Are you planning a A Family Vacation?
My family looks forward to our annual December Family vacation to the Fairmont Grand Del Mar for months. Like clockwork, on the first day of October, Harper and Grayson take turns asking me over and over (and over yet again) when we are going to the Grand Del Mar.
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is just that special of a hotel that it really stands out to my kids and perfect for a Family vacation , who let’s face it, spend a lot of time in hotels every year. Harper’s favorite shirt says “travel blogger” on it, and she takes that very seriously!
For our Family vacation we first visited the Grand Del Mar in December 2019 for their first ever Winter Wonderland at the Grand. The property is transformed into an absolutely stunning winter wonderland.
Every portion of the property, from signs and hallways, common areas and doors are decked to the nines in festive holiday decor. Walking around the property really puts you in the holiday spirit. And that’s not necessarily easy in San Diego where it’s always sunny and the temperature may hover around 70 or 80 on Christmas Day!
The first ever Winter Wonderland at the Grand featured a huge festival area denoted by chic white fencing. From the moment you enter, you truly feel as though you’ve been transported into a winter wonderland. Every detail and every element is well-planned, right down to characters walking around (like Elf, the Grinch of Cindy Loo Who) and a giant Christmas Tree greets you.
Winter Wonderland features a large ferris wheel, carousel, fire pits to roast smores or just warm up, food and drink stations including a champagne bar, and a stage area. My favorite are the igloos which serve as a seating area and place to relax and warm up on a chilly night, and the kids (okay and me!) absolutely love them!
While everything at Winter Wonderland is a grammable moment, pictures inside the igloo are extra special!
2019 also featured a snow hill for sledding, which everyone in my family absolutely loved! My kids went up and down, up and down that hill countless times!
This year’s Winter Wonderland went even more above and beyond with a few tweaks. There are more food and drink bars and more places to sit down and relax.
The major change was the switch from sledding to an ice rink. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would really miss sledding. My kids had so much fun last year.
But they liked ice skating EVEN MORE! The skating rink is located at the top of the hill, and you can rent fireside cabanas next to the rink. There you can roast smores, order food and drinks and watch people skate.
While we were skating, we took breaks and retreated back to the cabana, which was so nice to have. Harper and Grayson had never skated before, and they both took right to it. Harper in particular is a dare-devil and always willing to try new things and give it her all.
HARPER LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF SKATING! Once she got her bearing, she was able to skate holding on to just one of my hands while I pulled her in circles around the rink and a few occasional tricks.
Grayson had a little harder time getting his footing. He was doubting himself and getting nervous to leave the wall. So my husband mostly skated with him by the wall, while Harper and I skated all aroungd the rink.
It was amazing how quickly they both learned, and I think a large part of that is due to this great rink and that it wasn’t too crowded.
We roasted smores every night and played with the Grinch and Cindy Loo Who.
Luxurious and spacrious are the first two words that come to mind when thinking about the rooms at the Grand Del Mar. Their rooms feel like suites, they are that big! Even with two huge beds there is plenty of room for a desk and chair, a second desk and chair, a large chest of drawers, wet bar area with Nespresso maker with plenty of open space for my kids to stay.
when planning a Family vacation any parent knows the key to a good hotel room for kids is LOTS OF OPEN SPACE TO PLAY. Bonus points if I don’t have to rearrange any furniture or reposition potentially dangerous points.
The bathroom is also oversized with a giant soaking tub. Above the tub are windows that open to the room (Romeo and Juliet style) which the kids LOVED TO PLAY WITH! They kept them entertained for hours.
In the mornings when they woke up (always before us), they went into the bathroom, closed the windows and laid on towels in the tub to watch their ipads. The tub became their comfy kid’s hide out, and I am always up for sleeping in on vacations!
The bathroom has a separate door for the WC and a large walk in closet with plenty of space to have two large suitcases. I always unpack in the dresser in the room and hang items in the closet, and we even had space to spare in both!
Our room led directly to a gorgeous patio area with chairs, rocking chairs, long pathways for the kids to throw a ball and play chase. I cannot recommend a bottom floor room enough, just so that you can open the door and the kids can go right out to play!
During our stay we enjoyed a variety of room service and meals at restaurants. And I can honestly say that every single thing I ate was absolutely delicious. Breakfast we loved sitting on the patio and leisurely enjoying eggs and pancakes, while the kids did the activities on their menu.
Dinner at Addison is a fancy affair, with food to match. Addison is San Diego’s only Michelin-starred restaurant. Everything we tried, from the salmon, steak, osso bucco, button mushrooms and srimp appetizer were divine. My mouth is watering just thinking about that meal as I write this!
Situated on over 400 acres, there are four different pools to choose from. The Resort Pool area includes three family-friendly pools with several jacuzzis, and Relaxation Oasis is a tranquil oasis for adults only.
As a mom, I LOVE knowing that there is an area for adults to go and truly relax, away from the sounds and splashes of kids. That means adults at the Resort Pool are choosing to be there, either because they have kids or grandkids, or don’t mind being around them.
That makes for a truly relaxing and more fun pool experience. And you know the pool is my favorite part of every resort! There is also a sand play area with lots of oversized chairs to watch the sunset.
Situated on the Los Penasuitos Canyon, the golf course is abolutely breathtakingly beautiful. My kids were lucky enough to experience it with my husband, who is an avid golfer. I also like to golf, but I usually let my husband take my son while we follow them for a few holes.
Harper likes to take shots at the driving range, and often can tee off from the first hole or two, but that’s about as long as she could go at 5 year’s old.
The Grand Del Mar is located a few miles from the beach (close to where I lived in college in Carmel Valley). The resort will drive your family or group to the beach along with providing you with all the gear you need.
Then they will come back and pick you up. So even though it’s not situated on the beach, it’s close proximity along with this excellent level of service makes it a dream for any beach-loving family.
As I mentioned earlier, I lived just down the street from the Grand Del Mar for years while I was in college at UC San Diego and then in law school at University of San Diego. I spent a total of almost 9 years in San Diego, and I absolutely love it.
San Diego is a great place to visit year round. Spring is perfect weather with nice breezes (the resort is inland enough that it doesn’t get the fog that sits over parts of Del Mar and La Jolla).
Summer in San Diego is a dream.
Fall still feels like summer but with less visitors and better deals. Also, San Diego has tons of deals for kids that visit in October like free admission places and more.
So whenever you want to visit the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, you are going to have the best trip ever!
Have you been there before? if not where would you want your Family vacation this year to be? I would love to hear your thoughts below!