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California Calling: Del Mar

Seaside charm.

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The Golden State revives the body, mind, and spirit. The vast Pacific Ocean that washes onto miles of coastline, the rolling hills speckled with terracotta rooftops, and the sidewalks lined with swaying palms all signal that you’ve embarked upon a breezy getaway as soon as you step off the plane and inhale the balmy California air. Southern California, in particular, offers plenty to maintain well-intentioned resolutions for health and vitality well into the new year.

Destination Hotels & Resorts’ Luxury Lifestyle California collection narrows the dizzying number of options down to a select few. The company celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, and comprises over 40 independent hotels, resorts, and golf clubs across the United States. Within the portfolio are three stellar SoCal properties; each is ideal for exploring one at a time, but they’re also within driving distance from each other for the ultimate California wellness tour.

L’Auberge Del Mar, by Destination Hotels & Resorts, in the coastal village of Del Mar in San Diego’s North County, is the collection’s southernmost property in California. The laidback vibe is a quaint nod to East Coast prep, à la Cape Cod or Nantucket. Bellmen wear panama hats, white orchids and sea shells accessorize the lobby with seaside charm, and a tray of mini mocha cupcakes tempts upon check-in.

The AAA four-diamond, 120-room property underwent a $26-million renovation in 2008, and sits perched above Powerhouse Park, mere steps away from San Diego beaches. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is just shy of five kilometres away from the hotel—an hour-long beach stroll for inclined wanderers. Start from the bottom of the bluffs and make your way to the top for a strenuous workout, or have a willing driver drop you off at the peak so you can meander down one of the many trails. Whichever option, keep an eye out for pelicans forming v-shapes overhead and bobbing surfers paddling out to await the next big surge.

Surf and turf are also on the menu at the Spa, where treatments draw from the healing properties of the ocean. Vitamin- and mineral-rich seaweed is harnessed for body wraps and scrubs. Masseuses use their forearms and the sides of the hands for the traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, which consists of rhythmic flowing strokes and fast-paced stretches to elongate and revitalize tired muscles.

Wellness is an all-encompassing term: body, mind, spirit, and stomach. At the hotel’s Kitchen 1540, modern American cuisine awaits. Lobster Eggs Benedict is best enjoyed at the start of the day on the hotel’s terrace. After hiking and surfing, try the lamb, garnished with chestnut puree and fermented strawberry jus. For a bit of indulgence (in moderation, of course), order Kitchen 1540’s Sweet Potato Pie Donut, served with buttermilk ice cream and miso butterscotch. A Del Mar Lemonade at Bleu Bar, sipped while overlooking the blue beyond, is a cool finish to a satisfying stay.


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April 11, 2016