The Best Hotels in San Diego

Southern California’s surf-centric city offers beautiful beaches and big-city attractions, from seriously good restaurants, breweries, and boutiques to several top hotels. Historic properties in Old Town, the Gaslamp Quarter, and Coronado continue to offer lodging in the grand style, with proximity to everything classically San Diego, while coastal options feature beachfront cottages, tiki themes, and the sound of the breeze from your bed.

600 F St, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
At first glance, the lobby is the place to be at this boutique hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. At check-in guests are offered a selection of local wine and beer—and again during happy hour. Under soaring ceilings supported by leather-wrapped pillars and surrounded by colorful art, you can sip and socialize. But don’t ignore the scene on the roof, either, where you’ll find a pool with oversized, floating pillows; fire pits with food and drink service; and views of the Coronado Bridge, Mount San Miguel, and the old and new architectural icons of downtown. In fact, the rooftop is so special, you may want to book the only accommodation in the 159-room hotel that grants you direct access to it: the Cabana Suite, where a private staircase leads to your own poolside cabana. On the other hand, if you’re traveling as a family, you may find that another option beats private rooftop access: the Star Suite, complete with three king-size beds, two of which form a custom-built bunk bed. Either way, expect ultra-modern furnishings paired with skyline views.
5300 Grand Del Mar Ct, San Diego, CA 92130, USA
If Southern California had ever been annexed by La Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar would be the governor’s palace—all marble columns, gold-leafed staircases, and hand-stenciled ceilings. Even the 400-acre grounds, with their classical fountains, garden rotundas, and neatly arranged cypresses, are true to the retro Italianate vibe. The luxuries, however, are modern—namely, the 18-hole Tom Fazio–designed golf course and the critically acclaimed restaurant Addison. There, Relais & Châteaux grand chef William Bradley lures locals and travelers with his contemporary French cuisine, a seasonal tasting menu, and a wine list of more than 3,500 selections. (There are a few other drinking and dining options, too, including a casual all-day option, a clubby grill room, and a nightclub for live music and weekend DJs.)

The hotel’s 249 guest rooms and suites feature European-style soaking tubs, and views over the gardens, golf club, or Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. Two opulent villas—ranging in size from 4,500 to 5,000 square feet—are tailor-made for families and larger groups. The spa here is also one of San Diego’s best: Book a signature Renaissance spa therapy, and follow the scent of eucalyptus-infused mist all the way down a grand staircase to your Moor mud wrap.
1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118, USA
The Coronado Bridge links San Diego to Coronado Island—and the present to the past. In the span of just 2.12 miles, you’ll travel from the digital age to a century when “electrified” hotels were practically unheard of. When the Hotel Del Coronado debuted in 1888, its electric lights and telephones made a sensation—as did its resplendence. In 1892, a young guest named Noel proclaimed in a letter to her family back east that “the red and the white between the bluest sky and the bluest water is like a beautiful dream in a fairy story.” Legions of A-listers have checked in ever since, as a who’s who of vintage portraits attests. But while a stay here is delightfully nostalgic—featuring bike rentals, beachside cabanas, and evening clambakes—the 757-room hotel doesn’t live entirely in the past. Take advantage of its upscale spa, spin classes on the beach, and restaurants serving updated takes on coastal cuisine along with creative cocktails. In the historic Victorian Building Suites, you’ll find modern coastal-chic interiors, streaming TVs, and, of course, Wi-Fi. The Beach Village Suites include additional modern luxuries—like a Sub-Zero fridge and dedicated concierge to help you fill it.
509 9th Ave., San Diego
Located in the Gaslamp Quarter, the recently constructed Hotel Indigo San Diego toes the line between hip and historic. The eco-chic boutique property prides itself on achieving LEED certification and boasts such unique features as a 4,000-square-foot green roof and a business center with Macs and iPads. History plays out in the hotel’s neighborhood story: an ode to the Wild West and the founding of San Diego.

Boldly designed rooms are outfitted with modern cherry blossom linens, vibrant murals, and oversized cushioned headboards. Clean up with Aveda bath products in your spa-inspired shower, and wake up to your own music thanks to an in-room iHome docking station. High-definition flat screens with premium cable and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel mean you can stay as connected as you wish. At sunset go up to Level 9 Rooftop Bar for stunning city views and craft cocktails. Daily happy hour from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. sweetens the deal.
Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa, 7100 Aviara Resort Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92011, USA
From the moment you step inside Carlsbad’s Park Hyatt Aviara, you feel like you’re on a retreat. A quiet soundtrack and the hotel’s signature jasmine scent permeate the airy lobby. And between the hotel and the ocean sits a garden that may lure you out before you even check in. Palm Court is a fantasia of palms, along with orange blossoms, jasmine, hibiscus, and parrot lilies. In keeping with the serene theme, the 329 guest rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, with views of the local foothills, the LPGA-frequented golf course, one of the two pools, or the nearby Batiquitos Lagoon. The hotel offers plenty of ways to fill your days, with an upscale spa (try the Carlsbad Sea Stone Massage) as well as tennis, volleyball, badminton, and bocce courts. For a peak California experience, sign up for a private surf lesson—which wraps with a gourmet meal on the beach—or sign up for yoga under the palm trees. Pro tip: The hotel is so pet friendly—with “care stations” scattered throughout, plus extra plush dog beds—you’ll feel guilty if you leave Fido home with a sitter.
5921 Valencia Cir, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067, USA
Spanish colonial fountains. Roaring outdoor fireplaces. Brightly colored bougainvillea vines and hibiscus flowers. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, Southern California’s only Relais & Châteaux, is spread over 45 hilly acres of gardens and groves. No detail is too small here, as you’ll discover on the Bridge of Champions, a narrow wooden span that leads you across a brook. As for the champions in question, they’re bygone net men memorialized on the path to the resort’s fabled tennis complex: 18 courts and a pro shop. Not to be outdone, the landscaping around your casita (or luxury villa or private hacienda) will lend a secret garden feel to your patio, where you may also find a private fireplace, hot tub, or—in the case of the hacienda—heated pool. Inside, expect 600-thread-count linens, Frette towels, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. At the spa, waterfalls and a yoga pavilion that appears to float work in tandem with the treatments to induce maximum relaxation.
435 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Hotel Solamar is all about providing warm SoCal hospitality. Mingle in the lobby during the daily happy hour, and rent a free designer bike for beachside cruising. You can even turn your room into your ideal retreat, thanks to an eight-option pillow “menu” and in-room spa services. Wellness-minded travelers should take advantage of the available yoga mats and tune into yoga, Pilates, and core-strengthening exercise programs on TV. Pets are also given special attention with free amenities that include welcome treats and beds.

The chic downtown hotel is design-focused without being stuffy, creating a laid-back vibe throughout the property. Oversized chairs, sleek mahogany furniture, and plush stitched walls adorn the rooms. Sunny days aren’t hard to come by in San Diego, so don’t miss the fourth-floor terrace with its memorable skyline views. You can also take a dip in the heated Shore Pool or catch some rays on one of the lounge chairs.
1055 1st Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
The Bristol Hotel is a modern boutique property located near the Gaslamp Quarter. A member of the Green Lodging Program, the hotel is one of seven in San Diego to have a Green Eco-Leaf Rating. From energy-efficient technology to eco-friendly amenities, the Bristol’s commitment to lessening its footprint extends to the smallest details. All these measures don’t diminish its focus on comfort and convenience, though. You’ll find down duvets, free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and in-room iHome docking stations.

As you explore the property, you’ll find pop art pieces by renowned artists. Be on the lookout for Teddy Roosevelt by Andy Warhol and Oval Office by Roy Lichtenstein. Business travelers will also be pleased to know that the Bristol is downtown San Diego’s only meeting space with a retractable roof. When you’re stuck in conferences all day, you can give a new meaning to multitasking while you work on your tan.
326 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Founded more than a century ago, the US Grant gracefully mixes its historic legacy with contemporary touches. Ulysses Grant Jr., the son of President Ulysses Grant, began construction on the property at the turn of the 20th century. A time capsule filled with family photos and newspaper articles that he left in 1907 is now part of the hotel’s permanent collection. Since opening in 1910, the hotel has played host to 14 presidents. For a dose of culture without leaving the property, check out the Celebration Fine Art Gallery, where you can view paintings, sculptures, glasswork, and ceramics by national and international artists.

Today, the US Grant’s prime downtown location in the Gaslamp Quarter is hard to beat. When you enter the Grand Lobby, crystal chandeliers and hand-loomed carpets provide a sneak peak of the elegant decor found throughout the property. Guest rooms impress with tall ceilings, Empire-style furniture, and commissioned French and Native American art. No detail has been left out; even the headboards—one-of-a-kind figurative drip paintings—are a work of art.
723 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109, USA
Just steps from Pacific Beach Park, Tower23 Hotel has embraced its stunning location to the fullest. Modern rooms and suites reflect inspiration from their natural surroundings. A palette of muted colors translates into a tranquil atmosphere, while teak furniture reinforces beach vibes. If you forget anything, sunscreen and baseball hats are available for purchase in the rooms. New-age features such as chromatherapy baths and electronic “Do Not Disturb” signs set the property apart.

By day choose from a number of nearby recreational activities, including surfing, golfing, fishing, and jet skiing. Hotel staff can help you arrange more adventurous options such as a hot air balloon ride or a yacht charter. In the evening check out JRDN restaurant for its floor-to-ceiling glass beach lookout. This coveted sunset viewing location is best experienced with a cocktail in hand. Don’t leave too hastily, though; the restaurant serves equally memorable California cuisine in a laid-back setting.
831 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Why we love it: A millennial-minded stay that looks great on Instagram

The Highlights:
- An affordable hotel in a prime location
- Playful but comfy design
- Fun spaces to meet fellow travelers

The Review:
The first California property from millennial-minded hotel brand Moxy, this Gaslamp Quarter hotel appeals directly to the Instagram-obsessed traveler. Everything here is designed for the perfect shot, from the neon sign in the entryway to the daily quotes scrawled in bright pink on the elevator mirrors. Guests check in either at the massive, square-shaped bar or the custom tricycle, at which point they receive a signature “Get Moxy #5” cocktail before being shown to one of 126 smartly designed rooms. Equipped with purposeful details like pegboards to hang clothing and beds framed by LED-lit platforms, rooms are small for two guests, but that’s kind of the point—at the Moxy, guests are encouraged to spend time in the hotel’s communal spaces instead.

With places like the lobby lounge and library to hang out, that’s not a hard directive to follow. A feast for the senses, the lobby blends industrial style (exposed electrical conduits, steel finishing, wood accents) with nautical details (camouflage wall coverings, porthole mirrors, a shipping container). An LED light fixture by Canadian-based Moment Factory hangs overhead, while the first San Diego mural by L.A.-based artist Paul Nandee decorates the lounge area, which also features pinball machines, Jenga, and other games to keep guests entertained. If you need a little alone time, head upstairs to the library, where you can read under a topographic map of San Diego Bay, or hit the gym, equipped with pink boxing gloves and candy (guests are asked not to take themselves too seriously during their stay). Come evening however, it’s time to hit Bar Moxy for local beers and handcrafted cocktails. Should you want to explore the city, there’s also a grab-and-go area, where you can pick up coffee, snacks, and drinks before heading out to Sixth Avenue.
550 J St, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Why we love it: A sophisticated stay that you never have to leave

The Highlights:
- Spacious, beautifully designed rooms
- Six different restaurants and bars that even locals love
- A rooftop pool for soaking up the San Diego sun

The Review:
The debut property from Pendry Hotels, this elegant hotel brings a touch of sophistication to the Gaslamp Quarter. The 317 guestrooms—including 36 suites—all measure 350 square feet or more, offering space to stretch out on plush beds and chaise lounges upholstered in the hotel’s signature blue tartan. A mix of coastal California style and luxurious amenities, rooms also feature a calming, ocean-inspired palette, chic furnishings, and transparent, glass-and-steel showers stocked with custom bath products.

While you might be tempted to spend the day in your room, enjoying views of downtown or the bay, you’ll want to explore at least a few of the Pendry’s six restaurants and bars. Start your morning at Provisional, a restaurant-marketplace hybrid offering seasonal fare, gourmet coffee, and grab-and-go items, then head up to The Pool House, a rooftop pool and lounge serving light bites and refreshing drinks. Come evening, you’ll want to follow sushi at Lionfish with cocktails at Fifth & Rose, local brews at Nason’s Beer Hall, or live music at Oxford Social Club—plus a Champagne nightcap from the hotel’s Moët & Chandon vending machine. When it’s time to detox, hit Spa Pendry for balancing treatments, or work out in the fitness studio overlooking the pool deck.
11480 North Torrey Pines Road
Possibly the last thing you expect when you pull up to this seaside California craftsman-style resort is a doorman in a kilt. But no sooner do you step into the lobby and stare out the lodge’s huge, wood-framed windows than you understand where the idea for this uniform came from: the homeland of the sport you’re about to see a lot of. You’ll essentially have a golf course for a backyard—specifically, La Jolla’s fabled Torrey Pines Golf Course, where you’ll get priority tee times. The scenery—velvety green cliffs, the area’s namesake pines, and the Pacific—is dreamy enough to satisfy even nongolfers. Among the spa, pool, yoga classes, and eight miles of trails in nearby Torrey Pines State Park, there’s plenty to do when you’re not teeing up. And the indoor scenery is equally appealing: The 170-room hotel, built in 2002, was modeled after Pasadena’s iconic Gamble and Blacker houses. True to the arts and crafts movement that inspired the design, materials include wood, brick, and stone; and furnishings include Stickley furniture and stained glass.
1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014, USA
Why we love it: A laidback but luxurious coastal retreat set in one of Southern California’s loveliest villages

The Highlights:
- Comfortable, light-filled rooms with private balconies
- Outdoor dining with ocean views
- A beautiful beach just a short walk down the hill

The Review:
Self-described as “your home by the sea,” L’Auberge Del Mar feels more like a mansion plucked from a Nancy Meyers movie. The immaculate property comprises 121 estate-style bedrooms set around a central pool and dining terrace just steps from a textbook SoCal beach. Rooms are full of welcoming touches—plush bedding, marble bathrooms, private balconies or patios, and carefully curated books on local topics—while facilities include several upscale dining and drinking options as well as two tennis courts, a 24-hour fitness center, and an award-winning spa. The hotel even welcomes dogs—and remembers them from previous visits—adding a personal touch to every stay.

Stop by the Living Room for cocktails and regular live music, savor fish tacos at the outdoor Shoreline restaurant as the sun dips into the Pacific, or end the night by the firepits at Bleu Bar. During the day, head to nearby Powerhouse Park and Beach for surfing, swimming and sunbathing, or Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for hiking. Both Del Mar village and neighboring La Jolla offer upscale shopping and dining, and San Diego is less than 30 minutes on the freeway. Should you wish to stay closer to “home,” there are Electra Beach Cruisers available to rent as well as a village shuttle that covers a one-mile radius around town.
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