San Diego hotels for every traveller

By Joe Yogerst

San Diego-based travel writer

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January 2018

San Diego’s hotels range from budget to the ultra glam, offering everything from chic city boltholes to palatial, beachfront retreats. Travel writer and San Diego resident Joe Yogerst reveals his top picks.

For a one-night stopover: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

The lowdown: Just 15 minutes from the airport, this hotel offers the convenience of a downtown location plus rooms overlooking the bay and Coronado Island. Catering to both business and leisure travellers, the Marriott menu offers meeting and event rooms next to the convention centre and activities such as kayaking and sailing on the bay. If you happen to be arriving by boat, there's also the 446-slip marina.

In the know… San Diego's harbourside jogging path is directly outside the back door – an eight-kilometre trail along the waterfront that takes you past the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum and the historic Star of India clipper ship to Liberty Station.

Book a stay at San Diego Marriott Marquis Marina

For a budget: Humphreys Half Moon Inn

The lowdown: Palm trees, swimming pool and tropical cocktails – you could easily mistake this laidback waterfront retreat for an old school Hawaiian hotel. That's because the City of San Diego zoning code requires that Humphreys (and all other structures on Shelter Island) adheres to a South Pacific ‘Tiki’ theme. The island vibe washes into the hotel restaurant with dishes such as ahi tuna poké and macadamia-crusted halibut. Guest rooms boast wooden shutters and balconies perched above the marina.

In the know… Plan your trip to San Diego and room choice to coincide with Humphreys popular summer Concert by the Bay music series — you can lounge on your balcony and watch world-famous artists perform at the resort's waterfront concert venue, for free.

Book a stay at the Humphreys Half Moon Inn

Located at the centre of the rocking Gaslamp Quarter, solo travellers staying at The Pendry can cruise local bars, restaurants and nightclubs or take in a San Diego Padres pro baseball game at nearby Petco Park.

  • For a secluded day on the sand, relax and reboot at Paradise Point Resort and Spa.

    Island life

    Set across 44 acres, Paradise Point Resort and Spa is an oasis of calm. Head to the spa for a range of treatments, such as the 25-minute Heavenly Milk Soak.

    Book a stay at Paradise Point Resort & Spa
  • Savour the waterfront view at the upscale Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.

    Sunset strip

    Take your pick from Asian, Mexican and classic American at any of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina’s stylish dining outfits.

    Book a stay
  • Rest your head in the pristinely furnished rooms of the Hyatt Regency La Jolla.

    Dive in

    Take a dip in the Hyatt Regency La Jolla’s Olympic-style pool, surrounded by private cabanas and flickering fire pits. 

    Find a room

For the family: Paradise Point Resort & Spa

The lowdown: A destination in itself, Paradise Point features landscaped gardens, waterfowl-filled lagoons and five swimming pools on a private island in Mission Bay. Spacious family-friendly bungalows with living rooms and kitchenettes open onto the beach and bay, perfect for swimming, paddle boarding or jet skiing.  

In the know… Take the family in October to make the most of the discounts and freebies available as part of Kids Free San Diego programme.

Book a stay at Paradise Point Resort & Spa

For couples: Fairmont Grand Del Mar

The lowdown: Tucked into a coastal canyon near Torrey Pines Beach, The Grand (as it’s known to locals) is the perfect blend of privacy, luxury and romance. You won’t need to leave to have the perfect day: breakfast on the balcony, a round of golf on the resort's own course, couples massage at the upscale spa, dinner at Addison, and dancing at Club M.

In the know… If you haven't yet tied the knot, The Grand is San Diego's top spot for celebrity nuptials – both basketball star LeBron James and American footballer Reggie Bush staged lavish weddings there.

Book a stay at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

  • Enjoy a dip in the pool or hot tub at Humphreys Half Moon Inn © Jorgensen Photography.

    Access all areas

    If you’re into jazz, R&B and dance beats, don’t miss the live music lounge at Humphreys Backstage Live, voted San Diego’s best live music club.

    Book a stay at the Humphreys Half Moon Inn

For solo travellers: The Pendry

The lowdown: Located at the centre of the rocking Gaslamp Quarter, solo travellers staying at this stylish hotspot can cruise local bars, restaurants and nightclubs, or take in a San Diego Padres pro baseball game at nearby Petco Park. San Diego Convention Centre – home to Comic Con each year – is just three blocks away. The hotel is also pet friendly should you happen to bring along your creature companion.

In the know… Snag a cabana beside The Pendry's rooftop pool – it’s the place to chill, sip cocktails and people watch.

Book a stay at The Pendry

For affordable luxury: Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

The lowdown: On the grounds of a bygone Spanish hacienda, California casual elegance is the hallmark of this sun-splashed hotel on the heights above La Jolla. Well-appointed modern rooms overlook gardens with tropical and desert plants. The heated saltwater pool helps you feel weightless, without a care in the world, and ready for a competitive game of croquet. Onsite restaurant Mustangs & Burros cooks up creative Baja-style Mexican cuisine, and serves premium tequila drinks around the outdoor fireplace.

In the know… Torrey Pines golf course, hang-glider port and state beach are all within easy reach of the Estancia, especially if you rent one of the hotel's Emojo electric bikes.

Book a stay at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

For business: Hyatt Regency La Jolla

The lowdown: In the Golden Triangle – San Diego's equivalent of Silicon Valley – you’ll find the stylish Hyatt  offering 417 rooms, a row of great restaurants, business pods, meeting rooms, and plenty of conference space. Regency Club and Business Plan rooms include free ironing, breakfast, newspaper and US/Canada phone calls.

In the know… Check out the next big hit on Broadway at La Jolla Playhouse, across the motorway on the UCSD campus, or if you’re after a bite to eat, ask the Hyatt concierge to arrange a Baja lobster tour, which includes a delicious lobster lunch.

Book a stay at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla