It was in the spring of 2012 that I first had the pleasure of visiting the Grand Del Mar in San Diego.
And, along with having drained a 100-foot putt on the Tom Fazio-designed The Grand Golf Club, what I most recall from that introductory trip are three things:
• Mitt Romney on the campaign trail, working the lobby on a tour stop.
• Dining at The Grand Del Mar's aptly-celebrated Addison, where – save my unparalleled desert experiences at Morgan's in the Desert – I enjoyed my favorite SoCal meal since relocating from Minnesota four years ago.
• My shoelaces. Yes, shoelaces. Upon returning to my room after an early-morning golf endeavor (preceded by a late evening), I noted the laces of my dress shoes had been neatly tied into bows by the staff. Never seen that before or since.
Such is the level of class at The Grand Del Mar. For desert dwellers seeking a refined, nearby weekend getaway, a two-plus hour drive toward the coast bears exceptional results.
Hole No. 3 at The Grand Golf.
True, Mr. Fazio – the most acclaimed living golf architect – does offer a host of his designs here in the valley. However, one would have to be a member (or guest) at The Vintage Club, The Madison Club, Bighorn or The Quarry to gain access.
The Grand Golf Club (Fazio's only course design in San Diego) is available to guests of the resort.
Expertly cut through the Los Peñasquitos Canyon, the undulations of the 380-acre grounds pairs with a beatific solitude offered by the canyon surrounds. Akin to many Fazio designs, the course employs the best of the terrain to sate the high-handicapper with excellent views and a myriad of playable holes. The unique forecaddie program assures the newcomer a round to be expertly navigated.
And for the scratch player, some burly distance from the tips (7,160 yards) matched with testy bunkering and gnarly rough will keep the best in check. Reputed as a hot-spot stop for pros based in, or traveling through the region, The Grand is ready to take on the sticks as well as the vacationer.
Trip Tip: The Grand grounds are replete with some of SoCal's top instruction and facilities, featuring The Grand Golf Performance Academy, The Grand Golf Intensive program and opportunity to refine one's short game under the tutelage of Stockton Golf (led by the talents of desert resident, Dave Stockton, Jr.).
The Addison stocks a 2,500-bottle wine room.
Under the direction of executive chef William Bradley, the Italian décor, classic menu and 2,500-bottle wine room at Addison make for an unforgettable evening.
Addison accolades run as long as the wine list, and the menu bottlings and service team are all at-the-ready to meet such lofty expectations.
And for those seeking a more casual experience, Le Salon Bar and Lounge at Addison is offering up a new, alternative dining option which proves no less alluring than a full-on, four-course meal.
Diners may now enjoy a diverse, six-course small plates meal at Le Salon, matched with a hand-selected bottle of wine.
Trip Tip: The Kumamoto Oysters prove a perfectly ethereal opener and the fifth-course Kobe Beef Short Rib is certain to please.
The 4,100-acre Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve sits backyard to the resort.
An air of laid-back sophistication wafts across these grounds, just as an endless host of amenities serve as ceaseless pamper to the accommodations.
But what truly sells The Grand is the staff. Options abound to spend one's bounty around SoCal, but there is no substitute for an expertly-trained staff with a certain smile on their respective faces and a penchant for recognizing details which make a visit unique and special.
Sometimes, even with all the Grand accents, it's something as seemingly small as the shoelaces which make a stay truly memorable.
The Grand Del Mar, 5300 Grand Del Mar Ct., San Diego, 866-305-1528; www.thegranddelmar.com