By Greg Aragon
To some, paradise is a romantic dinner on a moonlit bay. To others it’s a secluded bungalow on the beach, or a soothing massage in a tropical setting. To me it’s all of the above, which is why I love Paradise Point Resort & Spa on San Diego’s majestic Mission Bay.
Covering 44 acres, the resort is a tropical rain forest-like oasis, encircled by one mile of white sandy beach, perfect for relaxing on the sand or building castles and playing volleyball, bocce ball, and horseshoes. The resort boasts an award-winning seafood restaurant, a full-service spa and 462 guestrooms, all set in classic Californian-styled bungalows with lots of privacy. The rooms range from 450–650-square-feet and offer lagoon, garden or bay views.
The bungalow that my friend and I stayed in sits on a grassy bluff, overlooking romantic Paradise Cove, about 30 yards from the water and close enough to hear passing boat sails flap in the wind while lying in bed.
The room is highlighted by modern décor, with king size bed, sofa bed, office desk with wireless internet, push button fire place, large Jacuzzi tub, and a 20-foot wall of glass, looking over the water and a lanai, with table and chairs. Near the lanai we had our own fire pit in the sand, which came with the room.
When not relaxing on the lanai we explored the resort. Our first discovery was the waterfront Barefoot Bar and Grill. Known for panoramic views of Mission Bay, this legendary San Diego waterfront restaurant dates back to 1962 and offers casual California dining inspired by local beach culture.
While here, we sat outside next to a tropical waterfall and enjoyed a lunch of clam chowder with surfer clams, potato, bacon, and scallion; and fish and chips with true cod, jalapeño tartar, cole slaw, and fries. After lunch we swam in the main pool, which also features a sandy beach.
My next adventure took me to The Spa at Paradise Point’s, which was voted a top 100 U.S. resort spa by Condé Nast Traveler. Located beneath a canopy of trees, the sanctuary offers exotic rituals from islands around the world with a local San Diego flare. My Balinese Massage – inspired by a centuries old tradition for healing in Indonesia – was a complete sensory experience that combined techniques of palming, kneading, stretching, and pressure point massaging to “immerse the body in relaxation and a sense of wellbeing.”
For dinner we strolled along the sand to the resort’s elegant Tidal Restaurant. Perched over the bay, Tidal sits in what was a private beach house in the ‘60s, with mid-century modern design. A fire pit-dotted deck, communal tables, a cozy lounge, bay views, and a savory menu welcome diners.
Our Tidal meal began with island style coconut soup, with white shrimp, corn, thai basil, shitake, and coconut cream. For the main course I dove into a plate of Lava Salt Crust Diver Scallops, with toasted quinoa, edamame, honey squash soubise, and passion fruit brown butter. My friend experienced a unique and tasty Tea Brined Pork Chop, with coconut creamed corn cake, baby zucchini herb puree, and jalapeno ash aioli. While dining, we sipped California wine and watched boats sail by and lights twinkle off the bay.
Back at our bungalow, we opened a bottle of wine and threw some wood in the fire pit on the beach in front of our room and relaxed beneath the moonlight.
Other resort amenities include a fitness center, five tennis courts, basketball court, five swimming pools, bicycle rentals, over 80,000-square-feet of waterfront event space for meetings and weddings, etc.; a fully-stocked mini-market, putting golf course, daily surf lessons at the Paradise Surf Academy, 14 bonfire pits, and access to 14 miles of waterfront bike and walking paths.
The pet-friendly place even has its own private, full-service marina, with sailing, jet skiing, motor boating, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
Paradise Point Resort and Spa is located at 1404 Vacation Rd., San Diego, Calif. 92109. For more info and reservations, call (858) 240-4913 or visit paradisepoint.com.