Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego US

Photographer: Sally Scott
Sweet selection
Sweet selection

Live your best life with Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego.

Entering the exclusive enclave of Fairmont Grand Del Mar, we are speechless as we gape at the stunning scenery, gliding past the golf courses surrounded by stunning villas and winding our way past families ice-skating for the festive season, before arriving at the grand lobby of this opulent resort.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar is indeed grand, set on 400-acres the luxurious resort has a Mediterranean feel thanks to its salmon-coloured façade, striped awnings, ironwork and decorative balustrades and gardens of olive trees making it feel like we’ve arrived at a palace in Tuscany rather than California.

At the Grand Del Mar, Afternoon Tea unfolds in the lobby lounge and library, extending to a terrace overlooking the expansive grounds. The room is richly furnished with plush lounges, a crackling fireplace and a distinguished pianist infusing the space with a sophisticated ambiance.

We’re presented with a beautiful menu featuring a sweet drawing of tea and books on its cover and eagerly scan the menu for what’s in store. The Afternoon Tea service starts with a seasonal amuse – in this instance, decadent caviar topped blinis, the perfect pairing with Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne. The three-tiered birdcage-style high tea stand arrives, laden with an array of delectable treats.

Beginning with the lower level’s savoury selection, the milk bun of honey pork, grainy mustard and red cabbage is a flavour bomb and hint of the excellence to come. Subsequent bites include a petite turkey, cranberry and tarragon ciabatta, a salmon creation adorned with garden greens of apple, fennel and parsnip and a warmly inviting pumpkin, leek, sage and spice tart. The traditional cucumber sandwich receives a modern twist as an open sandwich topped with olive oil pearls.

The middle tier showcases two perfectly baked traditional tea scones in vanilla and honey fig flavours, accompanied by double cream and mixed berry preserves.

Concluding the exquisite journey, the sweet selection unveils delights such as the vanilla Bavarian with mandarin and citrus, boasting a delightfully crunchy exterior of rice krispies smothered in white chocolate. Festive notes are found in the profiteroles with chai spice and pear jam, while the apple tart with almond and maple, crowned with edible gold leaf, proves to be a delicate triumph. I finish with the decadent chocolate brownie with passionfruit and milk chocolate ganache and determine it’s hard to pick a favourite from this incredibly well executed selection.

Executive Pastry Chef Michael Aguilar’s creations resonate with creativity and passion. Our server shares that Chef Aguilar, with Hispanic roots and his Filipino partner embody the cultural mosaic of San Diego reflected in the city’s cuisine.

The extensive tea selection spanning black, herbal, green and red teas, along with coffee service caters to all tastes. Opting for the Mojo Mate, a robust blend of Yerba mate notes tempered with lemongrass, spearmint, ginseng and ginkgo, I am invigorated both in mind and body, or so the description has me believe. It’s also worth noting that the Grand Del Mar team are able to create a separate afternoon tea menu for vegan, gluten free or vegetarian guests with 24-hours notice.

Service is an exceptional blend of professionalism and warmth. The Maître d’ provides a comprehensive overview of the afternoon tea selection, while our server, Rustin regales us with perfect prose, insightful titbits and entertaining anecdotes.

The convivial atmosphere sees groups of ladies gathering and celebrating amidst this exquisite setting. Grand Del Mar Afternoon Tea is an occasion to be celebrated and savoured, a must-visit on your next sojourn to San Diego.

As we savour the last morsel of our afternoon tea, Rustin poses the question, “Are you living your best life?” At the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, the answer is unequivocal “Yes, yes we are.”

Fairmont Grand Del Mar Sample Afternoon Tea Menu:


Seasonal bite

  • Seasonal bite

Traditional Tea Scones:

  • Devonshire clotted cream with house made preserves


  • Serrano ham, manchego, quince and black truffle
  • Fava bean hummus, split peas and crudite
  • Lamb, naan bread, sumac onion and marinated feta
  • Crab, apple, fennel and yuzu kosho
  • Duck confit, napa cabbage and shishito kewpie
  • Cucumber, fromage fraiche and oil oil pears


  • Chocolate madeleine and milk chocolate glaze
  • Coconut bavarian, white chocolate and blackberry
  • Choux, matcha and strawberry confit
  • Raspberry tart, almond, rose and lychee


Find more High Tea venues in California,
in our High Tea Venue Directory

Fairmont Grand Del Mar:

5300 Grand Del Mar Court, San Diego, California, United States 92130


Sat & Sun 12-3.30pm


Afternoon Tea Service $89 USD per person
$45 USD per child
Tea included and a selection of bubbles from $21 a glass is available.

Prices are correct at the time of publishing, but subject to change. Please contact the venue for further details.

Sally Scott

Sally Scott is the curator and founder of and freelance travel writer. Alluxia a luxury travel website devoted to connecting style conscious travellers with luxury travel experiences. Sally is a lover of good food, great wine and is in a constant state of wanderlust.

Articles by Sally