While in San Diego last week, I enjoyed Afternoon Tea at the The Grand Del Mar as a part of our girls weekend celebrating my mom's birthday. This is a lovely resort and serves an elegant tea. The property, built in the style of a Mediterranean estate, is about half an hour northeast of where we were staying on Coronado, so a bit off the regular San Diego tourist path. Afternoon Tea is served in the hotel lobby, as well as in the Library, a dark little alcove with bookcases, velvet loveseats and herringbone wooden floors. While we enjoyed the ambiance, food and service, I must note that I had made a particular point of reserving a space in the Library and we were bumped into the lobby to accommodate a party. While our server went out of her way to take care of us, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed that my request for this special occasion was overlooked.
The Grand Del Mar serves Tea Forte, and we each enjoyed a delicious selection in our own lovely china teapot. The finger sandwiches were all wonderful, and my sister was pleased they had the option of a gluten free selection specially made for her. We enjoyed our cranberry and vanilla scones, after which followed a beautiful selection of sweets. All of the food was delightful, and we enjoyed it even more as we sipped on our tea and champagne. So how does this experience compare my favorite local tea spot, The Ritz-Carlton? The Grand Del Mar wins for ambiance. The hotel is just as lovely and well-appointed as the Ritz, but the grounds are simply stunning. There is a little patio off the lobby and you can sip your cocktail or tea while looking onto a waterfall and grounds of lush greenery and flowers. The setting was perfect for taking photos to commemorate our special occasion, and we took full advantage! Otherwise, the Ritz wins for it's impeccable tea experience and the service of its staff. I do wish the Grand Del Mar brewed the tea for you, it's hard to visit with your ladies while you are trying to time the steep of the tea. I also missed the three-tiered tea tray that other tearooms use, it just is so fun to see on your table. Those few critiques, minor as they are but added to the botched reservation, force me to rate the experience 3.5 out of 5 stars. We really did enjoy ourselves, but after being spoiled by Jeffrey at our hometown Ritz, I can't help but see a few shortcomings. That said, if you are in the Del Mar area, I certainly would recommend the Grand Del Mar for it's beautiful property and delicious tea and snacks.