A Visit to Torrey Pines
Written By Cortney Vaughn
Photos Provided By The Lodge at Torrey Pines
It’s a popular destination from St. Louis: sunny Southern California. And with resorts aplenty running from Orange County down to the Gaslamp District of San Diego, there is one that warrants at least a day trip from wherever you stay. A winding road with a meticulously groomed landscape transfers you from the city lights of San Diego onto the grounds of a secluded, yet grand resort, replete with clinker-brick masonry, straight from the Show Me State. From the moment we arrived at The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, our eyes fixated on the radiant stained glass windows, the famous Pinus Torreyana trees, and the type of hospitality that seems to have almost dissolved over time.
Happy faces gleamed in the lobby around every turn with both families and couples, cuddled up around fireplaces as if they were in the comfort of their own home. Down a cozy hallway, we were shown our exquisite first floor room, designed with a fireplace at the foot of the bed, perfect to cozy up to when the cool ocean breeze comes at night. With a bathroom fit for a queen and lavender permeating the air, the best part came when the balcony doors were pulled open, revealing a gorgeous sunset. The view across the 18th green of the world-famous Torrey Pines golf course was complete with a spectacular glimpse of the ocean just on the other side. Imagine the view in 2008 when Tiger Woods won his last major at the same course. From that moment, I knew it was going to be a trip to remember.
Upon arriving, we did a quick turnaround for dinner. The Lodge’s signature restaurant, A.R. Valentien, highlights regional San Diego cuisine served in an elegant, timbered indoor-outdoor dining room overlooking the property as well as the chic green and white cabana striped umbrellas at the pool. The restaurant takes its name from a talented early 20th-century California artist whose works are exhibited throughout the restaurant. For a more casual or lunch option, The Grill offers amazing cuisine with cozy fire pit seating and spectacular views of the putting green. I’m certain the seats have been donned by some pretty famous golfers for a round of conversation and cocktails after completing the 18th hole.
Our 5:30am wake-up call gave us a much-needed head start on the day. As we strolled up the 18th fairway from our balcony with clubs in tow, the sun was peeking out above the Pacific. The locals teed off at dawn which let us know that Torrey Pines is a true golf-lover’s paradise. We chose to play the difficult but fair South Course at Torrey Pines, and boy were we in for a treat! The first hole is a welcoming par 4 that leads up to a beautiful view of the ocean. Luckily, we were playing with two San Diego natives who entertained us with a wealth of local course knowledge throughout the day. The third hole is the signature Par 3 on the South Course, overlooking the ocean and beautiful La Jolla.
The front nine was filled with picturesque views as the holes run back and forth along the coastline. The back nine provides a challenging test of golf for even the best of amateur players. My boyfriend recently achieved the honor of “hole in one” status at a St. Louis country club. And he did not disappoint our foursome; he was fortunate to have a two-putt par on the difficult 475-yard Par 4 12th hole. Much like the mid-day sun beaming down on us throughout the round, our game was heating up after a string of pars lead us to the famous Par 5 18th hole. After his best drive of the day, he had no choice but to go for it over the small pond that covers the left side of the 18th green. After some short game miscues, he tapped in for bogey and we thanked our playing partners for such a wonderful day of golf. After the round, we headed into the pro-shop which was filled with all the latest gear for the 2021 U.S. Open venue. We decided on a relaxing post-round lunch with drinks at The Grill where he regaled me with stories of all of his great shots from the round (most of which I missed due to the distracting but breathtaking ocean views). This truly was the best day ever!
I’ll be honest- I had my sights set on the spa since the moment we arrived at the hotel. The locker rooms were immaculate, the steam room and sauna prior to my service allowed me to truly decompress before my appointment. I chose the Signature 80-minute massage and I’m so happy that I did. I left utterly relaxed and ready to start our drive up the coast to the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles for the second half of our trip.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family trip or a golf/spa trip with friends, I highly recommend at least an overnight stay at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, just 20 minutes south toward the ocean from the beautiful Rancho Valencia also visited by ourSophisticated Living members. The breathtaking views and world- class golf are all just mere bonuses to the hospitality you’ll find around every corner. I’m still in awe of the staff and the chivalry we found. I know that you’ll feel the same.