The first surprise was discovering a delightful resort, with tropical island flair, mere minutes from the bustle of downtown San Diego.
Tucked away on a lush, private island in gentle Mission Bay, the 18-hectare property basks under sunny skies, swaying palms and overflows with lush gardens. Ducks and turtles swim in the man-made lagoon.
Each of the resort’s 462 comfortable, bungalow-style guestrooms provides garden, lagoon or bay views and each comes with a private or semi-private patio.
Steps away from our back door, a sandy beach wraps around the island. The lush, tropical setting is home to more than 600 varieties of exotic foliage,
The second surprise was discovering that upscale and unpretentious do co-exist. Far from a snooty, gated enclave putting on airs, the island is an easy-going, family- and dog-friendly oasis – a one-stop shop of fun activities including the outdoor patio at the laid-back Barefoot Bar and Grill – the kid-friendly restaurant.
The first clue is a bundle of firewood and a welcome package delivered to our door, minutes after checking in. The package contains everything needed to make s’mores along with the invitation to build a beach bonfire at sundown for a memorable s’mores roast. How much fun is that! And they’re better than hot dogs.
Guests can ride the 22 kms of island bicycle trails, check out golf skills on the18-hole, real-grass putting course or spend their day lounging by one of five swimming pools .
Should water sports strike their fancy, the full-service marina provides jet skiing, sailing or kayaking – even a Paradise Surf Academy.
One of San Diego’s biggest attractions, SeaWorld Adventure Park is a five minute ride in a water taxi.
The third surprise was discovering Tidal, the resort’s signature restaurant. Not unexpectedly, the atmosphere is casual.
And the food? Amazing!
Celebrity chef Amy De Biase puts a California twist on traditional fine-dining with an emphasis on “craft and catch” seafood. Her version of Salmon Wellington includes a layer of ground morel mushrooms, all wrapped in buttery, flaked pastry. Sea bass is cooked to perfection in parchment along with caramelized onions and potatoes and zucchini, sliced paper-thin. DiBiase’s inventive flair has earned accolades for her and for the restaurant.
Tidal is perfect place to watch the sun go down on beautiful Mission Bay