WHEN FAIRMONT INVITED GottaGoGolf to join a group of golf media folks at one of its newer acquisitions, the Grand Del Mar in San Diego, curiosity won out over objectivity. What, we wondered, would prompt a traveler to pay $500 and up for one night at a luxury golf resort?
And so, we learned the definition of luxury when it comes to travel, lodging and golf. Here, ranging from big picture to tiny gesture, are the answers that add up to differentiate a luxury golf resort:
GRAND ARCHITECTURE, ELEGANT DESIGN AND EXPENSIVE MATERIALS
The interior design of Warren Sheets and the ornate, palatial architecture of Robert Altevers evoke the Mediterranean, old Spain, royalty. Think stained glass, Italian marble and ornate iron work. LeBron James did: the NBA star had his wedding in the Grand Del Mar chapel.
WET CLOTHS PRESENTED BY STAFF, JUST WHEN YOU NEED THEM AND THE WAY YOU NEED THEM
After golf, we received a refreshing, cleansing cool cloth; on check-in, a soothing warm cloth to settle us in.
INSTEAD OF DIRECTIONS AND A MAP TO YOUR ROOM: AN ESCORT
The Grand Del Mar staff member who checked us in came out from behind the counter and walked with us, pointing out property features as we went. We still had trouble finding our way around the grand layout because we took the elevator down to our rooms instead of pressing the usual UP button. But any time we asked for directions, we were walked to our destination.
A LOT WHEN YOU ASK FOR A LITTLE
We quickly needed more shampoo and more lotion, so we called housekeeping. A few minutes later, a bellman appeared at our door with a smile and a Grand Del Mar bag full of little bottles.
THE ULTIMATE TURN-DOWN SERVICE
Yes, of course the maid left us delectable truffles. But in addition to turning down the bed, stocking us with water, dimming the lights and tuning the TV to play some groovy smooth jazz, she neatly folded any clothes that we had left on the bench at the foot of the bed. The iPad cord I had left on a table? Neatly rolled up and tied with a silver ribbon.
At most golf resorts, we stay busy outside of the room and maybe come back to change before dinner. At the Grand Del Mar, we loved lounging in the luxurious Fairmont bedding and pillows, each of us with our own bedside lamp operated by our own dimmer switch. We wanted to sit together on the cozy curved sofa in the morning with our coffee — coffee we had made ourselves on the best in-room coffee/espresso maker we had ever seen.
PRISTINE GOLF CONDITIONS
At the Grand Del Mar, with a not-over-the-top challenging Tom Fazio design, that means perfect fairways and greens for the perfect lie. It means forecaddies are available to boost your putting. And then there are the anti-Porta-Pottys, such luxuriously appointed marble bathrooms you want to hang out there awhile, even though you have 11 more holes to play.
A FIVE-STAR RESTAURANT ON THE PREMISES
Don’t get us started on Addision, the much-acclaimed destination dining experience in all of Southern California. The menu, described as French contemporary, is creative, seasonal and ever-changing, so we won’t bother to tell you how much we enjoyed that ____________.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Of course, with the Fazio golf, decadent five-star restaurant, urge to order breakfast from room service and that ubiquitous superior service, a $500 night at this or any luxury golf resort is going to cost most guests much more than that. So what would prompt a traveler to indulge?
Maybe she’s having a good year, planning a honeymoon or has a special Valentine’s Day treat in mind.
Or she simply wants the best, and can afford it.
Editor’s note: We paid an extra-special media rate for our visit to the Grand Del Mar. But, we’re not lying.