Set amidst the Batiquitos Lagoon nature preserve, tucked away in the hills of North San Diego County, lays the quiet golf community of Aviara. The green, lush setting reminded me of my visit to the luxury resort home neighborhood in Orlando, Florida, Disney’s Golden Oak. A portrait of rolling hills, cool morning breezes, and a warm inviting sun beaconing you to just relax, and take it all in. Roughly 30 minutes north of the city of San Diego, Aviara offers a true luxurious family vacation destination, perfect for multi-generational travelers.
Where to Stay
The Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts always manage to pop up in the best locations in the world, and the hidden luxuries of Aviara at the Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, North San Diego is no exception. The Four Seasons Hotel and Resort once owned the entire property, which included the hotel as well as the residences. Several years back, the hotel portion was obtained by Park Hyatt, under which it is now operated. The Four Seasons operates the residences, for those seeking a different kind of luxury resort experience. There are 246 villas on the property, each individually owned, and all are available to rent nightly*- just like any other hotel.
My children and I were invited guests over the summer, and were given the opportunity to stay in a one-bedroom villa. This family friendly retreat is complete with a large dining room and living room, fully equipped kitchen, a half bath, washer and dryer, and pull out queen sofa bed, and beautifully appointed master suite. Other villa sizes are available to accommodate families with different ages of children, a nanny, large parties or grandparents for mutli-generational vacationing. Amenities include two club areas each housing swimming pools, full bar with dining options, exercise facilities and spa. The main reception area invites guests to grab a vintage version of their favorite childhood board game, while the kids’ club, Club 760, provides daily activities and programs to keep all ages busy. Beyond the regular resort activities, there are also seasonal programs tailored for every generation, whether it’s a Teen Movie Night, S’mores by the Pool, or a Pinot Progressive Dinner. Baby-sitting is also available through the resort.
No matter how extravagant a getaway is, there is no denying that a fully equipped kitchen with state of the art appliances and an in-room washer and dryer is a luxury comfort that offers peace of mind. With so many activities like beach, swimming, golf, and tennis, I love the convenience of being able to toss our suits or workout clothes in the wash before packing everything up. Light packers have the option of keeping clothes clean and on the ready. Breakfast and lunch can be found in both cafes and the Higher Grounds coffee shop (where Starbucks is served!) at the Four Seasons, however, dining options end around 5pm. Dinner can be served via room service in your villa, or of course, there is always the option to make use of that lovely kitchen. And, on the nights cooking is just not in the cards, the town of Carlsbad offers many fabulous restaurants to choose from. However, it was nice to know we had the ability to save a bit on meals by utilizing the kitchen, or being able to store leftovers for the next day. A full kitchen and dining table also help create those lasting memories over a shared family meal.
True to expectations, Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara spoiled my children with special treats and mini-bathrobes to ensure they were apart of the vacation experience as well. And, the ability to drop them off at Club 760 to enjoy their fun filled day of video games, arts and crafts and an etiquette class, allowed Mom a quiet morning walking the grounds, sipping coffee and getting in an hour of tennis at the Park Hyatt. Needless to say, we did not want our vacation to end.
Where to Play
The Aviara community provides many options to keep all generations busy. The area is famous for the Arnold Palmer designed golf course named by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine as one of the best golf courses in America. The Park Hyatt Aviara* offers a Tennis Center where you can hone your skills with a resident pro, or reserve a court for a game of doubles. Down the road a bit is the quaint little beach town of Carlsbad full of shopping, dining, and outdoor recreational activities at some of the most pristine beaches in Southern California. Depending on the time of year, there is usually a festival or street fair to be found, and surfers line the shore. Carlsbad is also home to the Flower Fields, outlet shopping and LegoLand California. *If you go to Hyatt and book at this hotel, Traveling Mom will receive a referral fee.
Where to Eat
If you ask the residents in the Carlsbad/Aviara area about dining, they will tell you the Village or the Forum has the best restaurants. Popular spots include Karl Strauss Brewery, Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant, Vigilucci’s Seafood and Steak, Carlsbad Danish Bakery, and The Chocolate Bar- all family friendly. Our favorite place, however, was Pizza Port. There is a great story behind it, something about brothers who wanted to surf and make beer, and so they did. Coming into the San Diego brewing scene in the earl 1990’s, the brothers turned their beer-making hobby into an actual award winning business, with several locations up and down the SoCal coast. Pizza Port is a true locals scene where community tables are lined up wall to wall. Cop a squat and make some new friends. The conversations are generally about the swells from that day, the newest rock climbing gyms, and which beer they ordered. The salads are fresh, big and green- enough for a family of 4. The pizzas are great. The kids run around and play video games. It is crowded, loud and very casual. And, we loved it.
No matter the time of year, or the generational gap, the Aviara community in Southern California is sure to please the pickiest of travelers and provide a luxury vacation packed full or memories for years to come.
*Unit availability based on occupancy at time of travel.
All photos provided by writer, with the exception of the main photo, provided by Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara North San Diego.