The Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego

A mandatory first start after checking in is to head straight to the spa.  With an array of services, 11 treatment rooms and 21,000 square feet how could I decide?  Mental Note: This is the only acceptable form of stress on vacation.  I went with the spa’s signature Renaissance treatment, a 90-minute body ritual that will blow your mind.   My treatment began with mineral-rich mud and aromatic oils and ended in a relaxing warm body wrap on a free-floating bed. Throw in a rosemary-infused Swiss shower followed by a soothing stretching massage and I was in heaven.

Yes, this is how a vacation should start; followed by a drink at the Old Hollywood-style swimming pool, some horseplay, golfing and then off to an incredible dinner at the resorts restaurant Addison. Life is rough.

Sitting in the cart while slinging back margaritas counts as playing golf right? Ok, maybe not to some. The golf course at The Grand is so amazingly beautiful I had to check it out. Hoping for a quick lesson from Phil Mickelson a frequent visitor and some decent pictures of myself looking like a pro, I set up our tee time.  “All I need are some lessons,” I told myself. Cute outfit, check, pink golf balls, check and a round of drinks from the beverage cart check, check!

The Grand Golf Course is a challenging Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole par-72 course fit for all levels of play. Opened in 1999, the Grand Golf Club also provides avid golfers with a 2,000-sq.-ft. putting green and a 5,000-sq.-ft. practice tee. I should’ve started there. Golf looked so easy. The ball just sits there. Any moron could figure it out. But every instinct I had was wrong. You’re supposed to hit the ball down to make it go up. What? I want to hit it up to make it go up. When I try to hit down, it’s like I’m splitting a log with an ax. The whole thing didn’t make a lot of sense; luckily there was no one else but our caddy to witness my horrible attempt.

Next stop, a luxurious meal at Addison.

Where old money mixes with new money and the Old World gives way, albeit reluctantly, to a bit of modernity the Addison is a must. The only 5 Star/5 Diamond Restaurant in Southern California. One of those things you should add to the bucket list, yes it’s that good. Prepare yourself mentally for an extreme dining experience. This restaurant is no joke with multiple courses and white glove service. Wine aficionados will face a challenge here with 3800 wines to choose from, selecting a wine could take hours, I suggest adding the wine tasting option and leaving the decision making up to someone else. I kicked off the four-course tasting menu with Black Mission Figs enhanced with whipped Chevre and caramelized endive, then round 2 the Superfino Risotto with preserved lemon and San Daniele prosciutto and finally the Kobe Beef Short Ribs.  For dessert, the caramelized banana bread is to die for, if you can still find room.

One more stop before leaving, and what better way to start the day than with a leisurely 4 1/2-mile hike through one of San Diego’s most desired trails.  Even if you’re not into crystal balls and vision quests, it’s hard to deny the rejuvenating aura of the majestic Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.  A 4,100-acre spread located 12 miles north of downtown, guests of the resort, as well as the public, can enjoy the parks 37 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails.