Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines
The Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Hotel is auspiciously tucked into the side of the Pacific Ocean Palisades. The hotel has four guest room wings that stretch toward the ocean and toward the world famous Torrey Pines golf course. The hotel also maintains baby-friendly accessibility with large escalators, ramps, and wide floors that make pushing a stroller easy and allow for a comfortable stay when traveling with a baby.
Of the 394 rooms, the hotel has one Presidential Suite and seventeen suites. My suite was very comfortable for a family traveling with children or a baby. Like a large apartment, it consisted of a living room with a couch, two large, comfortable chairs and a television; a full dining room with a large table and four chairs; and a bedroom with two televisions and a desk area. Amenities included a coffee maker (which enabled me to warm water for bottles), a refrigerator, two decks, and a huge terrace with a complete patio set. The room was decorated with soothing colors of peach and cream.
Wonderful ocean breezes whisked into the room, refreshing for a baby and parents. There was plenty of open space for Mandalin to stretch and play on the large bed and on the couch, while supervised, of course. I was able to actually push the baby around the expansive suite in her stroller with no difficulty whatsoever and easily bring her out on the enormous terrace. The terrace was huge with panoramic views of the golf course and the ocean.
Activities and facilities available at the hotel for children and parents include basketball courts, aerobics classes, a lap pool, and a beautiful running track. The Torrey Pines State Reserve Trails, beautiful cliffs and trails overlooking huge expanses of Pacific Ocean, is within a five-minute drive of the hotel. Distance and trail maps for this stunning trail are available at the hotel. Bikes are also provided through the hotel, to help guests enjoy the several nearby biking trails. The hotel also has a beautiful, classically Roman styled outdoor heated pool, accompanied by a whirlpool spa, the sundeck, and the Poolside Meal Service Bar. In addition to the golf course, a putting green, a stretching program, and sunrise nature walks are all offered to guests.
The Fitness Center at the Hilton offers a spa with full treatments including facials, massages, aromatherapy, and even cellulite treatments. Swedish, sports, warm herb, and oil massages range from $85.00 to $95.00 per hour. Facials are $95.00 per hour and a manicure/pedicure costs $80.00 for one and a half hours.
Shiley Sports and Health Center, adjacent to the Hilton Torrey Pines, is an upscale and trendy health and fitness club, and is available to hotel guests for a fee of $10.00 per day, or $30.00 per week.
The hotel's swanky restaurant, the Torreyanna Grill, is located on the first floor of the hotel, surrounded by original art work, water fountains, plants, and colorful slate, but perhaps the most impressive component of its ambiance is the view of the golf course and the ocean. The grill features New World cuisine and offers a Friday night seafood buffet and a Sunday brunch. It has an exhibition kitchen and contemporary decór. The dress code is casual, with no coat or tie required. My family ate there on a Sunday night, while it was quite crowded. The service was friendly and personable and accommodations were comfortable for the baby; a ramp leading into the restaurant allowed us to easily push Mandalin in her stroller in and out. Our food choices ranged from New York steaks to chicken stuffed with cheese and potatoes with white sauce and asparagus. Cheesecake and chocolate torte were our picks for dessert. Dinner came to a reasonable $54.00--a modest price for dinner in La Jolla.
Hotel parking at Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines is a disadvantage. Self-parking with no in and out privileges is $12.00, plus hourly fees; guests have to pay every time they leave. Valet parking costs $15.00 to $18.00, but guests are given in and out privileges.
It might seem natural, when staying at this hotel to head into downtown La Jolla. However, the hotel is actually located about equidistant between La Jolla and Del Mar, and when traveling with young children, I would recommend visiting the latter instead. La Jolla is great fun for singles and couples, mostly because of the boisterous beach walk and the showy, expensive shops, although if you blink, they will disappear. Come back to La Jolla a year later and the shops and restaurants have mostly changed. Many of the restaurants are open only for dinner, except on Sundays, so I find daytime hunting for a baby-friendly eatery in La Jolla rather limited. Add to that the constant noise and inconvenience of the ongoing construction in the village, the traffic, and road rage so prevalent there, and I would pass on La Jolla for taking young children.
Instead, head north to Del Mar and there find the European style Del Mar Plaza, a convenient shopping enclave for taking your baby. As I discussed in the L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa section, Del Mar itself is not the most pedestrian-friendly environment; however, The Plaza, being built up high and elevated away from traffic, allows parents to shop in a number of boutiques and eat in any of three major restaurants without having to cross a single street with young children. You still can hear the rush of traffic noise from Highway One below, but you could probably overlook that drawback when you view the seemingly endless expanse of ocean seen from almost any point in the Plaza.
In addition to the roominess of the suites and the availability of ramps, already mentioned, baby/child friendly features include:
The setting and serenity at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines are conducive to romance, as is the pampering that is afforded to guests of the hotel. I strongly recommend booking a suite with a large terrace area. From the porch of my suite, it was so quiet that the only noises to be heard were birds, the sprinklers, and occasionally a jet from nearby Miramar Naval Air station overhead. I was sitting above the hotel's golf course with a view of the Pacific Ocean. The tranquility here seemed as if I was experiencing a very rare, preserved part of La Jolla, perhaps what La Jolla was like twenty years ago, with just the natural beauty of the green vegetation and the shining ocean.