With stunning beaches, year-round sunshine and an array of eclectic neighborhoods (and sights!), San Diego offers the perfect blend of relaxed coastal living, outdoor adventures and city life. And from the sixteenth-floor balcony of my corner suite at Palomar San Diego, I can take it all in at once—on my left, spectacular ocean views, including the famed Coronado bridge; on my right, high rises, nestled along the pristine coastline, with cruise ships, awaiting passengers; and sixteen floors below me—remains of the prohibition era and Spanish-influenced architecture mixing seamlessly with chef-driven restaurants, contemporary lofts and high-energy night life.
If you’ve never visited downtown San Diego, you might be surprised by its mass appeal and continuously-changing landscape. From the colorful streets of charming Little Italy, where you may find yourself speaking with newcomers from around the globe, to the ‘trendy’ bars of East Village, the historic Gaslamp Quarter and the beautiful Marina District, each urban San Diego neighborhood tells its own story of this incredible city. We embarked on our San Diego journey at Kimpton’s Palomar San Diego, which is conveniently located at the steps of the Gaslamp Quarter—close enough to take in the sights and indulge in the latest craft cocktails, yet far enough to feel removed from the hustle and bustle, and enjoy its tranquility.
Built in 2009, the 20-story hotel joined the Kimpton family of hotels and restaurants in 2011, and became known as the Palomar San Diego. Today, the boutique 211-room hotel is recognized for its contemporary and stylish design, premier hospitality and a nationally-recognized deluxe spa.
Walking in, I must admit I was taken aback by the massive entryway—an oversized two-ton door, opened effortlessly by the friendly staff—and the stunning lobby, complete with colorful surfboards, interesting art pieces and that warm sense of hospitality. Our suite is one of 50 rooms in the hotel’s Skyline Collection—a surf-inspired collection of rooms on floors 16 through 20, launched in the previous year. Designed by Theresa Fatino Design, the 30 guestrooms, 12 studios, six suites and two penthouses were designed to blend urban sophistication with coastal aesthetics.
In our suite, California-style fixtures and furnishings include surfboard-themed headboards, surf art, marine-colored tie-dye fabrics and sconces resembling motorcycle taillights. Stunning views of the San Diego Bay, Coronado Island, and Gaslamp District complement the modern design and further elevate the experience. The colors, patterns, décor and abundance of light also help create a quintessential Southern California feeling in the room.
During one of our ventures downstairs, we were lucky to catch the tail-end of the hotel’s Social Hour—complimentary wine and small bites available to guests between nightly—what could be better? Heading out on the town is easy—going left out of the hotel you can walk down Fifth Avenue and follow the street past the crowds, cafes and bars. You can even stop over at Palomar San Diego’s sister property, Hotel Solamar. We learned the Solamar just completed a full renovation—Spanish influences, contemporary design—and is home to LOUNGESix, a popular local rooftop bar. And, if you’re a music fan, you can walk 10 steps right out of the Palomar San Diego to find yourself at the famous House of Blues.
Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the hotel, in addition to our room, is the spa. Branded as Nature’s Spa by Jurlique, the 5,500 square foot spa is nothing short of extraordinary. The spa has seven luxurious treatment rooms, each with private steam shower and changing area, as well as a couple’s suite, complete with a soaking tub, and a zen-like Silk Lounge for relaxation before and after. From customized skin care and massage treatments, to nail care and total body packages—all using high end natural products—Nature’s Spa by Jurlique offers a little something for everyone. And, in speaking to the spa concierge, I learned the spa is Jurlique’s very first concept spa in North America, which makes it even more special.
One floor above the spa is the hotel’s rooftop pool deck, Summersalt Pool and Lounge. The deck is great for daytime lounging and sunset drinks, offering an infinity pool, loungers, cabanas, and a bar with specialty cocktails and select menu items.
And on the ground floor (adjacent to the oversized door) is the hotel’s famed restaurant, Saltbox Dining & Drinking. The restaurant’s out-of-the-box menu puts a local twist on comfort classics, like SoCal carnitas poutine with burrata fondue. And all the food items are designed to pair with craft cocktails.
In addition to the gorgeous accommodations and the amazing service we received throughout the entire hotel, the Palomar San Diego offers a myriad of great amenities. These include complimentary public bike rentals, nightly Social Hour and complimentary morning coffee and tea service, as well as a beer concierge (cheers to that!) and pet-friendly amenities (bring your precious fur children with you!).
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing coastal escape or a quick city getaway, San Diego is at the top of my list and the Palomar San Diego and certainly the right hotel to get the best of both worlds.
For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.hotelpalomar-sandiego.com.