DESTINATIONS: Grand Pacific Palisades, Torrey Pines, Aviara & Much More!

Story by J.B. Lester
Healthy Planet Editor/Publisher

San Diego, Carlsbad, La Jolla Area Is Great “Green” Adventure

From the beautifully landscaped patio area of the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort, we looked out over the Pacific Ocean into the warm late afternoon sun. Boats moved slowly across the water in all directions while the spout of a whale migrating north up the coast glistened in the sunshine. A hawk swooped overhead searching for an early supper. On the hillside just below the resort, the famous 50-acre “Flower Fields” lay fallow after a season of colorful blooms.

This trip to the Carlsbad, La Jolla, San Diego area of Southern California was a continuation in our search for Green Hotels and Resorts. On this trip, my brother and I were the guests of the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort, a property in the RCI holiday exchange group, a part of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals and the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands.

The Grand Pacific Palisades Resort was recently honored by RCI with a 2013 Platinum Award for its environmentally-friendly business practices.

“Going Green is not only the right thing to do, it’s fiscally responsible, and our guests expect us to be good stewards of the environment,” said David Brown, co-president, Grand Pacific Resorts. “Our terrific in-house Going Green Squad is comprised of representatives from each of our 19 resorts. They are continually coming up with great ideas and action plans as we do our part to think and act green. These efforts improve our resorts’ bottom line, reduce our environmental impact, and satisfy our owners’ and guests’ expectations for environmentally conscious hospitality practices.”

Grand Pacific Palisades Resort represents one of the best in a group of resorts that are “Going Green.” From employee green trainings and weekly beach clean ups, to offering public transportation and using environmentally-friendly green supplies, the resort is always increasing its eco-awareness and decreasing its carbon footprint.

Guests can see these “green” signs for themselves with in-room recycling, linen/towel exchange programs and water-saving low flow toilets and showerheads.

Grand Pacific Palisades Resort is set on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Carlsbad. For the kids, it is right next door to LEGOLAND© California. For the adults, the restaurant on site is Karl Strauss Brewery where a delicious meal is well complemented by a couple of their tasty craft beers. As a nice touch, the resort has a separate kids’ pool and an adult pool. There is also a golf course called The Crossings right next door for those who want to tee it up as we did.

You have a choice of one of many deluxe rooms or villa suites at the Grand Pacific Palisades, many having ocean views. The resort is well located near the ocean, sightseeing, outlet shopping, restaurants, golf and more. You can fly into San Diego as we did and drive north or you can fly into Los Angeles and drive south. There is also a small airport in Carlsbad minutes away with easy connections to L.A.

Everyone at the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort knows the meaning of hospitality. They are friendly, courteous and attentive. And most of all they are “Green.”

Two other RCI resorts to receive 2013 Green Awards were: Gold Award to the Carlsbad Seapointe Resort and the Hilton Grand Vacations Club at MarBrisa won the Silver RCI Green Award. For more information and details on the RCI Green Awards, visit www.RCIaffiliates.com. For more information on the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort please visit www.grandpacificpalisades.com or www.gprmgt.com.

The second leg of our short journey to the northern San Diego area, brought us to Four Seasons Aviara in Carlsbad. Aviara is Spanish for home of birds, and Aviara Golf Club is an oasis for both birds and plant lovers. Aviara Golf Club overlooks the Batiquitos Lagoon nature reserve. The grounds of this golf course, home to the LPGA Kia Classic, are a visual and sensory delight. Each golf hole has unbelievably beautiful landscaping with flowers and plantings, it is impossible to pick a signature hole by visuals alone.

Aviara has been named the #1 golf resort in Southern California according to the readers of Condé Nast Traveler and one of the best resort golf courses in the country by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. And this is a Four Seasons property, so everything is top notch and every detail is quality. There is in-room recycling which is prominently placed under the kitchen sink while the trash can was in a cabinet off to the side, making it much easier for guests to recycle vs toss away recyclables. For golfers, nature lovers and just those who like to vacation in style, Four Seasons Aviara is for you. For more information on Aviara Four Seasons visit www.fourseasons.com/northsandiego and for Aviara Golf visit www.golfaviara.com.

Although we did not stay overnight at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, we did play golf and dine there as their guests. Located in La Jolla, Torrey Pines is a well known stop on the PGA tour where Tiger Woods had his historic win over Rocco Mediate in the 2008 U.S. Open.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines has been awarded the Leadership Level in the California Green Lodging Program, the highest level possible. “Being so close to the natural beauty of the Golf Course and Torrey Pines State Reserve, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is dedicated to respecting the environment,” the Lodge website states. “Green Travelers” can rest assured that The Lodge is dedicated to minimizing waste, conserving energy and protecting natural resources.”

For more information on the Lodge At Torrey Pines check out www.lodgetorreypines.com.

After enjoying our day of golf at Torrey Pines, complete with panoramic coastal ocean views and paragliders overhead, my brother and I visited the town of La Jolla. It was a good day to view the seals and sea lions basking on the beach and rocks. We took in all that is Southern California on this trip. The surf was up at Encinitas Beach. But the water was too cold for us to hang ten. We left our wet suits in St. Louis and left “shooting the curls” to the seasoned surfers.

Anytime of the year is a good time to visit the gorgeous San Diego, La Jolla, Carlsbad area of Southern California. The ocean always beckons and the temperatures are moderate all year long.

Come on, everyone deserves some time away. But remember, if you are going to go, Go Green!