As I write this, I lie on my oversized bed, in my oversized suite in the DoubleTree Hotel in Del Mar, California. On my right sits a 27 inch Zenith television complete with an interactive music jukebox, a pleasing digital movie selection, and a variety of video games patiently waiting for me to challenge them.




The DoubleTree is no longer
a roadside motel chain, but offers
economical resorts nationwide.

On my left hangs a set of curtains, which I choose to keep closed. From the fourth floor, I have a breathtaking view of the parking lot, but knowing that a few miles down the road waits a beautiful California beach, it's worth the stay.

The amenities are expected: lots of tropical looking trees, a gym, business center, restaurant, and a pool shaped like a gigantic puddle (you know, all squiggly and such). When I checked in, the man at the front desk gave me some freshly baked, and again oversized, cookies — five of them. Of course I couldn't eat all of them at once, so I saved a few for breakfast.

After being in my room for about an hour, a delectable assortment of gourmet cheese was delivered to my door. After trying each one, I thought about heading down to the gym. It always appeared to be empty and clean, but sitting in my room doing absolutely nothing seemed like a much better idea, especially after all those cookies (I wouldn't want to lose them). This gym has approximately ten polished chrome weight and cardio machines that practically beg for me to put my fingerprints all over them. Luckily, right out side the front entrance is an easy escape route to the pool where you can erase the evidence.




The DoubleTree is a national
brand operated by Hilton.

Now I would love to tell you that I spent the entire day lounging around this giant puddle-shaped pool surrounded by beautiful Baywatch types, baking my skin the way dermatologists tell you not to, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. Here I am in beautiful San Diego, and it's raining.

This brings me to the overtone in this city; money. People here seem to be dripping with it; Looking, smelling, feeling like a million bucks. Heck, I felt underdressed in Jack In The Box this afternoon, but who's counting?. It's no surprise though, that this is a rich city. Not more than two miles from the hotel is the famous, or infamous depending on how you look at it, Del Mar Race Track which has been inspiring women to wear ridiculously crazy hats for years.

Now if there's one thing I've noticed, it's that every great city has a song. New York has one, Chicago, San Francisco even. Does San Diego? No. But there is one for Del Mar probably due to this famous track. Literally millions of people have come to this track that was started by Bing Crosby, and has been visited by all the stars, past and present. Betty Grable has been there. Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, and all of the other people who's pictures were on the wall at Jimmy O's, one of three popular bars in downtown Del Mar. Night after night, beautiful people stumble out after last call, pleasantly greeted by the Del Mar police to make sure everyone leaves in a sober manor.




Dine at Sydney's, or
order room service.

If you have a taste for higher class bar hopping, you may also have a taste for Sydney's Austrialian Grill, the Double Tree's very own eclectic concoction of Mediterranean-American, with a hint of Spanish, cuisine. I ordered the special, dubbed "Surf and Turf," which was insinuating that it included meats from the sea as well as the land. Put simply, it was a mouth watering filet mignon accompanied by a luscious pile of steaming garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed jumbo shrimp (which technically is an oxymoron), and a special mushroom garlic sauce. In fact, I'm drooling all over my computer just thinking about it. To top it off, a tower of two gigantic chocolate chip cookies smashed a pile of Hagen Daz Vanilla Bean ice cream. Two chocolate brownies balanced on top of that, and whip cream and a cherry topped the brownies. A delicious and decorative fudge sauce surrounded the plate as the final element.

Service was excellent, as was my conversation with the DoubleTree's Sales Manager Maureen. To be honest, we mostly spoke of philosophies on life rather than the hotel, which further reinforced the hotel's personal tagline: "Relax, you're among friends." Maureen also spoke of the compassion that revolves around the DoubleTree staff. She told me of a heart warming story of a cat named Oscar with one ear and no tail found by the engineers when the hotel was being built about ten years ago. Apparently the cat was hurt; they nursed it back to health, and still supply it with food and water around the back lot whenever it wants to come around. "It lives here," Maureen said.

Overall, the hotel houses 222 spacious guest rooms and suites with all the amenities you could need. Every room contains a modem hookup by the desk phone, and each guest is welcomed with delicious chocolate chip cookies. Wayport HSIA T-1 service is now installed in all guest rooms and meeting rooms. Wireless access is available in the lobby, restaurant and outdoor patio decks !

Complimentary van service is offered within a six-mile radius of the hotel, including the beaches. Professional meeting space and elegant banquet facilities include the new La Jolla Ballroom that opens onto a beautiful patio area. Facilities include a professional Business Center. The Lobby Lounge is the place for socializing and room service opens early and stays open late.

The Del Mar DoubleTree is conveniently located just 17 miles north of the San Diego International Airport, near the LaJolla / Golden Triangle Biotech center, at the intersection of Hwy I-5 and Carmel Valley Road.

Nearby attractions include beaches, the Del Mar Racetrack, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Lego Land, Torrey Pines Golf Course, and tons of high-class restaurants and shops. Weather permitting, Del Mar is one of the most beautiful places in San Diego. Oh, and don't tell them I told you, but when you check in, ask for extra cookies. You can thank me later.

By Josh Edelson, San Diego  Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent.