San Diego: Where to Stay Now

by  Christina Garofalo | Aug 25, 2016
Bayview Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites
Bayview Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites

San Diego is amid a hotel boom. After a long hiatus from construction, the city's established accommodations are getting fresh faces, and there are more new hotels slated to open in the next two years than have opened in the last eight.

Downtown alone will get 10 new properties -- including a 400-room InterContinental on the waterfront, Marriott's millennial-focused Moxy Hotel, and even the first beer-themed lodging, slated for 2018. At the same time, mainstays like the Marriott Coronado and the Kimpton downtown are rapidly renovating, and others are rebranding -- including The Declan hotel, which is now the modernized Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, and the Kimpton La Jolla, now part of Hilton's Curio Collection.

When the dust settles, we may find America's sunniest city -- where it can be difficult to snag a room on a Saturday night -- more accessible to last-minute and budget travelers.

We checked into some of the city's new digs. Here's what to expect.

Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside

Bayview Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites

Homewood Suites / Bayview Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites

Last month, the new Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside opened on Pacific Highway, at the edge of Little Italy. The dual-purpose property comprises a 204-room Hilton Garden Inn (from $179) and 160 apartment-style Homewood Suites with full kitchens and pullout sofas (from $250) -- ideal for extended and family travel. The shared lobby seamlessly blends the indoors and outdoors, with floor-to-ceiling windows, concrete walls, and automatic sliding glass doors that open to a courtyard with fire pits and low couches -- perfect for sunset cocktails or a relaxed, remote workday.

The guestrooms and suites have the same airy, California-modern feel -- think white linens, long marble vanities, stainless steel appliances (in the suites), and massive windows that look out to the bay. A rooftop pool, a gym, laundry service, and a restaurant are all included on site, and Homewood Suites guests have exclusive access to The Lodge for complimentary breakfast and light evening meals and drinks.

Marriott Coronado Island Resort & Spa

Guestroom / Marriott Coronado Island Resort & Spa

Spa Relaxation Room / Marriott Coronado Island Resort & Spa

In May, the Marriott Coronado Island Resort & Spa completed a massive renovation of its 300 guestrooms -- including 263 standard rooms (from $250) and 27 suites and cottages (from $600). The new design is inspired by the resort's locale, with light blue and white tones, chrome bathroom fixtures, rainfall showers, and private patios that look out to the San Diego skyline. The resort also added a new two-story fitness facility and a 3,500-square-foot spa that includes a serene relaxation room, with plush lounge chairs, large windows, and complimentary fruit, nuts, and melon-infused water. The area opens to an additional 2,000 square feet of outdoor space with a pool.

The resort's best feature is its location: on 16 acres along the Coronado Island waterfront. The lush tropical foliage and flamingoes that wander the property contribute to the feeling that you're someplace far flung and exotic, while just 10 minutes from downtown.

Hotel Solamar, a Kimpton Hotel

King room / Kimpton Hotel Solamar

Master suite bathroom / Kimpton Hotel Solamar

When it opened in 2005, Hotel Solamar was Kimpton's first SoCal venture. After a four-month renovation that finished in March, the Solamar unveiled new, modern interiors with an eclectic mix of Californian- and Mexican-inspired decor. Splashy abstract paintings and a Spanish-style wood and wrought-iron chandelier adorn the lobby; and the 235 guestrooms (from $185) feature purple-and-gold printed carpeting, Chevron nightstands, and black-and-white wallpaper in the bathrooms that evokes Mexican tile work. A Midcentury Modern dresser opens to a discreet mini bar with a craft cocktail kit -- perfect for hosting a sophisticated soirée before going out for the night.

The location is ideal for those who want to be in the center of the action: In the heart of the Gaslamp District, the hotel is a short walk to bars and restaurants, and it is home to its own farm-to-table eatery and rooftop pool deck and bar.

Coming soon: The Pendry

Of all the forthcoming San Diego openings, the one we're most excited for is the Pendry. Slated to open in November, Pendry San Diego will be the first location of a new offshoot by Montage Hotels & Resorts; the line will merge the high-end service of its parent brand with the younger, fashion-forward ambience we'd expect from an Ace or a Kimpton. A few blocks from Petco Park and the San Diego Convention Center, the 317-room hotel will feature a rooftop pool, a spa and fitness center, and meeting space, as well as six bars and restaurants -- including the Lionfish for modern coastal cuisine and an intimate cocktail bar called Oxford Social Club.

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