Looking for a great San Diego luxury resort?
As a travel writer, I've been to many different places, but few have left as big of an impression on me as San Diego. The moment I arrived in the city, I was struck by the stunning beauty of the coastline and the lively energy of the city. From the bustling streets of the Gaslamp Quarter to the laid-back vibe of Ocean Beach, San Diego is a city of contrasts that has something for everyone.
There are a handful of 5-star resorts that all receive fantastic reviews. All have great golf courses and spas. Take a look below at our top recommendations.
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One of my favorite things to do in San Diego was to explore the city's many neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. In Little Italy, I wandered the streets, stopping in at small cafes and delis, and admiring the vibrant street art. In North Park, I browsed through vintage shops and enjoyed craft beers at local breweries.
Travel Overview of San Diego:
VIDEO: San Diego Vacation Travel Guide
During my recent trip to San Diego, I had the opportunity to visit the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, and I have to say, it was an unforgettable experience.
The resort is located in the upscale community of Rancho Santa Fe, which is just a short drive from San Diego. As I drove up the winding road to the resort, I was struck by the stunning beauty of the surrounding landscape. The resort is set on 45 acres of beautiful grounds that are filled with olive and citrus groves, lush gardens, and tranquil water features.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by the friendly and welcoming staff, who went out of their way to make me feel at home. The resort's Spanish-style architecture and elegant decor created a warm and inviting atmosphere, and I was immediately drawn to the stunning outdoor areas, including the large pool and hot tub.
One of the highlights of my visit to the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa was indulging in a spa treatment at the resort's award-winning spa. The spa offers a range of treatments and services, including massages, facials, and body treatments, all designed to help guests relax and rejuvenate. I opted for a deep tissue massage, and it was one of the best I've ever had.
The resort's amenities were equally impressive. The fitness center was state-of-the-art and offered a range of equipment and classes, while the tennis courts provided a perfect opportunity to get some exercise while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. The resort also offers several dining options, including Veladora, which serves up delicious California cuisine with a Mediterranean twist.
This secluded resort is 25 miles north of San Diego. The spa features cutting-edge non-invasive skin therapies. It's set on 40 acres in a canyon and 8 miles from the beach.
There's a championship golf course nearby. This resort has a "world-renowned" tennis program. The 49 suites are in the style of early California haciendas. They have private patios and large bathrooms
Reviewers say: fantastic food, outstanding spa and spa facility, close enough to major attractions, amazing privacy and comfort, tranquil and serene. (This resort gets excellent reviews with many noting it's tranquility.)
VIDEO: Rancho Valencia | A Digital Tour
When it comes to 5-star luxury resorts in California, San Diego has a lot to offer. In fact, it's one of the top destinations in the state for luxury travelers, with a range of world-class resorts that offer the perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and indulgence.
Compared to other California destinations, San Diego stands out for its laid-back vibe and stunning coastal setting. The city offers a range of outdoor activities, from lounging on the beach to hiking in the nearby mountains, and there are plenty of cultural and culinary attractions to explore as well. In terms of luxury resorts, San Diego offers some of the best in the state, including:
But perhaps the highlight of my trip was spending time at the beach. San Diego is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and I couldn't resist spending hours on end lounging in the sun, swimming in the ocean, and taking in the stunning views of the coastline.
One of my favorite beaches was La Jolla Cove, a small, secluded beach with crystal-clear water and stunning views of the surrounding cliffs. I spent an entire day here, soaking up the sun and swimming in the calm waters. I even got to see some sea lions sunbathing on the rocks, which was a real treat.
But stay away from the GOLF!
There's a championship golf course (previous U.S. Open), a full-service spa, hiking at the nearby nature reserve, a games room and a pool suitable for kids.
Guest rooms have leather easy chairs, Egyptian-cotton linens, have golf course or courtyard views and are spacious. The buildings are in the Craftsman style with a lot of use of wood.
Reviewers say: beautiful and unique property, great spa therapists, excellent golf course, great service and concierge. (This resort generally receives great reviews.)
VIDEO: San Diego Hotels - Lodge at Torrey Pines
Here are the highlights and pros and cons of The Lodge at Torrey Pines from my perspective:
When I wasn't at the beach, I was busy exploring the city's many attractions. I visited the San Diego Zoo, which is one of the best zoos in the world, and spent hours marveling at the animals and their habitats. I also visited Balboa Park, which is home to several museums, including the Museum of Man and the San Diego Museum of Art.
But no trip to San Diego would be complete without indulging in the city's amazing food scene. From fish tacos to carne asada fries, San Diego has some of the best Mexican food in the country. I visited several local restaurants, including Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop and Lolita's Mexican Food, and I was blown away by the quality and flavor of the food.
While the resort was luxurious and beautiful, I couldn't help but laugh at one hilarious incident that happened during my stay.
It all started when I decided to try out the resort's beautiful golf course, which offered stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and plenty of challenging holes. I had never played golf before, but I was feeling confident and eager to give it a try.
Unfortunately, things didn't go exactly as planned. As I stepped up to the first tee, I completely missed the ball on my first swing, sending it flying off to the side. I tried again, and again, and again, but each time, the ball seemed to go further and further astray.
Before long, a crowd had gathered around me, watching as I fumbled and flailed my way through the course. But despite my embarrassing performance, I was determined to keep going. I figured I couldn't get any worse, right?
Wrong. As I made my way to the 18th hole, I finally managed to hit the ball straight down the fairway...and right into a pond. I waded in to retrieve it, but as I bent down to pick it up, I lost my balance and fell in the water!
By this point, the other golfers were laughing so hard they could barely stand. But I couldn't help but laugh along with them, even as I trudged back to my room, soaking wet and covered in mud.
Despite my disastrous golf game, I have to say that my stay at The Lodge at Torrey Pines was still one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had. The luxurious accommodations, beautiful location, and excellent amenities made it the perfect destination for a relaxing and indulgent golf trip. And who knows, maybe I'll give golf another try...once I've had a chance to dry off!
For those looking for a luxurious resort experience, I would highly recommend the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. This stunning resort is located in a peaceful, secluded area of San Diego and offers an impressive range of amenities, including a championship golf course, several pools, and a world-class spa. The rooms are spacious and beautifully appointed, with stunning views of the surrounding area.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar is located north of San Diego on 24 acres in a canyon preserve. It's 6 miles from the beaches and downtown Del Mar.
There's a large full-service spa, a Tom Fazio designed golf course, 4 outdoor pools, jogging trails, tennis courts and a croquet lawn. For kids, there's a children's program and an activity center.
The resort is Mediterranean inspired. Guest rooms are decorated in wood and earth tones. They have marble baths and jetted tubs.
Reviewers say: great newer resort - no expense spared in building it, beautiful property, very elegant, rooms are very quiet, rooms are top notch, staff attentive and cordial.
VIDEO: The Grand Del Mar - San Diego Resort
Here are some pros and cons of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar from Sarah's perspective:
Overall, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar is an outstanding luxury resort with plenty of amenities and activities to keep guests entertained and relaxed. However, it may not be the best option for travelers on a tight budget or those who prefer to be in the heart of a city with more nightlife and dining options.
The Park Hyatt Aviara is a just-outside-San Diego luxury resort and in Carlsbad. It overlooks the Pacific ocean and Batiquitos Lagoon. It's close to both Legoland and Seaworld.
Here you'll find an Arnold Palmer designed golf course, a full-service spa, fitness center, complimentary children's program and children's amenities, tennis center, pools and 4 restaurants.
The resort has Spanish Colonial architecture that blends in with the surroundings. The 327 guest rooms have furnished balconies or terraces and are decorated in muted, natural colors.
Reviewers say: flawless service, great outdoor bar overlooking the ocean, great check-in and reception, family friendly, adults only pool great, good for business conference.
VIDEO Review: Park Hyatt Aviara Resort
This video is a tour of the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa in Southern California, presented by Tisha Alyn. The video showcases the resort's recent renovations, including the fountain, the driveway, and the redesigned lobby, bar, and game room. Viewers are taken through various areas of the resort, such as the gardens, the pool, and the fitness center. Additionally, the video features a preview of the resort's TopGolf suite, where Tisha and her friends play a game of golf and enjoy some delicious food. Overall, the video offers a comprehensive look at the resort's facilities and highlights its beauty and elegance.
If you're still on the hunt for a great San Diego luxury resort, there are some great 4 star resorts to choose from.
For those looking for something a little more laid-back, I would recommend the Paradise Point Resort & Spa. This resort is located on a private island in Mission Bay and offers a relaxed, tropical vibe. The rooms are decorated in a beachy, island style, and the resort features several pools, a private beach, and a range of water sports.
Overall, San Diego is a destination that has something for everyone. Whether you're looking to relax on the beach, explore the city's attractions, or indulge in some amazing food, San Diego is a city that won't disappoint.
Paradise Point: San Diego’s Island Resort
Beside SeaWorld, great for families, beach and bungalows.
As a freelance travel writer, I've been fortunate to visit some of the most luxurious resorts around the world. But I have to say, my stay at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa was one of the most memorable experiences I've had.
From the moment I arrived at the resort, I was greeted with warm and friendly hospitality. The staff went out of their way to make me feel welcome, and I was immediately struck by the resort's beautiful and tranquil setting. Located on a private peninsula in Mission Bay, the resort is surrounded by picturesque water views, and the lush gardens and tropical landscaping create a peaceful and serene atmosphere.
My room was spacious and well-appointed, with a private balcony overlooking the bay. I loved waking up each morning to the sound of the water and the fresh sea breeze. The bed was incredibly comfortable, and the room had all the amenities I needed to make my stay as comfortable as possible.
The resort's amenities were equally impressive. I spent many afternoons lounging by the pool, which was just steps from my room. The pool area was surrounded by lush landscaping and featured a large hot tub, as well as plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas. I also took advantage of the resort's fitness center, which had everything I needed for a great workout.
One of my favorite experiences at the resort was dining at Acqua California Bistro. The restaurant is located right on the water and offers breathtaking views of Mission Bay. The food was incredible, with a menu that highlights fresh, local ingredients and creative California cuisine. I also loved the resort's Olive Lounge, which offered a cozy and intimate atmosphere for enjoying handcrafted cocktails and light bites.
Overall, my stay at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa was a wonderful experience. The resort's beautiful setting, luxurious amenities, and friendly staff made it a truly unforgettable trip. Whether you're looking to relax and unwind, or explore all that San Diego has to offer, this resort is the perfect choice.
VIDEO: TTL Nerd | The Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa
Here are some pros and cons of staying at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa:
For more luxury resorts, visit California luxury resorts.
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The story is a fictionalized account founded on travel expertise, research, and experience. Always refer to recent guest reviews and perform due diligence before booking.
💼 We cherish our independence! ✈️ Our travel recommendations are carefully researched, bias-free, and powered by human expertise by April and Ricky of LRB (we have personally researched and travelled to many of these destinations and researched others thoroughly through first-hand accounts). We also have put in the hard miles, and Ricky has worked for decades for resort and hotel chains Hyatt, Hilton, Shangri-La and Radisson before starting Luxury Resort Bliss in 2007. 🌍✨ Unlike some other resort review websites we are concerned on the guest experience rather than mere corporate interest.
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