Being a San Diego resident, I often get asked the best place to stay in San Diego and I always find the question so difficult! There are many options and they all have slightly different vibes, amenities, and locations that it truly depends what you are looking for and why you’re visiting. The new Alila Marea Beach Resort, which opened this past Spring in Encinitas, definitely filled a void though: a modern, beachside hotel that is perfect for a couples getaway. My husband and I recently had the opportunity to staycation at the property for a weekend to celebrate our babymoon and loved every last detail – most notably waking up to the sites and sounds of the ocean right outside our balcony.
Part of the Hyatt portfolio, the Alila brand is popular across Asia, but has only 3 properties in the US (in California), this San Diego location being their very first new-build in the States. Alila personifies “barefoot luxury” with a focus on three central pillars: (1) Wellness (2) Sustainability and (3) Location – the third of which applies not only to the selection of the property site, but also to the incorporation of local businesses and culture into the design and offerings of the hotel. Alila Marea takes all three pillars to heart with a lovely boutique spa, use of solar energy, and influence from local San Diego artists, chefs, and businesses throughout.
The hotel is an ideal size with just 130 rooms – large enough to have some nice amenities onsite but small enough that you still have that boutique feel and it doesn’t seem overly crowded. All rooms have balconies and 96% have water and coastal views. Even booking an entry level room here – you’re pretty much guaranteed to have ample space, wonderful amenities, and a gorgeous view!
We were fortunate enough to stay in an Ocean View room on the third floor. From our bed and balcony, we could see just across the pool and fire pits – straight out to the ocean. Plus, the room had all the modern amenities you need for a comfortable stay – USB ports, a Chromecast to stream your favorite shows, a luxurious King-sized bed, and in-room tea and coffee service, as well as complimentary waters and hard seltzers (if only I hadn’t been pregnant!). My favorite touch though was the eucalyptus branches in the rain shower, which made me feel like I was at the spa every time I went in there. If you are looking to upgrade your experience a bit, I highly recommend one of the Fire Pit rooms, which have oversized patios and private fire pits – perfect for cozy nights by the sea!
The main restaurant at the hotel, VAGA, is one of the hottest new tables in San Diego and offers sunset views from the patio that can’t be beat. VAGA is helmed by Chef Claudette Zepeda, a former Top Chef contestant and native San Diegan, who serves global fusion cuisine with a focus on local and sustainably sourced ingredients from the ocean to the farm. See photo below for the most amazing warm Parker House rolls you will ever have!
For more casual fare, hotel guests can enjoy poolside eats at The Pocket for lunch or a snack, or grab a quick bite and a local coffee at Coffee Box. In the evening, the hot spot to be is The Perch where you can watch the sun set over the ocean with a cocktail in hand.
The hotel has a boutique spa on the first floor with 5 treatment rooms, men’s and women’s locker rooms – each with a sauna – and a soothing coed relaxation space. I had the chance to enjoy a prenatal massage and it was so relaxing – I only wish I had had more time and could have spent the whole afternoon there!
For those looking for more active adventures, daily wellness classes are offered. Guests can also borrow electric bikes to head into nearby Leucadia or Encinitas to explore local beaches, shopping, and dining. The concierge can also arrange surfing lessons and other unique Encinitas-centric experiences. We loved walking on the beach directly below the hotel, and sitting by the pool and fire pits for some relaxation time. In the summer months, the hotel also offers beach valet service with chairs, umbrellas and towels.
Living in Pacific Beach / La Jolla, I don’t get up to North County San Diego as often and so it was really fun to be based in Encinitas for the weekend and explore all the town has to offer. A few of our favorite spots were:
- Herb & Sea – little sister to downtown’s Herb & Wood, part of Brian Malarkey’s portfolio – definitely the place to be in downtown Encinitas!
- Broad Street Dough Co. – um hello warm donuts in dozens of flavors – we came here twice!
- Shops at The Lumberyard – nice plaza with some cute home and kids boutiques – perfect for shopping for Christmas gifts
- Goodonya – great healthy organic spot for breakfast
Overall, we had a fantastic stay at the Alila Marea Beach Resort and I would highly recommend the hotel for a long weekend to any couples or even groups of friends looking for a beachside escape. Booking through ATLAS + VALISE, we can secure the following additional amenities for your stay, as well as help you plan the perfect visit to Encinitas!
- Daily full breakfast for 2 per room
- $100 USD property credit per stay
- Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
- Room upgrade, subject to availability
Contact me today to plan your trip to this stunning hotel!