feet on a clear day, San Diego’s inland North County is among a few places in the world where a balloon can fly both at sunrise and sunset due to perfect wind conditions. A Balloon Adventure by California Dreaming offers a Temecula wine country sunrise flight ($148-168 per person) including breakfast and champagne at Vindemia Winery, and a Del Mar coastal sunset flight ($268 per person) including champagne. Private hot air balloon rides are also available, starting at $690 per couple.
- Experience the thrill of America's Cup sailing aboard Stars & Stripes USA-11, the yacht raced by Dennis Conner during the 1992 race. America’s Cup Sailing San Diego offers exhilarating, interactive 3-hour cruises ($120 per person) considered the ultimate in sailing adventure. Grind the winches to help raise and trim the sails, take turns at the helm or just enjoy the views around San Diego Bay aboard one of the fastest and most famous sailboats in the world.
- At La Jolla’s world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, site of the annual Farmers Insurance Open (Jan. 28-31, 2016) and prestigious 2008 and 2021 U.S. Open, golfers marvel at stunning views of the coastline atop cliffs towering above the Pacific Ocean. Long recognized as one of the nation's foremost municipal golf facilities, Torrey Pines is truly a golfer’s paradise—and on every golf lover’s bucket list.
- The Grand Golf Club at The Fairmont Grand Del Mar, an 18-hole, Tom Fazio-designed golf course set amidst Los Peñasquitos Canyon, is a masterpiece of dramatic elevations, diverse bunkering and lush fairways designed to maximize the natural beauty of the surrounding rolling hillsides. Reserved exclusively for Fairmont Grand Del Mar guests, this challenging and unforgettable course offers instruction with PGA pros and a handsome clubhouse to relax after hitting the links.
- The quaint village of Del Mar, an upscale community just north of La Jolla, is known nationally and internationally for its Del Mar Thoroughbred Club—founded and made popular by Hollywood legend Bing Crosby—and its summer (July-September) and fall (October-November) horseracing seasons. Opening day in July attracts San Diego’s well-heeled crowd and celebrities alike, displaying fabulous hats and finery.
- The San Diego Polo Club, situated adjacent to Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego’s most exclusive enclave, encompasses five world-class class polo fields on 60 acres of land. The San Diego polo season, a vibrant part of San Diego’s social scene, is one of the longest playing seasons in the country. Matches occur every Sunday, June through September, and feature some of the world’s finest polo players and horses.
- Named one of the Top 10 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the U.S. by Epicurious.com, A.R. Valentien in The Lodge at Torrey Pines serves a menu of seasonal provisions from local farmers’ markets, small growers, ranchers and fishermen. Chef Jeff Jackson emphasizes basic ingredients, minimal handling and simple flavors that make for delectable tastings in a craftsman-style dining room. The restaurant’s weekly communal Artisan Table, set on the outdoor terrace overlooking the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean, features a masterful four-course dinner paired with wines selected by the chefs. In between courses, guests meet the chefs and discuss the evening’s menu. Cost is $95 per person.
- The award-winning Marine Room at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club has been a local landmark on La Jolla Shores since 1941. Waves crashing outside the windows provide a dramatic backdrop for Executive Chef Bernard Guillas’ sophisticated seafood, steak and other fare featuring global influences and seasonal offerings. Chef Guillas is one of only two Maîtres Cuisiniers de France in San Diego.
- Southern California's only Five-Star/Five Diamond restaurant, helmed by Relais and Châteaux Grand Chef William Bradley, Addison in The Fairmont Grand Del Mar features an artisanal approach to cooking, combining local ingredients with contemporary French influences. Enjoy an exquisite seasonal menu paired with a Grand Award-winning wine list of nearly 3,600 selections. Addison’s Le Grand Table, one of the Top 10 Chef’s Tables in the U.S. (Forbes.com), provides guests with an intimate dining experience personally presided over by Bradley in a private dining room. The chefs present each course and discuss the dish while the sommelier presents carefully selected wine pairings. Available for up to 14 guests, the cost is $2,500 minimum.
- La Jolla Playhouse, one of San Diego’s two Tony® Award-winning theaters, presents bold and innovative productions throughout the year on the University of California San Diego campus in La Jolla. Previous Playhouse hits that went on to Broadway include the Tony® Award-winning musicals “Peter and the Star Catchers” (2012), “Memphis” (2010) and “Jersey Boys” (2006).
- La Jolla Music Society showcases a dazzling array of the world's most distinguished orchestras, soloists and ensembles performing in several venues around La Jolla and San Diego during a Winter Season and the popular, nationally-recognized SummerFest.
- Set overlooking the dramatic La Jolla coastline, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego displays modern masterpieces and multi-media exhibits by some of the world’s most renowned contemporary artists. Nearby, the spectacular Murals of La Jolla feature large-scale public murals by internationally-renowned artists.
- La Jolla’s Prospect Street, one of San Diego’s most desirable shopping districts, calls to mind both the French Riviera and Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive. This exclusive avenue overlooks the ocean and is lined with small specialty shops, boutiques, antique emporiums, art galleries and exquisite jewelry stores.
- Cedros Design District, running the length of Cedros Ave. in Solana Beach, features 85 luxury home décor and design shops, as well as art galleries and boutique shops offering fashionable women’s apparel, accessories for the pampered pet and decadent gifts for family and friends. Cedros is also home to many renowned architects, builders, designers and interior decorators.
- Fashion Valley shopping center, a two-level, open-air complex in Mission Valley, spans 1.7 million square feet of space and boasts more than 200 fine specialty shops and luxury brands like Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Gucci, Hermés and Henri Bendel.