Luxury Resorts: The coastal area between San Diego and Los Angeles has slowly sprouted a collection of 5 star and 5 diamond resorts: The St. Regis at Monarch Beach, the Lodge At Torrey Pines in La Jolla, and the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, just to name a few. Adding to this exquisite list of properties is perhaps the best addition yet: The Resort at Pelican Hill.
Not even a year old, the Resort has already earned membership to the Leading Hotels of the World. My recent stay on the 504-acre property clearly proved why. Modeled after the prolific work of Italy's Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio, The Resort at Pelican Hill exudes an enchanting palazzo feel. It is complete with expansive arch ways, massive rotundas, and unique "Coliseum Pool," created by using 1.1 million hand-cut glass mosaic tiles. Other small touches such as olive tree lined pathways, grape bath salts in the spa, and a gelato parlor by the lobby complete the feeling of a total Italian retreat.
Our bungalow, one of 204 accessed by private gateways, opened to an expansive view of the Resort's impeccable golf course, designed by Tom Fazio. This in turn was framed by the Pacific Ocean. In fact, each Villa (128 on property) and bungalow has a private patio with an unobstructed ocean view. One late afternoon, while enjoying an abundant cheese plate and beautiful sea breeze, we couldn't help but admire our bungalow's imported limestone fireplace and lofty wood-beam alder ceiling.
Dinner at Andrea, The Resort's main restaurant, was flawless. We watched the sun dip into the ocean while an attentive staff presented a varied menu and memorable meal. I enjoyed the brunch buffet the next morning a tad more: there's just something to watching the morning sun beam over a gigantic pool (The Coliseum Pool) and emerald golf course while you read the Sunday paper in flip flops!
My favorite find at The Resort was its Spa, a 23,000 square foot sanctuary featuring the Acqua Colonnade-a steam, sauna, and whirlpool retreat. I loved the surprisingly distinct spa menu that offered treatments such as the Marine Wrapsody, a massage using mineral mud from the Dead Sea or, for deep hydration, the Body Gelato, a wrap of lavender aloe in the summer and fig in the winter. My treatment, the Global Tradition Massage, combined lemon grass, pressure points, and Thai and Hawaiian massage techniques in a blissfully exotic therapy.
If I can effortlessly feel I'm in another country, in another century, with only a quick car trip up the coast, then I'm sold on a resort. No matter your origin, the Resort at Pelican Hill will relax, coddle, and delight you.