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  • Lillian E.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

November 20-21, 2021



"Let's run away!" -me, most of the time when Marco or I have had a rough day at work.


Well, he finally took me seriously (if only for the weekend)!


Happy 1 year anniversary to the both of us!!!!!! He's been planning this for weeks and wouldn't tell me anything. Our actual anniversary falls on a Monday, so we blocked out the whole weekend prior to mark the occasion together.


Late on Friday after work, we threw bags into the trunk and we scrambled into the car with sandwiches in hand. Marco made me close my eyes while he tapped our destination into his navigation, and away we sped in a southbound direction!


Not the most aesthetic photo, but necessary for the timeline.


Marco admitted he'd never been to our destination himself, so about two and a half hours later we pulled off the highway and found ourselves winding through lanes of tall trees in the dark. We couldn't see *anything* and it kept us both giggling in anticipation.


FINALLY we arrived at the entrance to the Fairmont Grand Del Mar just north of San Diego, and found ourselves pulling up to a guardhouse and gated drive. They checked us in, waved us through, and we continued up the winding, tree-lined lane. So. Many. Trees. They really know how to build the suspense.


I will absolutely admit I pulled this photo off Google images because my iphone camera was totally incapable of capturing anything in the dark, but this was the view that greeted us at the top of the hill!


Just look at that fountain!


Valet had us out of the car, bags and all, within moments and we were swept inside, poking each other trying to subtly contain our excitement. *Play it cool, self.*


I don't think either of us has ever seen a lobby quite like this. (My photo from the next morning).


The front desk welcomed us and sent us upstairs with two keys, following a valet with our bags to guide us around the maze.



They dropped us off in a second-floor suite in the corner of one wing and as soon as the door closed we were jumping up and down, opening every door and cabinet, exploring every inch of the apartment we'd been assigned.




Look how big that tub is!!!! Marco is practically 6ft and he could have slept in there. For 5'2" me, it was a small swimming pool. There was also a fabulous shower if tubs aren't your thing (but how could you resist your own private spa?)


Shortly after we arrived, as I was unpacking my bag and hunting around for my gift for Marco, another attendant showed up at our door with a surprise snack!


Marco brought the strawberries and champagne, but the hotel provided a little "Happy Anniversary!" chocolate cake and the sweetest note from the front desk. We melted a little. They think it's our first *wedding* anniversary, and we didn't feel like correcting them with the details. One year of dating is very worth celebrating in our books :)


Still full from dinner, and it being almost 11:30pm, we decided to wedge the cake and remaining strawberries into the little mini fridge overnight, and put the champagne back in our cooler. (It all made for a spectacular pre-brunch, in-bed meal the next morning).


Before we went to sleep I gave Marco his gift, a book of all the best photos that captured our many adventures over the last year. If I can manage to make it an annual thing, we'll have a great series that captures the many years we spend together!


Saturday morning:


Brunch in the hotel restaurant wasn't served until 10:30, but we were up around 8 anyway. It took us about 2 hours just to find our own feet and get out of bed. King sized mattresses are no joke, you can get lost in there.



Finally got dressed and ventured out of hibernation.


Elevator selfie!


We moseyed our way down to the food. I was so hungry I forgot to take a photo of our food, but I got an eggs benedict with crispy potatoes, and Marco ordered a massive croque madame. We split both so nobody missed out! Anything with an egg on top is a 10 in my book :)




After breakfast we wandered down and around, then through the pool yard. Look at the view! Most of the grounds surrounding the hotel were a golf course, so every so often we saw little carts driving around like ants on a popsicle stick.


Past the empty stables... there were some hiking trails too, but we decided not to explore that far, and instead elected to continue poking around the main hotel.


Tennis courts!



And some of the family pools! There were three family-friendly pools total, with the biggest on the other side of the archway. (We found the adults-only retreat later on.)


There was even a little ice cream and candy shop that smelled like buttered popcorn! Full from breakfast, we didn't stop to order anything, but the attendant let us pore over the choices anyway.



Continuing our walk around the outskirts of the hotel, we witnessed a bridal party getting ready for their day, watched some more golfers in their carts, and couldn't resist adding to the scenery!






Even the bathrooms were pretty!



We ducked inside to continue our self-guided tour and discovered the very peaceful Wellness Center (the spa).




The private, adults-only pool.


A shop selling THE largest candle I've ever seen. I mistook it for a bathroom trash can at first.


We poked around a little more and found them setting up for the wedding reception later on in the ballroom.



We stopped for a few minutes in this side room, off the main lobby, to catch our breath. I pulled an ancient book off the shelf and started thumbing through some poetry, but none of it was gripping enough to hold our attention so we moved on.



Took one more look out the lobby balcony, and then headed upstairs to change. Marco's next surprise was coming into play!




Quick costume change! I put on a swimsuit, a coverup, my floatiest and most elegant robe, and completed the look with my neon green bedroom slippers.





And SURPRISE!! He booked us two massages at the spa :) I think he's a keeper.



I told the attendant I felt like a big, fluffy marshmallow. The robe was HUGE (one size for all) but it was like wearing a cloud.


With a reservation, you get full access to the men's/ ladies lounges (locker rooms, showers, restrooms, private jacuzzi, steam and sauna rooms, complimentary beverages and snacks) and the poolside, where we sat together and ordered drinks and a light snack.





We each went into our respective massages, and I can say I came out of mine a new woman.


The attendants even gave us each a glass of Prosecco to mark the occasion of our anniversary!.



Feeling refreshed, we cleaned up and finally ventured out of the hotel for our dinner reservations.

We took an uber out to Hidden Fish, an Omakase sushi restaurant in San Diego.




They invited us inside promptly at 9pm, along with four other parties, and seated us around the bar.


There were three chefs behind the bar, each one covering 1-2 parties. Working from a pre-selected spread, they carefully sliced and prepared the fish right in front of us and explained each dish as we made our way down the menu.



After eighteen completely unique bites, Marco and I had marked up our little menu to our heart's content, declaring favorites (and the one or two we could live without). I was completely full, but Marco managed to find room to order two last à la carte versions of his favorites.


He practically had to roll me out the door, but we made it back to the hotel in time for one more shared glass of wine (a bright white that tasted like green apples) and went upstairs to fall into bed.



On Sunday morning we rolled ourselves up into the giant fluffy robes in the closet and then rolled ourselves out the window and onto our secluded little balcony for some fresh air and sunshine.


We stayed that way until almost noon, when we scrambled back inside and started throwing everything haphazardly into bags to make our midday checkout. Breathless and laughing, we arrived at the front desk where they gracefully checked in our luggage and we scampered off to the pool to find lunch.


One more look from the lobby balcony at the view.


We got lost on our way to the pool and had to backtrack a bit.



And we posted up in some chairs by the water and ordered big, fat cheeseburgers with fries.



And spent several hours snacking and chatting in the sunshine :) We forgot to actually get in the pool.




And eventually it got late and we changed out of our swimsuits and collected our bags from the front.

This is us waiting for valet to bring the car back around. We drove off into the sunset (I took a nap and missed a good hour of the trip home) and made it back to LA in time for the LA King's game at Staples Center (they lost).



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