• Pamela Froman

Romance in La Jolla and Beyond

You want to surprise your sweetie with a romantic weekend, but you aren't sure where to go. Try La Jolla. This sleepy little town is the gateway to San Diego and is perfect for a lovely weekend that is close enough to drive to, and beautiful to visit.

Where to stay

You can't do better than the Hyatt Regency in La Jolla. On 11 acres, this world-class retreat includes sumptuous rooms and restaurants, and a fully stocked Sporting Club and Spa. There are 419 guest rooms, including 24 gorgeous suites. All accommodations offer 42" Flat Screen TVs, turndown service, and wireless internet.

If you get hungry there are three restaurants adjacent to the hotel: Cafe Japengo, serving sushi and Pacific Rim Cuisine; Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar; and a fondue restaurant, called the Melting Pot.

Or if you just fancy a drink, the hotel offers a lounge called Michaels' which features a full bar, pool tables and a Nintendo Wii.

Get Pampered

On the first level of the Hyatt hotel, you will find a state of the art spa and fitness center, appropriately named The Sporting Club. This amazing facility features a day spa called The Spa, which is primed to take your worries away with various facials and massages. Relax and enjoy the spa experience as your professional esthetician works the tension out of your body. Then head to the steam room, sauna or Jacuzzi to further your leisure. The Sporting Club also offers a full gym, basketball and tennis courts and a heated Junior Olympic pool.

The Ultimate in Romantic Dinners

If you are looking for something extra special for your sweetie, then head down south to Coronado Island for a world of beauty, famed shopping and restaurants. Be sure to save room for dinner at Candelas on the Bay, an amazing restaurant experience. The atmosphere is stunning, from the full scenic view of the bay, to the jazz band that sets the mood for a great meal. And the food is out of this world. For an appetizer, try the Estructura de Aguacate which is Haas avocado stuffed with scallops, shrimp and crab, marinated in lime juice, and tossed with parsley, tomato and onion. The entrees continue the food love fest, with such choices as the Langosta Baeza, a whole Australian lobster tail, grilled and flambeyed in tequila, its shell filled with jalapeno mushroom stuffing, or the Rib Eye Bolivar, a 14 oz. rib eye steak, served with mashed potatoes, vegetables and grilled tomato. The service is impeccable, and the waiters are constantly making your dining experience the best it can be.

Another romantic twist on a simple dinner is to go on a harbor dinner cruise. You can not do better than the San Diego Harbor Excursion. For under $200, you and your guest get a 3-course meal, with a choice of steak or fish, free champagne and a full bar as well as a private table with a view of the harbor. The boat circles the San Diego Harbor for two and a half hours while you eat, and then dancing begins on the lower level of the boat for the duration of the cruise.

During the Day

For a great start to your day, head out to downtown La Jolla to a little restaurant called The Cottage. Seating is inside and out, (with heaters and umbrellas for outside seating). This restaurant specializes in California cuisine. Breakfast is a big deal: Tangerine juice, pancakes, light omelettes, stuffed French toast, fresh baked pastries, and their famous homemade granola are just a few of the local favorites. Lunch is also scrumptious, with choices like the crab melt, a sandwich with fresh crab mixed with red & yellow peppers and mayo on sourdough parmesan cheese toast with fresh avocado, melted cheddar, onion, lettuce and tomato.

To round out your day there is nothing like an excursion to Old Town San Diego. Old Town San Diego is considered the "birthplace" of California. Just a few minutes from the La Jolla this Mexican influenced area, offers souvenirs, museums, and galleries.

Historic buildings include La Casa de Estudillo, La Casa de Bandini, La Casa de Altamirno Pedrorena and the Mason Street School, San Diego's first one room schoolhouse. Just up the hill from Old Town San Diego Historic State Park, you'll find Heritage Park where several of San Diego's most notable Victorian homes have been relocated and authentically restored to their original splendor. Just a short walk down San Diego Avenue is the Whaley House, an officially designated haunted house, the Little Adobe Chapel on Conde Street, the first Church in Old Town San Diego and El Campo Santo on San Diego Avenue, a 1850 Catholic Cemetery.

It just goes to show, that romance is in the air.

Hyatt Regency La Jolla

3777 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla

(858) 552-1234

The Sporting Club

8930 University Center Ln., La

(858) 552-8264

Candelas on the Bay

1201 First St., #115, Coronado

(619) 435-4900

San Diego Harbor Excursion

1050 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego

(619) 234-4111

The Cottage

7702 Fay Ave., La Jolla

(858) 454-8409

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