Earlier this year my employer had its annual meeting at L’Auberge Del Mar, a medium-sized resort hotel just one block from the shore. I spent much of my time working. Still, it was a pleasant escape from Seattle. Had I planned our schedules better, I probably would have brought my wife.
Arriving at the hotel by cab (~$60), we pulled into a private driveway and were met by two bell staff who took our bags. The lobby was spacious, with several sitting areas, a fireplace, an open bar, and a restaurant to the left. Large glass doors were opened to a separate patio area overlooking the pool and the ocean.
Despite checking in just after lunch I was able to get a room early and even secure an upgrade with a simple request, moving from a room with two queens to a king room with access to a semi-private rooftop terrace on the third floor. There was no view per se, but a drink at the pool bar would be sufficient and more affordable. Further upgrades to ocean-view rooms were available for $150 per night and up.
My room had an ocean theme with coral on the desk and drawings of plant life hanging on the walls. In addition to the comfy reading chair there was also a gas fireplace — quite a novelty for most hotels but a nice touch when it gets chilly on winter evenings. As I said, I spent most of my week working in my room or the conference rooms, and I usually found the WiFi speed to be satisfactory though not impressive.
Like the surprise fireplace, the bathroom was better than expected and featured a walk-in shower. Nothing in the room suggested this was anything more than a standard guest room, but features like these are still less common than I’d like. (The hotel isn’t actually very old. Although there have been hotels on the same site for almost a hundred years, the current L’Auberge opened in 1989 and was renovated in 2008.)
Public Spaces and Activities
Breakfast and lunch buffets were served each day. I enjoyed the food and thought the event staff did a good job of mixing things up, such as rotating between different meats and egg dishes. It was always hot and quickly replenished. Though I didn’t eat in the hotel restaurant for dinner, I did try some of the neighborhood spots nearby. There are several good options. A lap pool and some tennis courts to the side of the parking lot offer a chance to burn off the extra calories.
I’ve been to San Diego many times, usually to visit the zoo and Mission Beach. Yet I prefer to stay north of the city in the smaller communities that are less crowded. La Jolla isn’t much better than the city, and Carlsbad is a bit far. Del Mar is just right, offering a quick walk to the beach without the traffic or the stench of sea lions, and I’d definitely consider returning here on future trips to the area.