Disclaimer: This story was published in the January 2021 issue of San Diego Magazine, which was sent to press before the Regional Stay Home Order was enacted. Hotel stays may be restricted, visit covid19.ca.gov for the latest information.
This boutique mountain inn is just a few minutes’ walk from Julian’s Main Street. After spending a day exploring the town’s charming shops, filling up on apple pie at Julian Pie Company, or sampling flights of hard cider, tuck into a cozy room in one of 12 private cottages or in the lodge. Many of the guestrooms have spacious bathrooms with whirlpool soaking tubs and gas fireplaces, which is the perfect way to warm up if you plan to stay during the snowy season (through early April).
El Cajon / Dehesa
The 30-minute drive east on Dehesa Road will give you the sense that you’re escaping the city without traveling too far. The 12-story casino resort has room service, balconies with views of the mountains, and an expansive pool deck on-site with a lazy river, cabanas and day beds, and plenty of outdoor dining. A few miles away is the more secluded Singing Hills Golf Resort, which has three golf courses and a hotel with rooms that overlook the greens.
Rancho Santa Fe
For a secluded splurge, book a room in one of the luxurious casitas for a restorative mini-vacation. While it’s tempting to curl up in front of a fire on the private patio or relax in the deep soaking tub, the resort’s grounds are worth exploring—there are acres of gardens and citrus groves to tour on a relaxing walk or bike ride. There’s also outdoor fitness classes, tennis, and elegant outdoor dining at the new Pony Camp—an alfresco restaurant on the resort’s Croquet Lawn—which serves The Pony Room restaurant’s complete menu with wine and cocktail pairings.
The red-roofed icon is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation, and its newest amenity is The Cabanas—a neighborhood on the property comprising nearly 100 new guest rooms with views of the ocean or the glamorous refurbished pool. If you get a ground-floor oceanfront room, you can lounge by your private fire pit steps away from Coronado Beach. The Cabanas are also near the resort’s new Sun Deck, which has plenty of space for dining outdoors or having a drink while enjoying views of the sea.
Be on the lookout for this brand-new hotel by Ponto Beach. It’s been built from the ground up and is set to make its debut in early 2021. The sleek 130-room property will have an oceanfront pool and an infinity-edge Jacuzzi, a pool bar, and activity packages developed by local celebrity surfer Rob Machado. Chef Claudette Zepeda is opening Vaga, her new restaurant, here. The menu will have a variety of international dishes and plenty of ocean views.