Last winter the team at AssistedLivingReviews.org was lucky to get a behind-the-scenes tour of St. Paul’s Plaza in Chula Vista. AssistedLivingReviews.org (“ALR.org”) writes impartial and unbiased reviews about senior living communities and the visit to St. Paul’s Plaza was one of many in the San Diego area. St. Paul’s did not compensate ALR.org for writing the review and there is no financial arrangement that influenced our opinion during the tour.
St. Paul’s struck us as being one of the better communities we have seen, as we stated in our review. It helped that it is a brand-new building and had opened not long before our visit. It was very clean, very neat and very well designed. On the flip side, our tour of St. Paul’s did have a slightly empty feeling as not many residents had moved in yet.
One of the advantages that the team at St. Paul’s had when designing the building was their many years of experience in their other locations, St. Paul’s Villa and St. Paul’s Manor. We also reviewed those locations (review of St. Paul’s Villa / review of St. Paul’s Manor) and while they were equally impressive they are all quite different from one another.
St. Paul’s Plaza is a luxury facility that strives for a resort-like feel. The building itself is large (156 rooms) on a sizeable campus of 4.5 acres. The amenities are consistent with a high-end resort and include a spa, beauty salon, indoor therapy pool, gymnasium, dance studio, concierge service and more. The outdoor barbeques are a nice touch, as well as the playground in which to entertain grandchildren during visits.
We did not eat at St. Paul’s Plaza and can’t comment on the food. However, like comparable communities, St. Paul’s Plaza offers gourmet dining and private dining options. Most of the rooms have kitchens and not all residents eat together. St. Paul’s Plaza also offers a licensed Pub for happy hour and general socializing.
Perhaps the most jaw dropping moment for us was the tour of the sun decks/patio. The view from this terrace area is spectacular. It extends for miles over open lands which change color as the sun sets. We imagined sitting there with friends enjoying a drink at the end of the day. It certainly felt like a vacation setting and we didn’t want to leave.
We expected the cost of living in such a place would be extravagant. It was not. St. Paul’s is surprisingly reasonable, especially when its location is taken into account. The Chula Vista area in general is very convenient to San Diego, and the location of St. Paul’s Plaza is key. It’s within walking distance to several restaurants, a pharmacy and is across the street from a sizeable park. This part of Chula Vista – known as Otay Ranch Village – is lovely in and of itself.
Another convenience at St. Paul’s Plaza is the ability to “age in place”. A new resident can enter St. Paul’s Plaza in Independent Living with the knowledge that the services of Assisted Living and Memory Care are available if they become necessary. The Memory Care wing itself was very pleasant. It had a much cozier feel than the rest of the building and of course the care level, staffing levels and general support are appropriately adjusted.
It’s hard not to be impressed when confronted by such a well-run and attractive community. It seems to offer everything that a person could want – as long as that is a retirement experience in a luxurious setting. Someone looking for a residential solution with an informal or comfy feel and more modest surroundings may not feel completely at home here. Like in any large hotel, the hallways can seem long and lonely.
Overall, we felt that we would be lucky to find ourselves in such a community at the time of our retirement. St. Paul’s overall reputation, the facilities in general and the lifestyle it offers were all very appealing.
We were pleased to get a chance to tour this community and meet some of the senior management there. Touring a retirement community make all the difference. Every individual makes their own decision based on their needs and preferences. In our view, St. Paul’s Plaza is certainly one to consider in that process.