What are the best hotels in San Diego?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

When San Diego's endless sunny days beckon, you'll have some of the best hotels at your disposal for your getaway. The city is home to everything from tucked-away escape to a centrally located downtown hotel.

The Grand Del Mar crosses old-world charm and modern luxury to make a 249-room elegant Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel. Set in the scenic Los Penasquitos Canyon, the luxury hotel takes advantage of San Diego’s enviable climate, making outdoor living a main factor in its beautiful design, with patios and terraces almost everywhere the eye can see. The Grand Del Mar is also home to a Five-Star spa and the amazing Addison, the only Five-Star restaurant in San Diego.

If you’d like to be right in the heart of the action in downtown, there’s no better place than the palatial Four-Star US Grant Hotel, located within steps of some of the city’s best shopping (the alfresco Westfield Horton Plaza Mall is across the street), dining and entertainment. A city icon since 1910, this downtown dream of a hotel offers a great art collection in its public spaces and fine dining at Grant Grill and Grant Grill Lounge.

Located in nearby picturesque La Jolla, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is more of a rustic Southern California getaway. Perched atop the Torrey Pines cliffs and surrounded by protected forests, this craftsman-style luxury hotel boasts a world-renowned golf course with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the Four-Star A.R. Valentien restaurant as well as a Four-Star spa, regarded as one of the best in the area.

Julia Weiler

If your family craves non-stop theme-park action then consider staying at the new LEGOLAND California Resort Hotel in Carlsbad.  The kid-centric hotel boasts 250 brightly adorned adventure, kingdom, and pirate themed rooms complete with surprise LEGO gifts, plus separate TV viewing and bunk bed-sleeping areas for wee ones.  The resort stacks on more fun with interactive LEGO play areas scattered throughout the property and a heated swimming pool tailored to entertain youngsters.

Conveniently located within the LEGOLAND California theme-park compound, the resort sits just outside the amusement park gates.  Resort guests receive park-related perks like early admittance, plus access to select LEGOLAND rides and attractions before general admission begins.  When your brood is ready to refuel head to Bricks Family Restaurant for a wide array of buffet-style cuisine geared to please picky palates.  From the hotel’s disco-themed elevators (complete with tunes and mirror ball) to the 32-foot pirate’s ship where children can raise the flag to the boom of simulated cannons, the new lodgings and the well-established theme park have everything families need to build a great LEGOLAND vacation.

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Embraced by the Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in the charming seaside village of Del Mar, The Grand Del Mar is a luxurious Mediterranean-inspired resort and the recipient of the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide’s Five Star rating.  Not only did the resort win this hard-to-earn title for amazing quality and service but so too did The Spa and The Grand’s fine-dining venue, Addison.

Visitors who indulge in a stay at The Grand can expect world-class accommodations seamlessly entwined with top-notch amenities.  Lodging at the resort ranges from well-appointed guestrooms to generous suites and palatial villas overlooking serene landscapes such as the canyon preserve, the adults-only pool or the rolling fairways of the Tom Fazio-designed golf course.  

Guests who spend time at the Spa will delight in the comprehensive menu of services.  Highlights include treatments such as hot stone massage, herbal salt scrub or the Renaissance ritual which features a warm body wrap of aromatic oils and mineral-rich mud followed by a rosemary-infused Swiss shower and gentle touch therapy calibrated to relieve sore joints and muscles for thorough relaxation.

Dining at The Grand is another sublime experience.  Discover culinary bliss at Addison, the resort’s signature Five Star, Five Diamond dinner restaurant.  Other options include Amaya, a posh Tuscan-inspired eatery serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and a sumptuous Sunday brunch.  Both venues boast amazing menus and extensive wine lists.  For more casual fare guests can visit the gourmet café Cent’ Anni or relax al fresco while enjoying sips and nibbles from Poolside at the Grand Del Mar’s main pool. 

Other diversions include guided tours of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve on foot or via horseback, complimentary fitness classes and gratis Grand Beach Service, which includes round-trip transportation to Del Mar's 18th Street Beach.  Setup comes complete with umbrella, beach chairs, towels and bottled water.

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