We wanted to go to Southern California this year to a) escape the miserable Seattle ‘spring’ (I use this term loosely) b) visit my elderly aunt in Dana Point, an hour or so’s drive south of LA and c) take the Minx to Disneyland.
I was told by friends on Twitter and Facebook that Del Mar was fun and it was suggested that we try the newly-refurbished L’Auberge Del Mar. When we discovered that my very favourite discounted fancy hotels travel site www.luxurylink.com was offering a deal, our fate was sealed.
And we had the most wonderful time.
L’Auberge Del Mar is a historic hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean and right on Del Mar’s attractive main street.
The hotel was completely refurbished in 2008 by interior designer Barclay Butera who has done a great job bringing a historic building bang up to date.
We were lucky enough to have a room overlooking the main courtyard of the hotel, which was been designed as a series of little ‘rooms’, cabanas, terraces and courtyards centered around the small but luxurious pool and jacuzzi area. There’s the kicking Bleu Bar, a scenic terrace for breakfast and informal suppers, cosy hidden cabanas and even space for weddings, all with an ocean view.
The themes of the décor are soft and muted sage-y greens, brown and white stripes and the most breathtakingly lush white planting – white roses everywhere you turn, undulating seas of fragrant jasmine, and hedges of rosemary and box.
To be perfectly honest we hardly left the hotel all week. The place comes into its own at night, when the surfers come in from the beach and le tout Del Mar comes out to party. We dined one evening in the hotel’s top notch restaurant Kitchen 1540, where the cured meats, golden beet salad and frozen key lime pie will live on in my memory. We drank superlative cocktails at the Bleu Bar every night. The hotel is beautifully lit with fires and burners everywhere to take the chill off the evening air as the sun sets over the ocean.
The internal décor is luxurious too – all sage greens, soft browns, seashells and comfy seating. I loved the ridiculously rococo shell-encrusted side tables, the beautiful mother-of-pearl smothered lamps, the green toile cushions and the enormous shell planters full of orchids.
There were little touches of wit and humour everywhere – the wait staff had foodie quotations printed on their tee-shirts and Sofie, Kristy the Marketing Coordinator’s pretty little dog, had a sign at the front desk telling us when she was ‘working’ and available for cuddles.
Finally, and most importantly for us, L’Auberge trod that extremely fine line between being super relaxed and kid-friendly (with unbelievably kind staff and a great kids’ menu) and sophisticated and happening enough for grown-ups – thanks to a fabulous bar, gorgeous spa and secluded lap pool. The Minx adored it and the Husband and I are longing to return.
Truly I can’t recommend this one highly enough.