Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

One of the best things about living in San Diego – other than the near-perfect weather, of course – is the opportunity to plan a spur-of-the-moment staycation at some of the best hotels in the country.

So, after being stuck at home for most of the past two years, my husband and I decided we needed a change of scenery and left the suburbs to spend a night by the beach at L’Auberge Del Mar. An icon of the upscale coastal village of Del Mar, the Four-Diamond property recently completed a $14.1 million dollar renovation and it is a stunner. In fact, it’s a perfect representation of the legendary town’s unique beauty and warmth.

Because check-in starts at 4 pm and we wanted to be able to spend as much time there as possible, I booked a 2 pm Soothing Seascape massage so we could relax at the spa for a few hours before checking in. I can’t tell you what a great idea this turned out to be.

Spa L’Auberge is housed in its own cottage and we could feel our tense shoulders drop in relief as soon as we entered and smelled its signature lemongrass scent. We were welcomed by Crystal, who gave us a tour of the facilities along with our robes and slippers, then we parked ourselves in the outdoor area of the relaxation room, where we settled into cushy chairs, poured ourselves a cup of tea and snacked on complimentary pastries.

My massage was heavenly – 50 minutes of bliss, thanks to therapist, Kelly, who kneaded out knots that had been getting tighter as the pandemic wore on. I was so much lighter and looser afterwards, I could have slept the rest of the day. The only thing that got me off that table was the fact that we had a 6 pm dinner reservation at Adelaide, the hotel’s new, highly-touted restaurant, and I wanted to enjoy the relaxation room for a while first.

Some spa relaxation rooms are really just waiting rooms but the one at L’Auberge is worthy of the name – and an entire afternoon. You can sit indoors, in the private little outdoor area or on the bigger outdoor patio, which is filled with lounge chairs, towels and plush blankets. Michael was still happily ensconced in the spot I had left him so I stretched out on a chaise with my Kindle and, between the sun, the sea air and the massage, proceeded to immediately fall asleep.

By the time I woke up, it was 4:30 and we had received a text from the front desk letting us know our room was ready. We went back to the locker rooms to shower and I took a few luxurious minutes to first give my hair a deep conditioning while I took a eucalyptus steam, like Crystal had shown me. In all my years of going to spas, why had no one ever shown me this before?! It was brilliant!

We checked into our room – a Coastal King with a fireplace and a private balcony overlooking the pool and boasting partial ocean views – and felt right at home. The white shuttered windows, neutral tones and books on the shelves gave the room such a peaceful feeling, we felt like we were staying in the guest room of a good friend’s beach house rather than a hotel.

By then, it was just about dinner time so we went downstairs to Adelaide, the hotel’s casually elegant restaurant that opened less than a year ago. With its oceanfront views and poolside location, it’s a lovely space to watch the sunset (but bring sunglasses!). The menu itself is an eclectic mix of Southern California, Mexican, Asian and Latin American cuisine – and every single dish we had was surprising and delicious.

Because we wanted to try as many items as possible, we ordered small plates, plus one main dish to share. It was a lot of food but everything was light and fresh and, somehow, we managed to leave clean plates.

We started with the Ahi Poke, which I swear I could eat all day. It comes with guacamole, scallions, crispy chili and you eat it on homemade puffed rice crackers, which are addicting in themselves. The Crispy Sprouted Lentil Cakes, with whipped goat cheese, green herb mole and coriander, were outstanding, and the Achiote Roasted Carrots with tahini crema, granola crumble, fromage blanc, mint, and cilantro were so good, my husband had to apologize for pushing the server’s hand away when, with all good intentions, he tried to take away last little piece.

The Alaska Halibut we shared was excellent, accompanied by grilled summer cabbages, rhubarb, sweet onion and green curry butter. We ended with dessert, which involved chocolate and mango and a lot of happy moaning.

This was such an amazing dinner filled with so many unique and surprising flavors, we know we will be going back soon with our foodie friends and family members. We will also be attending Noble House Hotels & Resorts’ Under the Influence dining series. Each of Noble House Hotels & Resorts’ San Diego properties, San Diego Mission Bay Resort, Kona Kai Resort & Spa, L’Auberge Del Mar and Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, will be hosting a dinner at its respective restaurant with host chefs showcasing how San Diego’s geography, history and culture inspires their menu. If you live locally, you should definitely purchase tickets now and if you’re planning to visit from out of town, you may want to time your vacation around one of these dinners.

Adelaide Executive Chef Nick Green will be hosting the L’Auberge Del Mar event on June 14 and we can’t wait to take a deep dive into his food — both figuratively and literally.

After dinner, we took a stroll around Del Mar to walk off some of those calories before falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. The picturesque village, filled with little shops and restaurants, is an easy place to get in some steps.

The next morning, we walked down to the beach. We love the Del Mar beach – there are and always enjoy imagining what it would be like to live in one of those houses with the ocean at your front door. L’Auberge’s seasonal beach valet will provide you with all the gear you need to soak up the sun and will even get you set up in the spot of your choice. You can also borrow a Zybra beach cruiser, complete with helmet and lock, for a couple of hours. All of this is complimentary and a great way to enjoy the beach without having to bring all of your own equipment from home.

We had breakfast back in Adelaide before getting back on the road, and the generous portions made the eggs, bacon, fruit and English muffin easily shareable and fortified us to deal with any California traffic.

L’Auberge Del Mar prides itself on being “your home by the sea,” and, now that we’ve discovered how accurate that is, we’re planning to treat it that way from now on.

L’Auberge Del Mar is located at 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014. For reservations, call 855-581-8746 or book online on their website.

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