San Diego is one of the hottest big cities in the country for tourists; it has wonderful year-round weather, world-class hotels, restaurants, shopping and an endless array of activities for every kind of traveler. We asked the most road-tripped man in the world, Mike of MikesRoadTrip.com, to share some of his favorite cool coastal hotels in San Diego.
There is a lure to the coast that is undeniable. Maybe it is because, as humans, we are made up of 70% water. Maybe it is the fond memories as a child playing on the beach and making sand castles with a moat using water from waves washing ashore. Perhaps it the setting sun on the horizon, the ocean breeze or the romantic strolls. Whatever the attraction, staying coastal is an experience that evokes a fondness for the setting and creates lasting memories.
The most recognizable coastal hotel in San Diego is probably the Hotel Del Coronado. The architecture is uniquely iconic with a rich history. The hotel is situated right on the beach, which is one of few coastal hotels in San Diego able to make this claim. Unfortunately, the Hotel Del has become a major tourist attraction and not really worthy of the rates they command.
If you’re interested in getting beyond the most well-known coastal hotel in San Diego, here are 5 cool coastal hotels that will suit every traveler. From a remarkable 5-star lodge, a chic boutique hotel, to an intimate inn.
The Lodge Torrey Pines
As soon as you approach The Lodge Torrey Pines, you can sense that you’re in for a remarkable experience. Guests are greeted by a doorman in Scottish Kilted attire, while the bellhop is dressed in a traditional outfit reminiscent of the 30s era which the hotel resembles.
The Lodge Torrey Pines pays tribute to the California Craftsman style of architecture. The post-and-beam construction and Arts & Crafts look makes you feel like you have stepped back in time—to an era where luggage was transported in wheel-less trunks, not cases; where service exceeded expectations; when lodging was more than just a place to lay your head at night.
The thoughtful details of the property are everywhere, including intricate woodwork (painstaking effort was made to replicate an authentic feel from the turn of the 20th century), where Craftsman & Art style and architecture was in vogue for the period.
Architecture buffs will notice the look of the property to be reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the pioneers of the Craftsman & Art movement. The stained glass, furniture, glass lampshades and more showcase these design elements.
The accommodations make you feel like a guest in an exquisite home. The building materials, furniture and amenities are suited for the most discerning traveler. The west-facing balcony views are exceptional, with lush green grass of the golf course in the foreground, and the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean just beyond. The championship golf course also plays hosts the Farmers PGA Tournament (January). The on-site restaurant is a distinctive dining experience that dovetails perfectly with the lodge setting. Dishes include: Duck, lamb, roasted chicken, and braised veal cheeks. The spa and pool provide relaxing sanctuaries within a small cluster of Torrey Pine trees. Click the following link to book a stay at The Lodge Torrey Pines, one of the cool coastal hotels of San Diego.
L’Auberge Del Mar
Celebrating its 30th year since opening in 1989, L’Auberge Del Mar has a nostalgic coastal feel like a hotel much older than its age. Some of the design elements were likely taken from the original hotel built in the same location back in 1910.
Offering a classically hip feel, L’Auberge engages the senses with seaside shades and elegant furnishings in a comfortable, estate-like ambiance. The hotel has a wide-open lobby/common area that flows into a lounge and patio offering views of the pool and Pacific Ocean. Located half a block from the water, there is a lovely little park perched on a cliff for a relaxing spot to take in the views, or, visitors can take a short stroll down the hill and access the beach.
Located twenty some miles north of Downtown San Diego, Del Mar is a refined coastal community with a charming downtown, high-end shops and some wonderful restaurants. On-site and nearby activities include: Surfing, hiking, biking, tennis, golf, kayaking, hang gliding and more.
The accommodations at L’Auberge are classically elegant; many rooms have decks providing views of the water. Kitchen 1540 is an award-winning on-site restaurant with kitchen on full display. Guests can dine inside or on the expansive patio. The food is true California cuisine, which is brilliantly prepared and plated. Click the following link to book a visit at L’Auberge Del Mar.
Tower 23 – Pacific Beach
Situated right on the boardwalk, looking out at Pacific Beach (PB), Tower 23 is a trendy boutique hotel that evokes that California lifestyle. Tower 23 is named for the lifeguard tower that used to be right in front of the hotel. The Tower Deck, which is located on the 2nd floor of this three-floor hotel is where guests can lounge around an elongated water feature, or cozy up to the fire pit and watch the sun set in front of the PB Pier.
Many of the rooms have patios or decks to take advantage of the stunning views. The boardwalk runs for miles in either direction, allowing guests to access an endless supply of activities. Tower 23 provides free bikes to cruise the boardwalk, or you can rent a surfboard and surf one of the most popular places in San Diego. Nearby is the famed Belmont Park, which is one of the last remaining seaside amusement parks in the country, featuring an old wooden roller coaster dating back to the 1920s.
The rooms at Tower 23 are modern and luxurious. The suites even have large Jacuzzi tubs for a romantic getaway. There is an abundance of glass, white walls and quartz floors with sea-blue accents to create a palate of cool coastal colors that blend right into the sea, which is just steps from the hotel. The property also has a fantastic restaurant (JRDN) that embraces its southern California roots. They have several seating areas … an inside dining area, the lounge, or, a large outdoor patio with glass panels to minimize the breeze coming off the water.
Tower 23 is a trendy hotel with lots of thoughtful coastal details throughout. Pacific Beach is an area that attracts a younger crowd. In my youth I remember spending a lot of time at Pacific Beach. It’s a fun place to hang out with an energetic vibe and a wistful coastal feel. Click the following link to book a stay at Tower 23, one of the cool coastal hotels of San Diego.
Grande Colonial – La Jolla
Perched on a hill off of the famed Prospect Street in the heart of La Jolla is the Grande Colonial hotel, which has been serving guests since 1913. This turn-of-the-century, Georgian-style architectural hotel was the cornerstone of development that built La Jolla into the coveted tourist destination it is today.
Over the years, the Grande Colonial has gone through many major renovations, as it is currently at the time of writing this piece. It is however nearly complete with half the rooms open to guests. The hotel is modestly elegant, staying true to its heritage and coastal roots.
The color scheme is reminiscent of the soothing sea, from pale yellow walls similar to a shade of the setting sun, to the white seashell color highlighted in the bathroom marble, to the various shades of blue woven into the carpet like the sea water. Subtle nautical hints are illustrated in the curtains and other elements. Crown molding and decorative door casements retain the hotel’s elegant architecture, while the seaside views and ocean breezes waft over guests in their rooms, as well as throughout several outdoor patios.
There is an exceptional on-site restaurant called Nine-Ten, where they have evolved California cuisine into a culinary art form. Each dish is seasonally inspired by ingredients obtained by local artisan farmers. The menu changes daily based on the availability of the ingredients, which provides a truly fresh and exciting gastronomic experience. Guests can dine inside the casually elegant space with vibrant artwork, or al fresco on the outdoor terrace. Dinner is not the only time to take a culinary journey; breakfast is also a fantastic experience. Click the following link to book a stay at the Grande Colonial, one of the cool coastal hotels of San Diego.
The Bed and Breakfast Inn at La Jolla
If you enjoy the communal connections and intimacy of a B&B, you will appreciate staying at the historic Bed and Breakfast Inn at La Jolla. Located just a block from the beach and near the famed, Seal Rock, La Jolla Cove and shopping district of Prospect Street, everything is within walking distance, or a short scooter ride away.
The Bed and Breakfast Inn at La Jolla has just 15 rooms, several in the historic part of the building that dates back to 1913; the other rooms are within an addition that was added in the 1980s. There are several common areas for guests to enjoy, a deck on the second floor of the historic part that offers views of the water, a courtyard and a second floor library with several chairs and a sofa.
The rooms are each uniquely named and modestly furnished with traditional elegance—some have real-wood fireplaces, some are larger than others, so depending on your needs, do inquire. There is an afternoon wine and cheese hour where guests can co-mingle. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are available as an evening snack. Breakfast each morning is a culinary treat. One morning I had coco quinoa oatmeal garnished with coconut, shaved almonds and pomegranate seeds as the first course, then scrambled eggs, with fresh fruit, biscuits & gravy with bacon followed as the main dish. Click the following link to book a stay at The Bed and Breakfast Inn at La Jolla.
This is a look at 5 Cool Coastal Hotels of San Diego. If you have any questions about staying at any of these properties, leave a comment below.
Pin this article to read later!
Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.