Our favorite luxury San Diego resorts offer a bite-size taste of supreme San Diego lifestyle. From fine dining to lavish spas, boutique shopping, expansive pools, pro golf courses and diverse seasonal entertainment, when a portion controlled selection of San Diego’s greatest assets is delivered right to your door step, there really is no reason to ever leave resort grounds.
The Grand Del Mar Resort & Spa is one such hotel that features San Diego’s best lifestyle perks, organized in chic easy-to-find simplicity, under one glamorous roof. In addition to fine dining at Addison, posh pampering at The Spa, and a premier Tom Fazio designed golf course, The Grand Del Mar now invites guests to get back on the saddle at the new Equestrian Center.
The Grand Del Mar is not horsing around. Take my word for it; last week I paid a personal visit to the new 20,000-square-foot equestrian center, complete with eight beautiful trail horse and ponies, tack and feed rooms, and an expansive riding area, or “arena” – just a little bit of equestrian slang I picked up during my day in Del Mar. After being escorted through the stunning resort grounds, I wandered past the pool, tennis courts and golf course to the equestrian center, where I was paired up with Jessica Odom, a skilled show jumper, seasoned horse trainer, and San Diego native, who has run programs all across the county, and now oversees all things equestrian at The Grand Del Mar. Whether you’re a traveling pro craving a ride while in town, or a novice local looking for a new activity and a breath of fresh air (like me!), Odom will take good care of you.
Open to hotel guests and San Diego locals, The Grand Del Mar offers a wide range of equine-centric outdoor activity programs and packages, including beginner and advanced lessons, trail rides, and day camps. Start off slow with Horseback Riding Lessons – held in the center’s fenced arena, lessons include grooming/tacking, a private riding lesson, untacking and cleaning. Minimum age: Five. Rate: $125, 1.5 hours. Or embrace your wild side with Happy Trails – veering off the beaten track, riders traverse the 4,100-acre natural preserve adjacent to The Grand Del Mar. Safe, reliable horses accommodate all ages and riding levels. Minimum age: Seven. Rates: $125, 1 hour; $160, 1.5 hours; $195, 2 hours.
Parents need some alone time? Not to worry, the kids will love Day Camps – information-packed three-hour sessions, day camps provide insightful tips on barn safety, grooming and bathing horses; riding pointers; games and crafts. Age groups: five to nine and 10 and up. Rate: $100, 3 hours. Perfect for relaxing afternoon fun any time of year, the Picnic n’ Ride Package invites guests to mount their steed for an adventurous trek through the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, then indulge in a hearty picnic lunch prepared by Club M Chef Ernest Lopez. Package includes trail ride and lunch. Rate: $300 per person, 2 hours.
In Good Hands: Born and raised in San Diego, Jessica Odom has been riding horses since she was 17-years-old, and previously managed the riding programs at Del Mar Meadows, before taking over The Grand Del Mar’s new center in March 2011. Odom is skilled at tailoring horses to each rider’s specific goals and needs, and she personally oversees the resort’s newly developed hunter/jumper arena and 37 miles of trails in the adjacent 4,100-acre preserve. Odom trains all ages – from five on – and has expertise with all levels, from beginners to high amateur ranks.
Saddle Up! The new Equestrian Center at The Grand Del Mar is now open for hotel guests and San Diego residents, Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 4:30pm October through April, and Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 6pm May through September. For more information, call 858.3141988 or visit thegranddelmar.com.
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Pictured Left: “Showman” - a retired Grand Prix jumper at The Grand Del Mar