North San Diego County is no more than an hour’s drive from most parts of Orange County, and there are several resorts where the atmosphere and amenities will rejuvenate your body and spirit. With spacious grounds, occasional wellness events, and opportunities for as much or as little fitness as you prefer, these three destinations will fulfill your desire to de-stress in whatever setting feels most restorative to you.
Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas
At the south end of Carlsbad State Beach, this sparkling new property displays a soothing vibe to match its coastal bluff location. The design inside and out incorporates visuals from the land and ocean with materials such as stone, wood, and netting. The Alila makes good on its commitment to sustainability—using lights that are sensitive to movement and aiming for zero waste in the food and drink program; everything is made on-site, even to the extent of grinding the flour and using remaining parts of garnish fruits for syrups and sauces at the restaurant Vaga. When it’s time to move, the resort offers surf lessons, electric bikes, and yoga classes. Then you’ll feel justified in indulging in a Renewal aromatherapy massage ($195 for 60 minutes). In terms of the rooms, there’s a style to fit every personality ($650 and up): For a secluded, quiet stay, go for the garden-view rooms or the studio rooms that feature a deep soaking tub. Nearly all rooms overlook the coastline, but the specific ocean-view rooms might provide more calm with direct lookouts of the Pacific and no visual of beach activity. Fire-pit rooms feature a chance to be outside in a private area while you people-watch or delight in the sunset. alilahotels.com/marea-beach-resort-encinitas
Behind the bar at Vaga, there are only bins for recycling and compost. All of our glass bottles and eligible paper goods are recycled. Our bits of fresh food and straws, paper napkins, and such are shipped off for composting.”
—Alex Gregg, bar manager at Alila Marea Beach Resort
Rancho Bernardo Inn
Get a taste of being in old-world Italy or another far-flung locale, without dealing with passports or plane rides. Meandering pathways lined with plenty of lush foliage separate the various residential buildings. You’ll walk along inhaling floral scents and listening to trickling fountains on your way to breakfast, the golf course, one of the pools, or outdoor yoga. The spa includes a pool just for spa guests, and there are lawns with activities for families as well as community fireplaces throughout the 265-acre property. Settle in at Avant restaurant, either indoors in a cozy booth or on the charming balcony complete with a fireplace and plenty of chandeliers. You’ll feast on wood-fired cauliflower with chimichurri ($15) and wagyu strip loin with chanterelle and Japanese sweet potatoes ($59). The menu adds a specific twist by highlighting ingredients sourced from the property in bold type. Try the dinner series, a four-course prix fixe menu with drinks ($125). Many rooms include private balconies or patios and deep bathtubs ($243 and up). A stay in June won’t include a marine layer since the property is just inland enough to make clear blue skies over the nearby hills a regular event. The staff here is warm and accommodating at every turn, ready to fulfill each request with generosity and grace.
Welk Resorts San Diego
An enormous property in Escondido, the Welk Resort boasts 450 acres that includes two golf courses, tennis courts, ample space for walking or jogging, multiple pools and fitness centers, a spa, and even a theater. You don’t have to wait for June Gloom to clear to partake in the new Underwater Virtual Reality experience ($24 per person). Choose from four adventures—deep-sea diving, touring the lost city of Atlantis, a journey through space, or skydiving thrills. This can be your initiation into something more adventurous later. Or it might be as close as you ever want to get, knowing you can stand up and feel the pool floor under your feet any time the virtual sharks seem just a little too close or the zero gravity in space a little too realistic. The villas and suites have all the comforts of home, so you can stay put in your own private space while still having common areas indoors and out to spend with extended family or friends ($172 and up). Updated kitchens, huge dining areas, and large balconies accompany bathrooms with plenty of options for you to indulge: A favorite is the freestanding, deep soaking tub—perfect for losing yourself for an afternoon. welkvacations.com