This city’s unique brand of hospitality blends elegant service, California history, and easygoing luxury. The best hotels in San Diego expertly meld these elements and much more.
The Best Hotels in San Diego
From historic properties to luxury resorts, these are the best hotels in San Diego.
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The Lodge at Torrey Pines
The Lodge at Torrey Pines is one of the very best hotels in San Diego. Its distinctive California craftsman-style architecture creates a lovely warm ambiance, as do its stained-glass lighting, notable artworks, and authentic Tiffany lamps. Service is elegant and professional, and the spacious suites feature Stickley furniture, fireplaces, fine fabrics, and elaborate bathrooms.
Views are gorgeous from every room—they’re either of the famous adjacent golf course, the courtyard, or, best of all, the Pacific Ocean. This AAA Five Diamond resort in La Jolla also has a glorious pool and is right next to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, where you can take in the sunset from cliff-top trails.
Amenities: The Torrey Pines Golf Course, A.R. Valentien restaurant and lounge, the Grill restaurant at the golf club, full-service spa, complimentary five-mile car service, game room with billiards and board games, free Wi-Fi, room service, children’s activities, dry-cleaning and laundry service, business center, concierge service, fitness center, spa, heated outdoor pool with cabanas, hot tub, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, and a croquet lawn.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is very grand indeed. One of the best hotels in San Diego, this Addison Mizner-designed luxury resort has architecture and interiors influenced by Spain, France, and Italy. The Mediterranean theme extends into its 249 spacious guest rooms and suites, which feature large European-style soaking tubs, fine linens, and views of either the golf course or the beautiful Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.
Tucked slightly inland in northern San Diego, this relaxing property is staffed with attentive employees. Guests enjoy fine dining on site at Addison, where Relais & Chateaux chef William Bradley creates inspired Italian cuisine.
Amenities: Marble bathrooms, bathrobes and slippers, several restaurants, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, full-service spa, fitness center, room service, free Wi-Fi, free parking, business center, children’s activities, babysitting service, shuttle bus service, airport transportation, dry-cleaning and laundry service, tennis court, hiking trails, nightlife at Club M, and the Tom Fazio-designed Grand Golf Club.
La Valencia Hotel
La Valencia opened in 1926 and has been a favorite getaway for celebrities ever since. A classic among the many San Diego luxury hotels, the “pink lady” of La Jolla is a glorious European throwback, full of old-fashioned charm and elegance, as well as original art and mosaics. This beachfront resort is a popular wedding spot, thanks to its resplendent views over the bay and easy proximity to downtown La Jolla’s boutiques and restaurants. Service is first-rate, the lovely swimming pool is crystal-clear, and the 115 guest rooms, suites, and villas feature comfort beds, marble bathrooms with soaking tubs, and ocean views.
Amenities: Mediterranean Room seafood restaurant with ocean views, Cafe la Rue bistro and bar, La Sala Lounge with live music, full-service spa, fitness center, pet-friendly policies, 24-hour room service, heated outdoor pool with hot tub, dry-cleaning and laundry service, and free Wi-Fi.
US Grant Hotel
In 1910, Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. commissioned this gorgeous hotel in honor of his father and namesake, the 18th American president. Since then, the historic property has hosted more than a dozen U.S. presidents, which should tell you something about the level of service here (impeccable) and the style (ornate yet crisp). Indeed, this is one of the best hotels in San Diego, with one of the best locations in San Diego—it’s in the lively Gaslamp District, within easy walking distance of great restaurants, active nightlife, unique shops, as well as the Padres’ Petco Park and the convention center, home of Comic Con.
The hotel was treated to a $58 million restoration in 2006, so now the grand art deco-style lobby is modern and stunning, with sparkling crystal chandeliers, hand-loomed silk carpets, and artwork worthy of the many visiting dignitaries. Guest rooms are graced with natural light, high ceilings, and paintings by Yves Clement.
Amenities: Luxury beds, designer sheets, fitness center, spa, concierge service, luggage liaison, business center, room service, dry-cleaning and laundry service, no-smoking policy, 24-hour front desk, and art deco-style Grant Grill and Lounge.
Grande Colonial Hotel
Luxurious Grande Colonial has been one of the best hotels in San Diego since 1913. In stunning La Jolla with magnificent ocean views, it’s close to the village shops, sandy cove, and children’s beach. Its signature yellow, white, and blue theme features throughout, as does marble flooring, and its staffers are amenable to virtually any request.
This lovely boutique hotel is a good option for couples and families—its pretty rooms are extremely comfortable, and larger than you’d expect.
Amenities: Gilchrist & Soames toiletries, goose-down comforters, Eurotop mattresses, in-suite fireplaces, outdoor heated swimming pool, bicycle rentals, in-room spa services, room service, free Wi-Fi, dry-cleaning and laundry service, concierge service, business center, babysitting, and fine dining at Nine-Ten restaurant and bar.
Rancho Bernardo Inn
Rancho Bernardo Inn is a lovely Mediterranean-style resort set a bit inland, in San Diego’s North County. Amid the sunny San Pasqual Mountains, this charming 265-acre resort provides a quiet and peaceful retreat for those looking to be pampered with excellent service and a great spa. The well-kept grounds are dotted with 21 beautiful fountains—you can even take a tour to learn about each one. The inn’s 287 guest rooms are large and homey, with every appointment thought through for guests’ ultimate comfort.
Amenities: Three swimming pools, hot tub, full-service spa, fitness center, two restaurants, 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, biking trails, room service, free Wi-Fi, business center, room service, children’s activities, dry-cleaning and laundry services, and excellent concierge services.
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
If you’re looking for secluded San Diego luxury hotels, the 10-acre Estancia La Jolla should suit you just fine. This serene mission-style resort features stunning gardens, the 7,000-square-foot Spa at Estancia, and 210 cheerful, big-windowed rooms appointed in upscale hacienda style.
This member of the Pacific Hospitality Group’s prestigious Meritage Collection got treated to a $4.8 million enhancement in 2013, and everything still feels fresh and new. Step outside and you’ll be right near the beach—Estancia is on the Torrey Pines mesa, near La Jolla’s coastal cliffs.
Amenities: Turkish linens, balconies, four restaurants and lounges, heated saltwater pool with daybeds and cabanas, hot tub, world-class spa, fitness center, lawn games, botanical tours, pet-friendly policies, room service, free Wi-Fi, dry-cleaning and laundry service, business center, and complimentary shuttle service within a five-mile radius.
Andaz San Diego
San Diego’s Andaz is a hip and modern boutique hotel that personifies urban chicness and excellent service. This color-drenched Hyatt property features murals throughout, and boasts a great location in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter near lively restaurants and nightlife. Its 159 cozy rooms are stocked with free stuff: snacks, a welcome beverage, newspapers, and Wi-Fi. To feel even more pampered, book a lifestyle suite—they’re huge spaces with a private rooftop pool cabana and a mosaic-tiled steam shower.
Amenities: Rooftop STK restaurant and bar, heated rooftop pool with daybeds and draped cabanas, fitness center, pet-friendly policies, excellent concierge service, free Wi-Fi, complimentary wine and beer cocktail hour nightly, online check-in, express checkout, room service, business center, airport transportation, and dry-cleaning and laundry service.
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Defining San Diego’s skyline are these two curved, glassy towers. Within their massive walls are 1,360 luxurious guest accommodations offering breathtaking views of downtown and San Diego Bay. Request a room on the highest floor possible to make the most of this spectacular vantage point over the water.
This is a good place for families, especially because it’s centrally located on the boardwalk, adjacent to the Gaslamp Quarter, and right on the city’s trolley line for fun and easy traveling.
Amenities: Some rooms with balconies, in-room yoga program, heated pool and hot tub with adjacent Tequila Bar & Grill, award-winning Marina Kitchen restaurant with more than 20 sommeliers, fitness center, Hideaway Spa, sauna, in-hotel Starbucks, room service, business center, dry-cleaning and laundry service, and concierge service.
Hard Rock Hotel
The Hard Rock Hotel is the cool kid on the block, and you feel it the moment you walk in. Slick stylings, thumping rock music, and beautiful people surround you, and there’s debaucherous fun to be had all around. The glamour continues in the 420 guest rooms, which are modern and colorful—to live like a bandmate, book one of the 17 Rock Star Suites.
Throughout the hotel, there’s authentic rock ’n’ roll memorabilia, plus a great vibe, flattering service, and nonstop nightlife. This is a great bachelor or bachelorette party spot, and it’s located right at the entrance of the Gaslamp Quarter across from the San Diego Convention Center, just a block from Petco Park.
Amenities: Fine Japanese dining at Nobu restaurant, trendy Bar 207, Float rooftop pool with private cabanas, hot tub, Rock Spa, fitness center, free music downloads, free Electra bike rentals, business center, room service, dry-cleaning and laundry service, concierge service, and the signature Rock Shop.
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—Original reporting by Avital Andrews. Follow her on Twitter @avitalb.