PAMPERING AT L’AUBERGE
By Michael Hepworth
a $25 million face lift the popular L’Auberge Del Mar is now up and
running, even though the new restaurant under the eye of James Beard Chef
Paul McCabe won’t be open till November, and a brand new separate spa is
due early next year. Location of the hotel is the key here, with the
on one side of the hotel, and Del Mar Village on the other side. The
accolades that the hotel has received are far too numerous to mention her,
but needless to say they can expect a bunch more once the new restaurant
and spa get into gear.
There is a landscaped footpath that leads directly to
the beach, and there are two lighted tennis courts available for
individual or mini tournament play. A tennis pro is on call for private or
group lessons. There is a state of the art fitness center, and a very
popular outdoor whirlpool spa and a pearl-bottomed leisure swimming pool.
Of course the place is exceptionally busy during the
Del Mar Racing season in the summer, but outside of that this is an
exceptional place to wind down and enjoy the local
. All you really have to contend with here is the sound of the train that
goes by on the nearby track that can be a bit irritating until you get
used to it.
The hotel only has 120 rooms including 8 suites, and
they are now big on specialty packages, and as a romantic retreat, the
L’Auberge will continue to attract guests from all walks of life,
including of course the usual splatter of celebrities. The new lobby is an
attractive area, and the outside bar area really comes to life at night,
and is quite the place for the locals to hang out especially on weekends.
It can be a bit noisy on weekends for those that want an early night, but
the sound of clinking glasses can be soothing to some.
The Wining and Dining
Connoisseur Package sounds like a good one with prices of about $575
per night (double occupancy) for a two day/night package. This includes a
special wine tasting on the night of arrival, and on the second night,
guests enjoy a private wine dinner prepared by McCabe along with wine
pairings. The good thing about this package and all the others is that
taxes, parking and tips are included in the price.
Retreat Package at $475 per night includes in room champagne and
strawberries and dinner for two, and the Pampered
Pooch Package is for those who like to travel with their dogs. While
the human gets to enjoy two 50 minute massages in a poolside cabana, the
canine of the family gets to stay at the
in Rancho Santa Fe. Here they will get an oils massage, bathing, grooming
and styling, teeth cleaning and a pedicure and manicure.
The restaurant should be something special when it
opens judging by the superb lunch I had when I was down there. The lobster
bisque gazpacho soup was just right for the setting, and the pastrami
sandwich with the crispy fries was the best I have had since a visit to
. The new restaurant was inspired by
architect Andre Kikoski, and will feature vaulted ceilings, an elegant
fireplace, as well as a wine bar that will offer a glimpse of the open
Chef McCabe has been with L’Auberge since 2004, and
is well known by the
crowd having cooked for such luminaries as Barbara Streisand, Gwyneth
Paltrow, Meryl Streep and Kevin Costner. He is also recognized as a Chef
de Rotisseur and is currently an officer of their San Diego Chapter.
Parking only-$25 per day.