San Diego may be known for its beautiful beaches, but don’t underestimate the appeal of staying downtown so you can experience the city as well as the coastline.
Downtown San Diego has grown up and is now a thriving urban center. The historic Gaslamp Quarter is filled with galleries, boutiques, nightclubs, fine dining restaurants, gastropubs and rooftop bars. You can take in a baseball game at Petco Park, one of the best ballparks in the country, or catch the trolley to Balboa Park and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
Or you can just park yourself at one of these luxury downtown hotels:
With its urban coastal California aesthetic and its balance of classic and modern luxury, the Pendry brings a new casual sophistication to downtown San Diego. The Pool House features plush cabanas and candy-striped umbrellas along with skyline views and light bites and cocktails. The hotel also offers five other restaurants and Spa Pendry, a tranquil sanctuary where you can escape for pampering treatments like Cooling Mint Foot Therapy or the Tandem Bliss Massage Ritual.
Inspired by the opulence of the Palace of Versailles, The Westgate Hotel prides itself on its distinctively European ambience. French antiques, Flemish and French tapestries, Baccarat crystal chandeliers and exquisite Persian carpets all add to the romantic feel, but it’s the impeccable hospitality that sets the gold standard. Delight in a feast for the senses at the award-winning Westgate Room, step back into a more glamorous era with a cocktail at the Plaza Bar, then relax at AquaVie Wellness + Fitness, the hotel’s state-of-the-art wellness center. Don’t miss afternoon tea in the Grand Lobby, where you can dine on handmade sweets and savories while a harpist provides the elegant soundtrack.
Each of the InterContinental’s 400 guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking San Diego Bay, making it a welcome addition to the downtown hotel scene. Located on the historic grounds of Lane Field—the former stadium of the minor league San Diego Padres from 1936 through 1957, the sophisticated new hotel (it opened in September 2018) is just steps away from the Embarcadero, which docks the famed USS Midway. The InterContinental is home to San Diego’s only Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse as well as Vistal restaurant, serving coastal California-inspired cuisine. The hotel also features a 3300-square-foot health and wellness center and the opportunity to elevate your stay with access to the Club InterContinental lounge.
A San Diego icon since 1910, the U.S. Grant Hotel is steeped in a rich and colorful history. The hotel—built by the son of America’s 18th president—has hosted 15 presidents, five First Ladies, operated a speakeasy during Prohibition and was the site of the first Comic-Con. Today the property is home to 270 luxurious guest rooms, a grand lobby, expansive ballrooms and—thanks to Grant Grill’s award-winning beverage team—one of the nation’s most prolific cocktail programs. The stately hotel features a $6.5 million collection of artwork, including world-class sculptures, ironwork, murals and paintings heralding the storied past and modern renaissance of this cultural landmark.
The Manchester Grand Hyatt comprises two stylish towers, one of which is 497-feet high, making it the tallest hotel on the West Coast waterfront. This urban resort offers eight dining options, including the 40th floor Top of the Hyatt, where you can take in panoramic views of the city. The 1628 guestrooms are spacious and packed with amenities, but you may want to upgrade to a Grand Club room for exclusive lounge access or opt for a suite overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Kimpton has an understandably loyal following, and if you’re partial to smaller, more intimate boutique hotels, this is the place for you. Palomar has a hipper vibe, with modern design and coastal colors, while Solamar has more of a Spanish accent and a sense of San Diego history. They’re only five minutes apart, and both offer Kimpton’s signature amenities, so you can’t go wrong with either one.