Where to Book a Stay in San Diego

The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is the best place to book for a five-star, luxurious escape
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is the best place to book for a five-star, luxurious escape | Courtesy of Fairmont Grand Del Mar / Booking.com
Photo of Talitha Duncan-Todd
7 December 2021
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San Diego is the perfect destination for a warm California getaway. Whether you want to explore Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo or enjoy the sunshine on Coronado Beach, you’ll need somewhere to rest and relax after a busy day. Take your pick from our list of the best hotels in San Diego.

The US GRANT, for luxe elegance

Imposing exterior of the US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel, with a fountain in front and an American flag on top
Courtesy of THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel / Booking.com

One of the best hotels in San Diego for more than 100 years, the US GRANT is gorgeous inside and out. Stroll past the glowing, columned water feature outside the front door and into a showstopper of a lobby with glistening chandeliers and stylish tub chairs. The elegance continues in the rooms with its evocative art and pillow-top beds featuring 350-thread-count sheets and designer duvets. For a nightcap, drop by the Grant Grill Lounge for artisanal cocktails, fine wines, and craft beers.

Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego, for lounging by the pool

Bathroom with panoramic windows, two sinks, and a luxurious tub at Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego, an IHG Hotel
Courtesy of Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego, an IHG Hotel / Booking.com

Yes, the lobby is as chic as it gets and several of the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows so you can enjoy lovely views of San Diego. But, chances are your favorite place to hang out at the Kimpton Hotel will be its level four pool deck and lounge. Splash around above the city and then join the al fresco party scene with a pro sound system, a steady stream of crafty cocktails, and locally-sourced small bites.

Pendry San Diego, for hipster cool

Aerial view of rooftop pool, lounge chairs and turquoise umbrellas at Pendry San Diego
Courtesy of Pendry San Diego / Booking.com

You know a hotel caters to the hip crowd when there’s a Moët & Chandon Champagne vending machine in its restaurant. Add a plaid theme throughout (both couches in the rooms and staff outfits), Nason’s Beer Hall with its craft beer on tap and vintage games, and the modern coastal cuisine of the Lionfish restaurant and you might want to consider putting your hair in a topknot as you enter the trendy Pendry San Diego.

Pacific Terrace Hotel, for boardwalk bike rides

Elegant ocean-view bedroom at Pacific Terrace Hotel featuring a grand wooden-frame bed and a private balcony overlooking the beach
Courtesy of Pacific Terrace Hotel / Booking.com
Overlooking the sparkling ocean, the Pacific Terrace Hotel provides beachfront accommodation in San Diego’s Pacific Beach neighborhood. Kick off your shoes, settle into your balcony chair, sip a relaxing beverage, and look out over the amazing Californian coast. Guests can treat themselves to a massage by the pool, a bike ride down the boardwalk, or just get comfortable with their portable beach chairs and sun umbrellas out on the warm sand. The Central San Diego hotel provides easy access to exceptional surfing, sailing, fishing, and cycling.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, for a premium view

Aerial view of the tall Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego and the water beyond
Courtesy of Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego / Booking.com
Discover the culture and beauty of San Diego right outside your door at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Guests can wake to the sun sparkling off San Diego Bay, indulge in a bountiful breakfast buffet overlooking the marina at Seaview, enjoy shopping at Seaport Village, or take a coastal cruise. Whatever you do during the day, as a guest at the Manchester Grand Hyatt you can look forward to retiring to a premium view room for a great night’s rest in a signature Hyatt Grand bed.

Bahia Resort Hotel, for family-friendly amenities

Elegant bedroom with a dark wood-frame bed, a couch, a wooden coffee table, a table with chairs and a private balcony overlooking palm trees at Bahia Resort Hotel
Courtesy of Bahia Resort Hotel / Booking.com
The simple, traditional rooms and suites at the Bahia Resort Hotel offer free wifi, coffeemakers, and mini-fridges – some rooms also have beach or garden views. Suites are available, and some come with additional kitchenettes, as well as sitting areas and bay views. Dining options include the Tangier restaurant, a pool bar and grill, and room service. There’s an outdoor pool, a jacuzzi, and tennis courts, plus a children’s games room and shuffleboard. Free cruises with entertainment are available, as well as a complimentary shuttle to the spa at the hotel’s sister property, the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa.

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, for Polynesian chic

Mood-lit dining area at dusk featuring relaxed table settings and palm trees at Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
Courtesy of Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa / Booking.com
This Polynesian-themed resort, only 6.5mi (10.5km) from San Diego International Airport, offers casual elegance with palm trees, luscious vegetation, tiki torches, koi ponds, waterfalls, and exotic birds. The whole family is catered for here – whether you enjoy sunbathing at the beach, relaxing by the pool, rejuvenating in the Catamaran spa’s hot tub, paddle boarding, or cruising up and down the boardwalk on a bike or Segway. Each of the 310 rooms and suites has a private balcony or patio with sublime views of Mission Bay, the Pacific Ocean, or the hotel’s tropical gardens.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar, for five-star style

Elegant outdoor dining area in a gazebo overlooking the pink exterior of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Courtesy of Fairmont Grand Del Mar / Booking.com
Basking in San Diego’s endless sunshine, Fairmont Grand Del Mar welcomes guests to a warm Mediterranean estate, replete with their signature charm and Southern California style. Unrivaled five-star service delivers every indulgence, including a championship Tom Fazio golf course, a five-star spa, and exquisite dining. Set amid the incredible Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, this 249-room luxury San Diego resort captures the elegance and comfort of an old-world estate with an enviable Southern Californian locale. Freebies consist of guided hikes, parking, and transportation to nearby destinations.

Tower23 Hotel, for modern cool

White bed with private balcony overlooking the ocean at Tower23 Hotel in San Diego
Courtesy of Tower23 Hotel / Booking.com
Between La Jolla and Downtown San Diego, this modern, glass-paneled hotel overlooks the ocean and is adjacent to Pacific Beach Park. Chic rooms feature private balconies or patios, minibars, flat-screen TVs, and free wifi. Suites add extra living spaces – and some even have whirlpool tubs. The on-site steak and seafood restaurant serves upscale Californian cuisine, and amenities include meeting facilities and a rooftop lounge with firepits.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront, for upscale decor

Beachfront outdoor pool, jacuzzi and palm trees at Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Courtesy of Hilton San Diego Bayfront / Booking.com
Overlooking San Diego Bay, this 30-story convention hotel is across the street from the San Diego Convention Center and a short walk from Petco Park. Rooms offer bay and city skyline views, upscale decor, and custom-designed beds. Suites have additional living areas with pull-out sofas. Dining options include an on-site restaurant, a sports bar, a coffee shop, and a waterfront bar with a terrace. Other amenities include a spa, a fitness center, and an outdoor saltwater pool and hot tub.

Pierre de Villiers contributed additional reporting to this article.

For some affordable stays in the area, check out the best cheap hotels in San Diego or stay right on the coast at one of the best beach hotels. Alternatively, opt for some pampering at one of the best spa hotels and wellness retreats or boutique hotel in San Diego, bookable with Culture Trip.

These recommendations were updated on December 7, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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