CARLSBAD -- Colin O'Brien and his wife, Jocelyn, were enjoying a getaway at the Four Seasons in Manhattan when they heard about the fires in San Diego. At first, they weren't worried about their Rancho Santa Fe home of 10 years.
But by the time their plane touched down Monday, they were scared. They rushed to their house to retrieve computers, insurance papers and sentimental objects. Their neighbors took off for their second home in Carlsbad, and brought the O'Briens' cats with them.
Then they headed for one of the most comfortable places where evacuees could wait out the fires, the Four Seasons Aviara in Carlsbad.
The Witch Creek fire tore through some of San Diego's toniest neighborhoods, including Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe. Some of their residents landed at upscale hotels like the Aviara, which is nestled at the end of a winding driveway lined by palm trees and birds of paradise and features a shushing fountain with sculpted flamingos, four restaurants and a spa.
Sweating about losing a house is certainly no fun no matter where you're staying, but it has to be a little easier when you can book a massage, practice your golf stroke on a putting green, soak in a whirlpool bath or order creme brulee and lamb chops from room service. Rooms at the Aviara start at $350 a night.
To check on his house, O'Brien called his answering machine, which he was relieved to find still picked up, and scanned the Internet on computers provided to guests. Provided there's no more bad news, he figures he'll be at the resort several more nights. "We forgot to pack clothes, though," he said.
Shouldn't be a problem really. The concierge can always direct him to Moonbeams or Peaches En Regalia, the resort's two boutiques.
-- JENIFER GOODWIN