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Concierge.com

San Diego Hotels

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Catamaran Resort Hotel
3999 Mission Boulevard
San Diego , California
Tel: 877 646 3726
www.catamaranresort.com

Originally the Scripps family's summer estate, this property was sold and converted into a hotel in 1958. The new owners opted for colonial Hawaiian–style architecture that's still in place today. Mahogany woods and South Pacific–inspired furniture outfit the 315 rooms. Yes, the theme can get a little stilted, especially when it comes to the luau nights, the lei-making table, and the the canoe hanging in the fake waterfall–equipped lobby. But hokey or not, the activities and the relaxed and welcoming vibe keep the Catamaran on the short list for families. The location is great too: a narrow spit of land between the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay, good for swimming, kayaking, and sailing. The beach and boardwalk are just across the street, and Belmont Park and SeaWorld are also nearby.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages
4500 Ocean Boulevard
San Diego , California
Tel: 858 483 6983
Tel: 800 748 5894
www.crystalpier.com

Want oceanfront? We'll do you one better: How about ocean-top? This small hotel's 23 Cape Cod–style cottages are perched atop Pacific Beach's historic fishing pier. Built in 1927, some of the cottages were remodeled as recently as 2005, but they're still nothing special, with white wicker furniture, kitchenettes, and a Jimmy Buffett meets West Palm Beach vibe. Of course, with porches like these, you won't be sitting inside. The Crystal Pier is perfect for vacationing families, groups of friends, and pretty much everyone else, too. The only trick is getting a room. A SoCal classic and annual tradition for many folks, the hotel is regularly booked solid all summer long. Book at least six months in advance for June–August, or better yet, visit in the fall, when the air is crisp and the boardwalk more peaceful, and powerful west swells thundering below the pier lull you to sleep. When booking, keep in mind that the hotel's six oceanfront suites are on the beach, not on the pier like the cottages.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
La Jolla
San Diego , California
Tel: 858 550 1000
www.estancialajolla.com

The hacienda-style Estancia sprawls along the bluffs north of La Jolla. Setting the Spanish Mission mood are red-tile roofs, faux-adobe walls, and 210 rooms and suites set around arcaded courtyards. Interiors are equally inviting—an eye-pleasing array of apricot, avocado, and pumpkin hues set against Mexican reproduction antiques and Indonesian wicker. The Adobe restaurant blends fresh-off-the-boat San Diego seafood with traditional ranchero dishes such as grilled rib-eye steak. The after-dinner crowd adjourns to The Library for a quiet Cognac or strolls across the rose garden to the Mustangs & Burros bar, where drinks are served alfresco in front of a roaring fire and accompanied by a flamenco guitarist. The Spa at Estancia offers citrus body scrubs and outdoor massages.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Glorietta Bay Inn
1630 Glorietta Boulevard
Coronado , California
92118
Tel: 800 283 9383
Fax: 619 435 6182
www.gloriettabayinn.com

Situated across the street from the famed "Hotel Del," the Glorietta Bay Inn often gets billed as the poor man's version of the grande dame, but this 11-room charmer has much to recommend it. It's substantially less expensive than its fancy neighbor, it offers free Wi-Fi and breakfast, and it doesn't nickel-and-dime with resort fees (the Del charges for all of the above). The former home of San Diego land baron John D. Spreckels, the lushly landscaped property is situated right on the bay, within walking distance to Coronado's shops and cafés. There are two sections: Opt for the historic 1920s mansion with its original brass cage elevator, marble staircase, and guest rooms brimming with antiques and nostalgia; the newer, motel-style buildings are decidedly less charming. The downside of the older rooms? Smaller and slightly dingy bathrooms, which would benefit from a spruce-up. Still, the exceptionally friendly service (waiters remember your name and the kind of scone you like at breakfast) keeps Glorietta Bay Inn fans coming back.—Audrey Davidow

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Grand Del Mar
5300 Grand Del Mar Court
Del Mar , California
92130
Tel: 855 314 2030
Tel: 858 314 2001
www.thegranddelmar.com

The Grand Del Mar is an opulent gem located in the serene hills of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. A sprawling estate complete with four swimming pools, two outdoor tennis courts, a 21,000-square-foot spa, and an equestrian center, the North County hotel feels more like a luxe villa ripped right out of the Tuscan countryside. Past the burbling horse-head fountains, the lush gardens, and spiffy doormen is a marble-and-crystal lobby with ornate columns and archways overlooking the Tom Fazio–designed golf course. Some of the 249 rooms and suites feature dining rooms, outdoor fireplaces, and extended verandas with stunning views of the fairway; all include nice touches such as hand-stenciled ceilings, steam showers, and Pratesi linens. Among the dining options is Addison, SoCal's only five-star/five-diamond restaurant. The hotel offers numerous complimentary perks, too—daily shoe-shines, gym classes, guided hikes through the nature preserve, and limo jaunts into the storybook-sweet village of Del Mar.—Audrey Davidow

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
The Grande Colonial
910 Prospect Street
La Jolla , California
92037
Tel: 858 866 9014
info@gclj.com
www.thegrandecolonial.com

The casual, understated elegance of the Grande Colonial hotel, a 93-room Euro-style boutique in the heart of La Jolla, lies somewhere between the buttoned-up La Valencia and the chic Hotel Parisi. Completely refurbished in 2000, this historic hotel was built in 1913 and is comprised of three buildings: the five-story main structure; the ten-suite extended-stay Garden Terrace; and the eight-suite Little Hotel by the Sea. All three are decorated in subtle shades of pale blue, yellow, or green, with striped drapes that have a beachy vibe. You won't find a minibar in the main building's rooms (though the garden suites have them), nor an on-site gym (though you can pick up a $25 day pass to a nearby facility). The bathrooms are more basic than luxurious, but there's a simplicity here that makes you feel at home (well, at a very wealthy friend's home, outfitted with impeccable taste and an exceptionally friendly staff). The suites in the Garden Terrace and the Little Hotel come with kitchens and are closest to the water, but if it's prime Pacific views you're after, ask for an ocean-facing room on the upper floors of the main hotel. Don't miss the bustling restaurant, Nine-Ten (but skip the dining room and grab a seat at the bar, where the short rib panini and homemade potato chips steal the show).—Audrey Davidow

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Del Coronado
1500 Orange Avenue
Coronado , California
Tel: 619 435 6611
Tel: 800 468 3533
www.hoteldel.com

It's gotten knocked recently for being a bit tired, but this 1888 landmark is still packing 'em in for vacations, weddings, dinners, and conference…but especially vacations. Yes, the Del is showing its age, but an ongoing series of facelifts is improving the rooms and adding (by summer 2007) a new spa and fitness center and a modern wing with cottages on the sand. Yup, this is the hotel from Some Like It Hot (it stood in for Miami, actually), so you can revel in the Del's iconographic status: a white, palm-fringed Victorian with picturesque red spires and gables on prime beach real estate on Coronado Island. Or you can just appreciate the benefits of staying at a vast (688-room) resort: Great beaches (with surfing instructors on hand), two pools, bikes for hire, take-out delis, a bakery that opens at 6 a.m., and an exceptionally child-friendly attitude, down to supplying swim diapers at the pool.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Parisi
1111 Prospect Street
La Jolla
San Diego , California
Tel: 858 454 1511
www.hotelparisi.com

You could walk along swanky Prospect Street without ever noticing Parisi—and that's the point of this quietly aloof 20-suite retreat. Rooms, arranged according to feng shui principles, are tastefully appointed with walnut furniture and original abstract oil paintings, all of which helps deflect attention away from the disappointing views. (The best suites only have obstructed glimpses of the ocean.) Parisi is within easy reach of the sea caves at La Jolla Cove, but its guests (couples, businessmen, and Hollywood's elite, including Madonna and Cindy Crawford) tend to gravitate toward shopping and take advantage of the on-site acupuncturist, massage therapist, certified yoga instructor, or even the on-call clinical psychologist. If you haven't guessed already, this is not the place to bring Junior.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Solamar
435 6th Avenue
San Diego , California
Tel: 619 531 8740
Tel: 877 230 0300
www.hotelsolamar.com

A block from the new Padres home at PETCO Park in the Gaslamp Quarter, the first Kimpton hotel in San Diego displays the brand's playful decor (here, a lot of chocolate brown, aqua blue, giant polka dots, and stripes), warm welcome for doggy guests, and good restaurant, Jsix. Opened in April 2005, the 235-room hotel is aimed squarely at the hipper end of the business market, with full-sized desks, ergonomic chairs, and free Internet access (wired and Wi-Fi) in all rooms, plus a 9,000-square-foot function space and three blocks to walk to the San Diego Convention Center. Come kickback time, there's a pool on a 13,000-square-foot deck with three fire pits to encourage the consumption of signature "passiontinis."

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Keating
432 F Street
San Diego , California
Tel: 877 753 2846
thekeating.com

Model T meets Maserati is an apt description of this newcomer in downtown San Diego, a welcome splash of Euro chic in a neighborhood of brash Americana. The Romanesque revival facade dates to the 1890s, but with legendary Italian design house Pininfarina at the wheel, the interior design is about as late-model as it gets—a fusion of faux glass, stainless steel, and a color scheme dominated by flashy swaths of racing red. The 35 guest rooms are wired with plasma TVs, iPod docks, and (Pininfarina-designed) espresso machines. The basement has been transformed into a semiprivate lounge, bar, and wine cellar fashioned from the building's Victorian-era bank vault, while more substantial fare can be had at Croce's Restaurant, a longtime area favorite that has forged a culinary joint venture with The Keating which includes providing room service to hotel guests.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa
1540 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar , California
Tel: 858 259 1515
Tel: 800 245 9757
www.laubergedelmar.com

Once a tony retreat for stars like Bob Hope, Lucy and Desi, and Clark Gable, L'Auberge Del Mar was renovated in 2008 but still retains an elegant Old Hollywood air. It's a family-friendly 5.2-acre spread with two nice pools, spacious decks, and terraces with Pacific views. Visit on a summer evening, and you'll find amorous young couples and baby boomers dining alfresco while a troupe of kids plays games nearby. Although it's not truly oceanfront, the beautiful cliff-lined beach of Del Mar is just a five-minute walk away on a private footpath. The 120 guest rooms have fireplaces, private patios or balconies (some with a slice of ocean view), and gorgeous marble bathrooms. The decor is an elegant mix of pale yellows and greens, with pattern used sparingly in the upholstered chairs and pillows. In mid-summer, L'Auberge's collective energy picks up when horseracing season begins at nearby Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and mint julep–fueled race fans descend on the hotel.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
La Valencia
1132 Prospect Street
La Jolla
San Diego , California
Tel: 858 454 0771
Tel: 800 451 0772
www.lavalencia.com

When it comes to location, it doesn't get much better than the venerable La Valencia. Opened in 1926, this pale-pink stucco and Spanish-tile-roofed hotel is perched just above the Pacific at famous La Jolla Cove. Meanwhile, its front door opens right onto the boutiques and art galleries of Prospect Street, San Diego's version of Rodeo Drive. Several towering palms stand guard as you enter the lobby, which is appointed with wrought iron, hand-painted ceilings, intricate Spanish tiling, and a stunning postcard view of the crashing waves below from a floor-to-ceiling picture window. The guest rooms are comfortable though the decor is a bit dated: Think grandmotherly printed upholstery with brass accents. The hotel is doing renovations here and there and recently unveiled 15 new terraced Ocean Villas with grade-A ocean views done up in subtle shades of brown with marble floors. La Valencia also has three restaurants and a pair of bars, all of which attract a mix of tourists and hip locals. It's extremely family- and pet-friendly, yet the hotel manages to maintain an air of casual grace.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Les Artistes
944 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar , California
Tel: 858 755 4646
www.lesartistesinn.com

Right off Highway 101 as it slices through the quaint coastal hamlet of Del Mar, you'll find Les Artistes. Built in the 1940s, the structure is your classic roadside motel, but ten years ago new owners transformed it with funky, imaginative decor. Ten of the 12 rooms have distinct artist themes. "Monet" is, of course, done in French Country style; "Gauguin" has a Polynesian shtick and an oversized tub; "Furo" has shoji screens and a Japanese soaking tub; while "Erte" does (remarkably inauthentic) Art Deco. Each of the ground floor rooms has its own mini courtyard, perfect for a breezy afternoon cocktail. Overall, Les Artistes channels a decidedly laid-back, almost hippie feel that, for some, will be a pleasant antidote to the area's other expansive resort properties. Others may find it a bit too cozy and won't appreciate the slight road noise during rush hour. Still, for the location—strolling distance to the beach and downtown Del Mar—you can't beat the rates.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Lodge at Torrey Pines
11480 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla
San Diego , California
Tel: 858 777 6620
www.lodgetorreypines.com

A shining example of early 20th-century California architecture, this 170-room hotel was meticulously modeled after the Gamble and Blacker houses in Pasadena, a pair of classic Arts and Crafts structures built in 1907 and 1908. Its construction is said to be so faithful to the Craftsman tradition that guests will be unable to find even a single nail used on the property. The Lodge's exterior of shingle, sandstone, and clinker-brick complements the pines, wild grasses, and sandstone bluffs of its ocean-view location north of downtown La Jolla. It's all quite grand—more so after being renovated and reopened in 2002—yet it's still homey: Both the common areas and the rooms are earth-toned, with exposed posts and beams, rich leather couches, Stickley furniture, and Tiffany lamps (some real, some not). Even the smallest guest rooms are comfortably large; those on the west side face the manicured golf course, while those with eastern exposures look out onto a somewhat unkempt-looking natural landscape that includes the namesake Torrey pines. Requisite resort-style amenities, a pool with classical music piped in underwater, beach cabanas (in summer), and a full day spa please the families, romantic couples, businessmen, and golfers who stay here. It's notoriously tough to get a tee time at the Torrey Pines Golf Course, home of the 2008 U.S. Open, but the Lodge reserves 20 a day for its guests.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Loews Coronado Bay Resort & Spa
4000 Coronado Bay Road
Coronado , California
92118
Tel: 619 424 4000
coronadoreservations@loewshotels.com
www.loewshotels.com/en/Coronado-Bay-Resort

At the quieter end of Coronado, about four miles from the shops and cafés downtown, you'll find the sprawling Loews Coronado Bay resort. With three outdoor pools, five tennis courts, an exercise club, and a private 80-slip marina with rentals galore—sailboats, paddleboats, WaveRunners, surf skis, and beach equipment—there's enough going on here to make it a good bet for a family vacation. Since it's set on a private 15-acre peninsula, it's tough to get a room without a view at this 438-room property. The decor is upmarket beachy, in pale greens and blues, with wicker furniture and subtle striped accents. We recommend the cluster of bungalows right on the bay with views of the Coronado bridge and kayakers bobbing by. The Commodore Kids Club program keeps children ages 4 to 12 busy with swimming, seashell hunting, and wildlife-focused nature walks while parents escape to a chaise on the pristine stretch of sand or enjoy the hotel's spa gondola experience—a gondola cruise of the Coronado Cays, followed by a 40-minute massage, Champagne, and chocolate-covered strawberries.—Audrey Davidow

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Park Hyatt Aviara
7100 Aviara Resort Drive
Carlsbad , California
92011
Tel: 760 448 1234
sanpa-reservations@hyatt.com
www.parkaviara.hyatt.com

This Carlsbad hotel offers all the luxury resort requisites—top-notch food, meticulously maintained grounds (with an 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course and six tennis courts), 329-room spacious rooms plushly decorated and with newly spiffed bathrooms (ask for a room overlooking the Batiquitos Lagoon), and a first-rate spa with alfresco treatment cabanas. But what really sets the property apart is the bend-over-backwards service. Room service is delivered at precisely the promised time. The staff, from concierge to pool boy, cater to your every whim, and pint-sized guests are treated with the same doting consideration. Camp Hyatt offers storytelling, crafts, and games, and there's even a sweet picnic area sized perfectly for the wee ones.—Audrey Davidow

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rancho Valencia
5921 Valencia Circle
Rancho Santa Fe , California
Tel: 858 756 1123
Tel: 800 548 3664
Fax: 858 756 0165
www.aubergeresorts.com/hotels-resorts/rancho-valencia/

Casitas of various sizes—49 of them—are secreted within 40 acres of citrus groves and flowers in this quiet, relaxed, and luxe resort 25 miles north of downtown. Wood-beamed cathedral ceilings, terrazzo tiles, ceiling fans, and fireplaces lend the open-plan living quarters a rustic air. The newer, bigger Grove Suites also have patios with Jacuzzis, steam showers, and jetted tubs in the bathrooms. Tennis coaching is first-rate, spa treatments are excellent, and the beaches of Del Mar and La Jolla are close at hand. There's also a croquet lawn, and the eponymous restaurant is a local destination.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sè San Diego
1047 5th Avenue
Fort Baker
San Diego , California
92101
Tel: 619 515 3000
Tel: 877 515 2211 (toll-free)
www.sesandiego.com

Though the Sè is very much a visual feast—with a massive bronze front door, a grand staircase framed by faux sand dollars, lamps covered in gray stingray, an entire wall at the spa covered in tiny green Chinese teacups—it's more than just a pretty face. The staff seem to be genuinely thrilled to help you, and the 184 rooms, in a steel-and-glass building perched atop a Victorian-era structure, are small but well appointed. Yet the thing that really sticks in your mind (and belly) is the complimentary breakfast in bed with chocolate croissants, serrano ham and melon, and granola. All of this from chef Christopher Lee, whose Suite & Tender restaurant is surf and turf with a twist: pork belly and scallops, hamachi fish tacos, carpaccio of Kobe beef. The spa, too, is a pleasant surprise—especially the harem-style lounge, where you can curl up with a good book (or another warm body).

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Tower 23
4551 Ocean Boulevard
San Diego , California
Tel: 866 869 3723
reserve23@t23hotel.com
www.t23hotel.com

Opened in July 2005 and the first luxury oceanfront hotel to be built in San Diego in a decade, Tower23 is a splashy glass oblong of a design statement with 44 mostly ocean-view rooms and suites. Named after its neighbor, Lifeguard Tower #23, the three-story minimalist building wants to be an urban beach resort for attention-deficit adult kids. Suites have that latest in questionable relaxation equipment: chromatherapy baths. There are also Xboxes, flat-screen TVs, Bose sound systems, and Wi-Fi access that stretches to the beach. Jordan, the 10,000-square-foot restaurant, and the boardwalk/beach Tower Bar promise to become new centers of hip.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
US Grant
326 Broadway
San Diego , California
Tel: 866 837 4270
www.usgrant.net

When the son of President Ulysses S. Grant opened this hotel in 1910 in the heart of downtown, it became an instant landmark, favored by presidents and the social elite through an extended heyday. You know the rest of this story: fading beauty, unfortunate makeovers, and finally, an unlikely savior. In this case, the heroes are the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians, who used capital from their nearby casino to buy the hotel and pour $56 million into its renovation. Unveiled in October 2006, the new-again U.S. Grant echoes the stately grandeur of its past without feeling dated. The 317 rooms are appointed with reproduction antique furnishings, basin sinks, and flat-screen TVs, and nearby Spa Velia partners with the hotel for in-room treatments. Downstairs, just off the opulent lobby, the new Grant Grill traded in its formerly dark, clubby vibe for light woods and mirrors, its traditional afternoon tea for "Tea and 'Tinis"; and steaks for lobster corndogs and blue-fin tuna tartare. If you're in San Diego for a beach vacation, this isn't for you, but it is close to the convention center, and attracts a lot of guests with business there.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.