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La Jolla’s Coastal Jewel, Hilton Torrey Pines
by Janice Wilson

La Jolla Torrey Pines Hilton Hotel in Southern California is the ultimate place to experience perfection. It is San Diego's premier destination for hospitality, dining, recreation, meetings and banquet facilities. I know, because my weekend stay at this magnificent property was absolutely, positively perfect.

The hotel is perched atop Southern California's spectacular coastline, overlooking the legendary Torrey Pines Golf Course. As we turned off the freeway and entered the only pine-covered hillock for miles along the coast, my husband and I were filled with an anticipatory excitement. We would be vacationing at the same playground that will host the U.S. Open in 2008 and recently hosted the Buick Open last February 14, 2004.

The valet quickly helped us with our bags and golf clubs. I gazed at the large portico entrance that was decorated by a multitude of flowering Impatience plants. The hanging baskets cascaded abundantly with the bright colors of fucia and red. It was an auspicious beginning. The afternoon sun warmed the tiny flowers, and a welcoming fragrance greeted our arrival. I had a feeling we were about to experience the perfection in hospitality that is savored by the crème de la crème.

As we walked into the large and elegant lobby we stopped and gazed through a massive picture window that revealed below us a beautiful hotel pool with the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop. It was perfectly placed. The sun was just beginning to set and a golden misted light poured invitingly through the lobby window. My husband grabbed my hand and squeezed it with excitement. We paused and took in the pleasure of this magnificent sight before us. Charged with excitement and anticipation, we quickly registered for our room. We couldn't wait to explore the landscape and the legacy of this Four Diamond Hilton Resort. What other pleasurable displays of perfection awaited us?

It didn't take us long to find our next discovery of perfection. It was our elegant suite overlooking the 18th hole of Torrey Pines Golf Course. A beautiful basket of wine, fruit and cheeses awaited us. We poured ourselves a glass of red wine and relaxed on one of the two suite patios. We raised our glasses and toasted the golden moments of the spectacular sunset that glistened before us. It was picture perfect!

This moment perfected the true meaning of ultimate hospitality. Our room was beautifully appointed with shuttered doors that separated the bedroom from the living area. We had two 27-inch TVs with on-demand movies, video games, and complimentary CNN, ESPN and HBO. We had access to high speed Internet, two dual-line speaker phones with voice mail, data ports and conference capabilities. There was a large work desk that I was very grateful I didn't need to use. But I was thankful that I could luxuriate in the plush bathrobes that made me feel perfectly cozy and relaxed.

The amenities in our room were more than perfect. But it was the bed that won the awards for making our sleep a perfect heaven, with state-of-the-art Suite Dream Mattress and box springs with the super-topper mattress pad, central weigh down comforter, touch-of-down pillows, and a comfortable bolster pillow. We had two perfect nights of sleep because of Hilton's new concept in travel, assisting all their guests with the assurance and desire for a healthy lifestyle. A perfect night's sleep is perfectly priceless, especially when the next few days of our vacation were spent golfing, hiking Torrey Pines State Reserve, or exploring the resort community of La Jolla.

Did I mention that La Jolla has some of the best shopping, restaurants and museums? Energized with our great night's sleep, we enjoyed the glorious majestic coastline of sandstone cliffs, searching for sea shells on the beach, and even hiking trails rewarding us with perfect scenery and exercise.

But it was our dining experience at the Hilton's Torreyana Grille and Lounge that rivaled the meaning of the word perfection.

We started out with the Dungeness Crab Cakes served over Baby Maché with Tamarind Chili Sauce and Mango Puree. This savory delight was followed by their Local Baby Spinach and Arugula Salad with California Blue Cheese, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Sundried Strawberries, Red Onions and Toasted Pine Nuts. But it was our entrées that were prepared to perfection. I enjoyed the succulent Pan Seared Veal Loin Medallions with Dijon mustard and Vermouth Sauce. My husband, Steve, feasted upon the Colorado Rack of Lamb, Pan Roasted Double Chops, crusted with honey mustard and fresh herbs with Merlot au jus.

Our meal was made more perfect because the "Chef de Cuisine", Joe Saldana, came to our table and extended his generous hospitality to us. He exuded great love for his profession, his restaurant, and his guests. The very art of providing fine cuisine and making something delicious is one of the greatest civilized acts of love. Chef Joe Saldana has mastered this art to perfection.

Besides offering a the most perfect gourmet dining experience, the Torreyana Grille hosted a "Mixed Media" exhibition, curated by StudioGallery. The exhibition offered the Hilton's guests, art collectors, and art lovers a wide variety of works that featured local, national, and international, young, and emerging, as well as established artists. One of my favorites was Amy Lindquist who featured her art as mixed media on canvas.

Amy is quoted as saying, "Life is happening at a rapid pace, yet calmness and belonging is always found. I will never stop believing in the goodness of life, the truth. There is always hope and a knowing of grace and things to come. To look beyond and see, to look beyond and feel, to look beyond and know we are never alone. It is the simplicity of quiet that brings introspection and integrity of mind. I see things differently because of what I remember in moments, in shadows, in colors or maybe gestures. I see beyond the surface and into the depth. Painting captures my spirit in the doing, in that I find freedom, in the sharing I find acceptance." Amy Lindquist's paintings were yet another demonstration of the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines perfecting the art of hospitality.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the grand and spacious new banquet facility that the general manager, Stephen Gold, oversaw to completion in 2003. The architecture blends its perfect harmony with the undulating curves and pristine views of the Torrey Pines property. The banquet rooms take your breath away with their beautiful décor and inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean and golf course.

The hotel also provides 26,000 sq. ft. of function space in 21 rooms to accommodate up to 1,500 people and over 17,000 square feet of flexible outdoor function space. But it is without a doubt that Mr. Gold's 6,203-square-foot Fairway Pavilion Ballroom overlooking the 18th fairway of Torrey Pines Golf Course is unsurpassed in banquet and meeting facilities.


Janice Wilson, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at