The new management had turned the one-time notorious property into a glamorous Hollywood star. We liked the hotel’s beautiful redesign, our 725 square foot Vista Double Suite, spectacular rooftop views, and outstanding (and safe) location.
Tucked away in a residential golf neighborhood in northeastern San Diego is an outstanding restaurant led by a dynamic, exacting and talented young chef with immense culinary promise.
Azul offered fine dining with a magnificent ocean view. Because I arrived extra early I was able to take my pick of seats next to the floor to ceiling windows that draw the eyes of everyone in the dining room. I chose a front row seat to the Pacific Ocean. From there I could see the dark ocean waters and the beautiful landscapes of the La Jolla Cove to the south and La Jolla Shores to the north. Although the sun had been brilliant a few hours earlier, by the time I arrived at Azul mounds of clouds had rolled in and the colors were gray and muted. Even so the vista was inspiring.
Most people don’t ordinarily think of a shopping arcade as a location for a gourmet dinner. And yet, one of the better gourmet meals I have enjoyed in California was at The Dining Room at Jack’s in a shopping arcade in tony La Jolla. Once inside, I forgot I was in a mall and focused on the menu, modern décor, and lively ambiance with subdued light. Although there was a constant flow of happy hour guests at the bar adjacent to the dining area where I was seated, the noise level was loud enough to be interesting without being bothersome.
The Rancho Bernardo Inn was a short drive east from the coastal highway in San Diego and a world away in style and pace. Relaxed and verdant, the property’s golf courses and gourmet restaurant were the center of attraction in an otherwise quiet residential neighborhood.
We rushed from a cross country flight that departed before sunrise to arrive in San Francisco, collect our rental car (no small feat at the San Francisco airport) and check-in just before our 12:30 p.m. San Francisco Helicopter Tours van pick up. We were a bit miffed to find all the rushing, concern about find out hotel in time, checking in and missing out on lunch to discover the driver was 20 minutes late. A final pick up in a San Francisco hotel, saw twelve of us headed across the Golden Gate bridge to ritzy Marin County in a nearly full van.