It seems like every year around this time, we begin to wonder how the months flew by so fast and get a little antsy about the upcoming holidays. While the Good Tidings season is all about peace, love and happiness, it can be pretty stressful. Retail stores are already getting busier, parking are harder to find and traffic jams are occurring at all hours of the day. One way to beat the holiday blues? A daycation.
For many, the next few months will involve lots of traveling. So instead of booking yet another flight during the chaos, consider taking a break from the gift-shopping with a day of pampering right in your own backyard. Recently, I took a day to do just that at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad. A staple in San Diego since 1965, the resort has undergone a $50 million renovation and was purchased by Omni Hotels & Resorts in 2013. Even 50 years later, the property is just as gorgeous as ever.
Upon arriving, you’re immediately struck by its beauty and scenic location. The Spanish-colonial style buildings transport you to another time and place, you might even question if you’re still in SD. There is a sense of serenity around the property, even with families and children scurrying about the place.
To prepare for your daycation, book a poolside cabana at the over 21 pool, schedule a spa treatment(s) and reserve a table at Blue Fire Grill or Bistro 65 for dinner. If you’re only spending the day there, valet parking is complimentary, which is a nice treat for locals. There are five pools within the resort, including the kid-friendly Splash Landing Pools with two 100-foot waterslides and water play areas, and the Sandy Beach Family Pool. Keep those in mind for future visits, but on this trip, make use of the Edge Adult Pool & Terrace.
Scattered around the pool are lounge chairs, large umbrellas, fire pits, and a few outdoor sofas to relax on. The pool overlooks the golf course and surrounding hillsides, making for an extremely picturesque backdrop. In general, renting a cabana is the way to go; there's no need to feel rushed about securing a lounge chair. The spacious cabanas sit to one side of the terrace and come with complimentary waters and a fruit platter upon arrival. There’s also a TV inside should you or your significant other want to watch some football.
During the summertime, a DJ livens up the area with a range of music from different genres. While the music creates an energetic atmosphere, thankfully, its autumn/winter respite allows for a much more relaxing afternoon. Edge Bar offers creative cocktails and a food menu from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the pool. Guests can dine on fare such as ahi poke, hummus plates, roasted turkey wraps and blackened shrimp tacos. For a refreshing drink, try the Anti-Oxidant Mojito made with Bacardi Silver, fresh berries, pomegranate juice, hand squeezed lime, mint and topped with club soda.
After soaking up the sun (yes there will still be sunshine in the fall and winter), head over to the Spa located in a separate building. Named the #1 Wellness Spa in the Country by Spa Magazine, the facility is a whole experience in itself. With separate locker rooms and waiting areas, plus joint relaxation lounges and an outdoor pool, there’s plenty to do even before you step into your treatment room.
Having booked a Deep Tissue Massage, I started the session off with a few light bites and infused water in the ladies lounge before retreating to my room. From start to finish, the process is seamless and extremely relaxing. As far as hotel spas go, Omni’s facility tops our list for best service, therapies and facilities. Note: If you’d rather bypass the adult pool all together, there’s a café at the spa pool as well and you’re guaranteed a quieter afternoon.
With lockers, showers, complimentary bath amenities and styling products, it’s easy to go from the spa to dinner without having to go home and change. Being a Sunday, the resort’s fine dining restaurant Blue Fire Grill was closed, so we made ourselves comfortable on Bistro 65’s patio. Serving elegant-yet-casual dishes made with local, sustainable ingredients, the restaurant is a nod to California’s abundance of fresh meats, poultry and produce.
Overlooking the golf course, guests can sip on some of the state’s best wines and local brews while enjoying starters such as calamari, mussels or charcuterie platters. Along with salads and entrées, the menu also features Ayurvedic foods from Deepak Chopra designed to “delight the senses, enliven vitality, and tap into the joy of being alive (all ingredients are vegan and gluten free).” Don’t miss the Seafood Linguine on the main menu which comes with Manila clams, prawns, calamari, garlic, Cerignola olives, crushed tomato and parsley (so good!).
Following dessert, you may want to cuddle up next to a fire pit and toast to one last drink before heading home. Sometimes, all it takes to feel refreshed is a day to sit back and relax with nothing more on your mind than your next cocktail. With the holidays on their way, a daycation at Omni La Costa might just be what the doctor orders. If not, do it anyway, a little pampering never hurt anyone.