When you’re looking for a luxury experience on your next trip to Southern California, set your sights on Fairmont Grand Del Mar resort in San Diego. It’s one of the few Forbes Fifteen-Star properties in the world, a AAA Five-Diamond recipient, and a top pick of mine for San Diego luxury hotels.
The reason is that this centrally-located, 400-acre Mediterranean estate offers no shortage of luxury amenities including a world-class spa, four outdoor pools, six tantalizing dining options, an 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed golf course, complimentary luxury car service, and even an equestrian center. You’ll also find tennis courts, fitness and yoga classes, and a supervised kids’ club. It’s an excellent choice for couples and families alike.
In addition to sharing how to choose a room, what the location is like, activities you may enjoy, and frequently asked questions, you’ll see that there are big perks to booking through me as a Virtuoso guest. Some offerings mentioned in my review are temporarily modified. (If you book through Fairmont or Virtuoso through links in this post, I may be compensated.)
Check-In as a Virtuoso Guest
Through me, you can book in as a Virtuoso guest to have the following amenities added to your room or suite:
*The desktop version of Virtuoso.com is where you’ll search rates and book online. To enable the desktop version from a mobile device, after clicking on a Virtuoso hotel link, scroll down to the navy blue section at the bottom of the web page and click “Full Site.” When searching rates on Virtuoso, do not input children ages 17 and under as they will be priced as adults. I’m notified when you book and will add them when I contact you about your reservation. You can also use my form to request rates.
WHAT I LOVE
- Central East Del Mar location with easy freeway access
- Supervised Explorer’s Club for kids ages 5-12
- Saturday morning naturalist-guided hikes
- Four pools, including an adults-only pool and a children’s wading pool
- Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course
- Forbes Five-Star spa (with 2 hours of kids’ club use)
- Large and lavish accommodations starting at 500 square feet
- Equestrian Center with rides, pony rides, and riding lessons
- Stellar service from the front desk to housekeeping
- Chocolate covered Oreos with turndown service
- Virtuoso amenities
GOOD TO KNOW
- Location in East Del Mar, about 15 minutes to the beach
- The Grand Beach service takes guests to the beach with umbrellas and chairs
- $49 daily resort fee (usually charged at checkout)
- Complimentary self-parking$ / 45 daily valet parking
- $40 per night fee for rollaway beds (cribs are complimentary)
- Courtesy transportation to Del Mar, La Jolla, and Solana Beach with reservation 24 hours in advance (subject to availability)
- Excellent ability to accommodate special requests
Which Fairmont Grand Del Mar Hotel Room or Suite Should You Choose?
Fairmont Grand Del Mar (which you will also hear referred to as simply The Grand Del Mar) provides 249 elegantly-appointed guestrooms and suites with expansive terraces or balconies.
Each offers extraordinary views of the resort’s gorgeous gardens, Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, or the picturesque golf course.
Design features include arched doorways, stately pillars, white French doors, and beautiful, handcrafted, dark-wood furniture. These design features are highlighted by regal navy blue, cream, taupe, and gold fabrics, finishes, and trims on furniture and accessories.
Each guest room and suite provides the following comforts and amenities:
- Pillow-top beds with goose-down pillows
- 40-inch LCD televisions
- Private bars with minibar areas
- Large work desks with oversized chairs
- In-room laptop safes
- Nespresso coffee machines and tea kettles
- Alarms clocks, hairdryers, irons, and ironing boards
- Free WiFi included in your resort fee
- Daily services include 24-hour in-room dining, overnight shoeshine, twice-daily housekeeping including turndown service, and daily delivery of your choice of select newspapers
- Spacious marble bathrooms include European-inspired deep soaking tubs, separate showers, dual sinks, and wall-mounted 13-inch LCD televisions
- En suites offer plush 100% cotton, Italian-woven bathrobes, towels, and slippers, and exclusively designed luxury bath products by Red Flower
- Additional amenities also available upon request when you book are DVD players, refrigerators, microwaves, rollaway beds, bed boards, and umbrellas
TIPS FOR LARGE FAMILIESFamilies of five can fit into the suites with a rollaway bed. Queen/Queen to King connecting rooms as well as suite to room configurations create even more space.
Offering 500-550 square feet of space, thoughtfully appointed Fairmont Rooms are located on the first and third floors.
You can choose a king bed or two queen beds, and they’ll come with a view of either Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve or the undulating resort golf course from your patio or terrace.
UPGRADE TO DELUXE VERANDAOne of the Virtuoso benefits is an upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability.
Deluxe Veranda Rooms
Deluxe Veranda Rooms provide 550 square feet of space with attached balconies overlooking the verdant beauty of the resort’s well-manicured grounds or the Relaxation Pool.
They are located on floors two and three and offer you the choice of one king bed or two queen beds.
Signature Poolside Room (Adults Only)
In the mood for a quiet retreat away? Consider staying in one of the Signature Poolside Rooms. Situated on the first floor, these rooms are the resort’s adults-only accommodations. With 550 square feet of space, they feature expansive patios overlooking the adults-only Relaxation Pool.
These guestrooms come with a king bed and step-out access to the pool from the terrace. These rooms are very popular for couples getaways.
If you’re looking for more space, consider a Prado Suite. These suites offer 1,000 square feet of space with separate living and sleeping areas. The private bedroom includes one king bed with lavish dual master en suites.
The connecting parlor features a pull-out sofa sleeper, antique coffee table, large work desk, and comfortable chair/ottoman nook.
Prado Suites are located on floors two and three and provide incredible views of the Relaxation Pool and lush resort grounds.
POPULAR WITH SMALL FAMILIESI book this a lot for families who want more space and a separate living room. Based on the room’s layout, an additional rollaway bed is a tight fit with the sofa bed expanded, but it’s possible.
Toscana Suites (Top Pick)
My personal favorite is the Toscana Suite. With 1,100 square feet of space, Toscana Suites are spacious and comfortable with separate sleeping and living areas.
They’re a great option if you’re traveling with multiple kids or extended family. Bedrooms include a king bed, large work desk, elegant dresser, and a small sitting area with French doors leading to a small patio or balcony.
The living space features a six-person dining table, stone fireplace, elegant built-in bookshelf, and expansive seating area with a pull-out sofa sleeper.
Located on floors one and three, these rooms offer scenic views of the golf course. You can also fit a rollaway bed into these suites.
The most family-friendly accommodations, Palazzo Suites offer 1,500 square feet of living space with the choice of one, two, or three bedrooms. All overlook the resort grounds.
These suites provide an expansive living area with a stately stone fireplace, plush pull-out sofa sleeper, two built-in bookshelves, and rustic oversized brown leather chairs.
An adjacent dining area has an eight-person dining table. Located on floors one and three, Palazzo Suites also include a small kitchenette, and two balconies or patios.
Manchester Presidential Suites
If having lots of space to sprawl out appeals to you, then these are the suites for you. Located on the second and third floors, Manchester Presidential Suites boast a whopping 2,840 square feet of space with picturesque views of the landscaped resort grounds and golf course.
There are only two of these suites, and each offers a lavish living room with two comfortable couches, two cozy chairs, a magnificent stone fireplace, a study, outdoor seating (balcony off of the living room has a stone fireplace), and a large eight-person dining table with adjacent butler’s pantry and powder room.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar Villas
The most lavish resort accommodations are the stylish, luxury villas. Offering an idyllic home-away-from-home setting, villas feature the same design, décor, and upscale amenities as the guestrooms and suites, plus an extensive number of exclusive perks.
Upgraded amenities include the use of a personal golf cart, unlimited rounds of golf at the Grand Golf Club for adults, and unlimited access to the Explorer’s Club for kids ages five to 12.
You will also have unlimited use of The Grand Beach Service, and free roundtrip transportation to and from San Diego airports including Palomar, Carlsbad, and San Diego International Airport.
Villa guests receive one executive chef choice amenity daily, a personalized welcome gift, two floral arrangements, resort-wide business internet access, and personalized stationery. The villas wine, water, organic iced teas, and soft drinks are replenished daily. Complimentary pressing services are also available.
In addition, you will receive a curbside greeting upon arrival and a personal escort to your villa where you will check-in and check-out. Resort staff will unpack and repack your luggage upon request. There are two villa options to choose from — Villa Brisa (4500 square feet) and Villa Loggia (4,900-5,000 square feet of space).
On-Site Restaurants and Lounges
Now that you’ve decided on what kind of room you’d like to reserve during your stay, it’s time to discover all of the incredible on-site dining options. My Fairmont Grand Del Mar review also includes all you need to know about dining at the Mediterranean-style resort.
There are six dining options at the resort, including their signature French restaurant, Addison where you’ll indulge in elegant fine dining.
From contemporary cuisine to casual fare to gourmet coffees and crafted cocktails, there’s a dining option to fit your every mood. All feature seasonal menus and nightly music.
The resort goes beyond restaurant dining with some foodie related experiences like afternoon tea, cooking classes, and wine events. Two kids’ dining programs provide complimentary dining for those five and younger, and half-price for older kids ages six to 12 at select resort restaurants.
Addison is San Diego’s only Michelin-star dining experience. With nearly 40 culinary and wine awards under their belt, including Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef, Addison is where haute cuisine becomes a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Artfully prepared dishes are served course by course at a paced tempo for a dining experience that’s elevated by an elegant ambience. Expect an artisanal cooking approach with French influences using local and seasonal ingredients.
Amaya serves Italian-inspired cuisine in a refined, yet relaxed dining room, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can eat in the graceful dining room, or on the shaded terrace overlooking the golf course. Weekends bring a spectacular a la carte brunch menu with breakfast and lunch selections.
The Explorer-in-Training Dining Program for kids five and younger allows them to eat free when they order from Amaya’s children’s menu, or Amaya buffet. Kids six to 12 eat at half price here.
The Clubhouse Grill
For a more relaxed dining experience, The Clubhouse Grill is the resort’s answer. From early morning pre-golf energy smoothies to classic full breakfasts, this restaurant starts the day right.
At lunch, approachable cuisine from the grill like burgers and sandwiches take center stage, and at night it’s all about SoCal-inspired tapas with specialty cocktails and craft beer.
Regular culinary events include 19th Hole Happy Hour, weekend brunch, and fall football fare. Kids six to 12 eat here for half price.
Cent’ Anni Café
Cent’ Anni, Italian for 100 years, is a gourmet cafe focused on aromatic espressos, organic iced teas, and breakfast light bites.
You can also stop in this warm and inviting space for soups, salads, sandwiches, and gelati. You’ll want to check for their daily specials and never miss an enticing treat.
This cafe is a great option when you need to grab something delicious on-the-go. Early flight, or tee time? Cent’ Anni opens at 6 a.m.
Lobby Lounge is an intimate and sophisticated space that’s perfect for relaxing with a handcrafted cocktail or specialty coconut water when you arrive.
The warm and elegant atmosphere includes a library with antique books at one end and a grand marble bar at the opposite end with a fireplace and comfortable seating in between.
You can also grab light bites here too like lobster tacos or West Coast oysters. There’s also live jazz and blues on Friday and Saturday nights.
You don’t even have to leave the resort for a glam night out. Club M is Fairmont Grand’s sizzling nightclub with an enticing mix of guest DJs and live music.
Dress to the nines and join the sophisticated crowd at Club M where music gets the party jumping. After dark, the Clubhouse Grill transforms into Club M where rhythmic music and themed parties encourage you to dance the night away. Expect quality crafted cocktails and small plates on offer.
Afternoon Tea, Poolside Dining, and In-Room Dining
Beyond the resort’s six dining and entertainment venues, other foodie amenities include Afternoon Tea on weekends in the Lobby Lounge. You’ll get a fresh pot of hot tea, or if you prefer, a glass of wine, plus scones, small pastries, and finger sandwiches. It’s offered from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday with a 24-hour advance reservation.
At the pool, you can order beverages from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and food from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Expect sandwiches, salads, and grilled favorites on the menu, plus fresh fruits, snacks, and ice cream. Poolside dining also includes a special kids’ menu.
Room service is available 24/7. It’s a great alternative to the resort restaurants for a private couple’s dinner, late-night bites after a night out, or breakfast for early-risers. In-room dining also includes a special kids’ menu.
The Forbes Five-Star Spa
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar spa is called The Center for Wellbeing which is among 60 spas across the globe with a Forbes Five-Star spa rating, so prepare to be pampered. It’s one of the best spas in San Diego.
The Spa offers a full menu of therapeutic treatments, plus beauty services at Haim Salon.
Spa amenities that come with a scheduled treatment include the use of the Fitness Center and yoga and fitness classes, two hours of the kids’ club, wet/dry saunas, indoor whirlpools, adults-only relaxation pool, men’s and women’s relaxation lounges, plus hot teas and handcrafted chocolates.
The Spa at Grand Del Mar also includes a fitness center that is open to resort guests 24 hours per da. It features Life Fitness treadmills with personal TVs, exercise bikes, weight machines, an elliptical machine, free weights, and stretching and exercise devices.
You can join in yoga and fitness classes, or arrange for a personal trainer who will create a personal program for you.
Fantastic Outdoor Swimming Pools
This resort has outdone itself when it comes to its pools. Soak up the sun at one of the four heated outdoor pools which feature underwater speakers, vanishing edges, and private cabanas to rent.
A lively poolside bar with a menu of light and delicious fare, refreshing cocktails, and flat-screen TVs has a fun and energetic vibe.
The main resort pool features most of the action. Expect a space with glowing fire pits, white-sand seating areas, and a children’s pool.
Another perk is the adults-only pool. Located near the spa, the Relaxation Pool is an adults-only retreat ideal for lounging in the sun and swimming after enjoying a luxurious spa treatment.
All of the pools are a comfortable 81 degrees, while the hot tubs stay at a steamy 102 degrees. Swim accessories are available for purchase including swim goggles, sunscreen, sunglasses, and arm floats.
The Championship Golf Course
Los Peñasquitos Canyon is the perfect setting for this Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole championship golf course, reserved only for members and hotel guests.
You can expect gorgeous, lush fairways, dramatic elevation changes, and an array of diverse bunkers. PGA certified instructors are available for one-on-one instruction.
There are junior rates and junior club rentals for kids too. Thirteen to 17-year-olds play for half-price, and kids 12 and under play free with an adult. Club fittings and a three-day Vision54 Golf School are also available.
Other golf amenities at Fairmont Grand include a 50,000-square-foot clubhouse, golf shop, practice facilities, forecaddies, equipment rental, and golf bag door-to-door shipping service.
Green fees include complimentary golf carts with GPS, forecaddie, yardage book, and bottled water.
Even More Fairmont Grand Del Mar Activities
At Fairmont Grand Del Mar, you’ll enjoy seasonal wine and food events, 37 miles of canyon trails, prostyle tennis courts, an equestrian center, and lots of fun, planned resort activities.
The ocean is a short drive away for all your open-water swimming and water sports needs, too.
The Equestrian Center at Fairmont Grand Del Mar offers guests epic trail rides through beautiful Los Peñasquitos Canyon.
There are also day camps and pony rides for kids, professional riding lessons, and other horse adventures for equestrian enthusiasts.
Mandatory helmets are provided and closed-toe shoes are required for trail rides and lessons. Personal sun protection is recommended.
Riders must be at least seven years old. Reservations are required 48 hours in advance. The Equestrian Center is closed on Mondays.
There are two professional-style tennis courts on the resort where you can play or take lessons. Fairmont Grand also provides instructional clinics and day camps for youth.
Parents can watch the action from the shaded tennis pavilion. Spectacular nature preserve views are a bonus.
Saturday Morning Hikes
Fairmont Grand Del Mar offers guests complimentary guided hikes through stunning Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve every Saturday morning. Call the concierge to reserve your spot.
The Grand Beach Service
The Grand Beach Service is the resort’s beach service that can now be arranged year-round (24 hours’ notice required) so that you can sunbathe on the pristine sand and swim in the Pacific Ocean.
This service includes roundtrip transportation to the 18th Street Del Mar beach and beach set-up with chairs, umbrellas, towels, and bottled water.
Explorer’s Club (Kids’ Club)
Explorer’s Club is for the exclusive use of guests ages 5 – 12. Kids can expect elevated arts and crafts projects to take home, movies, and all kinds of games from Wii, Xbox, and PlayStation to foosball, air hockey, and Ping-Pong.
It is one of the few supervised, year-round kids’ clubs in San Diego.
A massive state-of-the-art plasma Seawall mural offers interactive fun illuminating life under the sea. Kids younger than five can participate, too, when accompanied by an adult.
Plus, the resort can arrange babysitting for babies and younger kids should parents want to escape for a spa treatment or Michelin-star meal.
The holiday season is a fantastic time to book a stay at Fairmont Grand Del Mar. The annual Winter Wonderland at The Grand happens in the late afternoon and evenings with opportunities to see Santa, a champagne garden, Ferris wheel, carousel, s’more roasting, and many more festive activities.
Dogs Are Welcome
Up to two dogs weighing no more than 50 lbs. each are welcome to stay at this pet-friendly resort. A nonrefundable $150 cleaning fee applies. Travelers with dogs will be placed on the ground floor so it’s important to let the resort know before you arrive that you’re bringing pets.
What to Do Near the Resort in Del Mar
One of the benefits of basing a San Diego vacation in East Del Mar (otherwise known as Carmel Valley) is its central location and easy freeway access.
San Diego is a big city so it’s nice to reach both attractions in North County and downtown in more or less equal amounts of drive time.
You’ll find both seasonal and year-round attractions in the neighborhoods surrounding Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Del Mar beaches, again, are some of the best in San Diego but you’ll also enjoy walking around Del Mar Village, a popular boutique shopping and dining hub with European charm and coastal views.
Other things to do in Del Mar include Pelly’s Mini Golf, Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary, a myriad of hiking opportunities including Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, picnics at beachfront Powerhouse Park, and more.
Seasonal events include the San Diego County Fair, one of the top five county fairs in the United States, located at Del Mar Fairgrounds, a quick drive north of the resort on I-5. You can catch this family-fun extravaganza from the first weekend of June through the 4th of July weekend (closed Mondays/Tuesdays).
The Fair is followed quickly by the Del Mar thoroughbred racing season, also located at the Fairgrounds.
Opening Day in mid-July is a must-experience event. Grab your best hat and join other fashionistas celebrating each new season with style. The racing season runs through Labor Day.
The Best Way to Make Fairmont Grand Del Mar Reservations
First, let’s discuss the best ways to make your reservation at Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego. I strongly suggest booking through me as a Virtuoso guest.
The most important reason is the relationship that I have with the hotel (it’s one of my most booked properties in San Diego) and my ability to personalize your stay. I also send out an informative email series tied to your check-in date about promotions and events happening around San Diego.
Readers of La Jolla Mom also have access to value-added Virtuoso amenities when booking Fairmont Grand Del Mar. These include:
- Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability (excluding suites)
- Daily continental breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom, served in Amaya or in-room dining (up to $70 per bedroom per day)
- $100 USD Activity credit per stay, valid for golf play, golf instruction, the Spa services, and/or Explorer’s Club fees to be utilized during stay (cannot be combined, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full – not valid towards retail or Haim Salon Services)
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Fairmont Grand Del Mar hotel discounts may also include a 3rd-night-free promotion on select dates.
*The desktop version of Virtuoso.com is where you’ll search rates and book online. To enable the desktop version from a mobile device, after clicking on a Virtuoso hotel link, scroll down to the navy blue section at the bottom of the web page and click “Full Site.” When searching rates, do not input children ages 17 and under as they will be priced as adults. I’m notified when you book and will add them when I contact you about your reservation. You can also use my form to request rates.
On select dates, Fairmont Grand Del Mar also offers a Grand Experiences promotional rate that includes breakfast for two and a $100 nightly resort credit. This rate averages $50/night higher than Virtuoso rate but may make sense depending on your length of stay, if you will frequently dine on the resort, and if your dates do not qualify for the 3rd night free + Virtuoso amenities.
FAQs About Fairmont Grand Del Mar
I talk to readers almost daily about this luxury hotel and these are the most commonly asked questions.
How far is Fairmont Grand Del Mar from the beach?
Fairmont Grand Del Mar is about 15 minutes from Del Mar City Beach, one of the best San Diego beaches.
What is the minimum age for the kids’ club?
The Explorer’s Club is a supervised kids’ club for ages 5–12, one of the few San Diego hotels with a year-round kids’ club, and a big reason why families choose Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Kids younger than 5 can participate if accompanied by a parent. Babysitting can also be arranged through the concierge.
How far is Fairmont Grand Del Mar to the San Diego Zoo?
The distance between Fairmont Grand Del Mar and San Diego Zoo is 19.5 miles which, without traffic, takes about 25 minutes by car mostly on the freeway. Families choose the hotel because it is a good midway point between the Zoo and LEGOLAND. (Don’t forget that you can buy discount San Diego Zoo tickets.)
How far is Fairmont Grand Del Mar to LEGOLAND California?
LEGOLAND California is an easy 20-mile mostly freeway drive from Fairmont Grand Del Mar, which takes a little less than 30 minutes without traffic. (Don’t forget that you can buy discount LEGOLAND tickets.)
How should I book Fairmont Grand Del Mar?
Usually, the best way to book in is as a Virtuoso guest where you will receive a number of amenities like a $100 activity credit, daily breakfast for two (up to a $70 per day credit), room upgrade subject to availability and more. I can do this for you.
Is there free parking?
The $49/night plus tax resort fee includes self-parking. Additional charges for valet parking apply.
Where is breakfast served at Fairmont Grand Del Mar?
In addition to in-room dining, breakfast is served at Amaya restaurant from 7–11 a.m. Virtuoso guests receive breakfast for two, up to a $70/day breakfast credit per day. You can also stop into Cent’Anni Cafe for grab and go breakfast items, starting at 6 a.m. Through me, you can book in as a Virtuoso guest.
Is there a kids’ pool at Fairmont Grand Del Mar?
How do I get to the Fairmont Grand Del Mar beach?
Reserve The Grand Beach Service to take you to the Del Mar Beach at 18th Street by car where you’ll be set up with chairs, towels, umbrellas, and bottled water. You may also drive, though parking is difficult in the summer, or use Uber.
How do I secure a tee time?
The Tom Fazio designed golf course is reserved only for members and hotel guests who may arrange times through the concierge.
Do kids eat free at Fairmont Grand Del Mar?
When accompanied by a registered adult guest, children 5 years of age and under eat for free when ordering from the Amaya children’s menu or when dining from the buffet and children 6-12 years of age can order from the Amaya or The Clubhouse Grill menu and receive a 50% discount. See other reasons why families choose Fairmont Grand Del Mar.