Many decades ago my folks eschewed the usual spring vacation in Florida for a trip to California. Our west coast trip stretched between Tijuana and Sausalito. As a kid growing up in Buffalo, California was the promised land for me. The Beach Boys, Tower Records and lots more beckoned. My Dad had always been eyeballing Vacation Village in San Diego, and that was probably the highlight of our trip. Now that I am a Dad, that same spot remains a classic family vacation destination.
Renamed Paradise Point, this 44 acre slice of heaven is surrounded by Mission Bay. Separate bungalows are arrayed throughout the grounds, with five pools in near proximity. The foliage is lush, so you are rarely seeing more than a few other bungalows. Bicycles are on offer (as are Segway and ElliptoGo units, which would have been akin to a Buck Rogers rocketship had they been available on my first teenage visit back in the day). Although you can stroll the grounds, cruising through on a fat wheeled bike is ideal. Plus which, you can escape the grounds for a more commercial ride along the Pacific Ocean. The bike paths throughout Mission Bay are glorious.
The Fiji-style bungalows at Paradise Point have been refurbished on the inside, leaving their exterior somewhat frozen in a mid-60s vibe. But wood floors and a South Sea motif is what you find inside. Not too much time was spent inside, but the bedrooms were spacious and comfortable. The results of a recent $20 million refurbishment are evident. Our suite had a master bedroom and a front room. The couch in the latter folded out for our daughters at night. A mini kitchen held some wine and local microbrews, of which we partook in the evening by one of the 14 firepits on the beach a few steps away. Although some curmudgeonly folks along the coast in California are looking to do away with firepits, they remain a great tradition.
In the morning we saw various crew teams gliding across the calm water. In the evening the winter sunsets were especially colorful. We made our way to the Barefoot Bar and Grill for dinner (one of the three waterfront dining options), where Chef James Ausem suggested a few dishes. The ahi tostadas and tomato saffron clams were tasty starters, whetting our appetite for the grilled pork chop entrée. Thick and unusually tender, it was accompanied by farmer’s market vegetables. I opted for the excellent grilled salmon on mashed potatoes, arugula and white corn puree. We timed our dinner to enjoy the sunset, as the Grill faces west. The bobbing sail boat masts in the foreground made for a perfectly delightful view.
Paradise Point offers a daily passport for unlimited use of in-room internet, fitness center, domestic phone calls, tennis and basketball courts / equipment, as well as ping-pong, bocce, croquet and horseshoes. We also played the cool mini golf course, where only a putter is needed. The links are all grass, with no windmill or pirate ship anywhere.
Although we only left the resort to bike along the Pacific Ocean, the resort is adjacent to SeaWorld Adventure Park and a short drive to Balboa Park where the world-famous San Diego Zoo is located. This proximity to these attractions coupled with the resort’s amenities led to Forbes naming Paradise Point #2 on the “Top Ten Family Resorts in the World.” Other notable awards have been collected for this Four- Diamond luxury resort:
- Professional Grounds Management Society for “best landscaped and maintained grounds” among U.S. hotels and motels.
- Listed as one of the Top 100 Resort Spas in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler.
The resort has initiated an impressive list of environmental initiatives, which made us feel great:
- All-electric car2go sharing program for guest use around San Diego
- Landscape featuring over 600 different types of carbon monoxide-converting plants and flowers
- Support of the Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter, a great seal of approval in my book
- Refillable dispenser systems in the guestroom bathrooms for shampoo, conditioner and shower gel to eliminate individual packaging waste (Hotels dispose of more than 10 billion partly-used individually-packaged bars of soap and bottles of liquids every year, who knew?)
But regardless of all the accolades and initiatives, we had a glorious and relaxing family stay, even more luxurious than my first visit eons ago.