With miles of beaches, picturesque palm trees, and historic parks, San Diego is arguably one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the US. The city is home to a vibrant downtown, hidden hamlets, and dozens of laidback coastal villages. With 31 gorgeous beaches and mild weather throughout the year, it’s no wonder why people flock to San Diego to surf, sunbathe, and frolic in the Pacific Ocean.
From Oceanside in the north to Ocean Beach in the south, San Diego is very popular for anyone looking to have an epic beach vacation. You can spot seals at the stunning La Jolla Cove Beach, go surfing with locals at party-centric Pacific Beach, or build sandcastles with your kids at the family-friendly Coronado Beach. The options are endless!
If you’re looking for a culture fix, downtown San Diego has something for everyone. Most visitors flock here to see a Padres game at Petco Park, dine at one of the excellent restaurants, or dance the night away at one of the area’s many nightlife venues. It is also home to the San Diego Convention Center, making it a popular spot for business travelers.
With so many kid-friendly activities, San Diego is also a great destination for families. You can go on a safari at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, ride a thrilling rollercoaster at LEGOLAND, or learn about science at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
San Diego also has some truly stunning boutique hotels, charming B&Bs, and luxury retreats. So many, in fact, that you might have a hard time choosing the perfect one. So we’ve created a list of the 12 best hotels in San Diego to help you plan your perfect getaway!
Don’t forget to check out our web story: 12 Cool Boutique Hotels in San Diego, California
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Where to Stay in San Diego
San Diego is a sprawling city and there are a variety of different places to stay. Most of the best hotels in San Diego are located in the historic Gaslamp District in downtown San Diego. If you choose to stay here, the majority of downtown’s main attractions are easily reached on foot or by bicycle. Plus, all of the area’s best bars and restaurants are nearby.
Downtown San Diego is also conveniently located near popular tourist destinations such as the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, and the USS Midway Museum. Not only is the idyllic Coronado Island a short drive or ferry ride away, but the popular beaches of Pacific Beach and La Jolla are less than 20 minutes from downtown.
If you’re looking to take a relaxing beach vacation, you’ll have a range of beaches to choose from. La Jolla, Pacific Beach, and Coronado top the list of the best places to stay in San Diego. Whether you choose to stay downtown or near one of the city’s stretches of sand, there are tons of luxurious retreats and boutique hotels in San Diego.
The 12 Best Hotels in San Diego, California
With its quirky marine life theme, vivid light installations, and hip Insta-worthy lounges, the Moxy is one of the most unique boutique hotels in San Diego.
With a 24-hour bar and an ultra-mysterious speakeasy, this is the perfect pick if you’re looking to let loose during your trip to San Diego. To get you into the Moxy spirit, the staff even serves you a deluxe signature cocktail when you arrive!
Moxy opened its doors in 2018, so everything is relatively new. All rooms have plush beds, 42-inch flat-screens, luxury bathrooms, and foldable worktables. Upgraded rooms boast extra sitting areas and sweeping city views. You’ll love all of the quirky decorations!
You can easily spend hours wandering around the 8-story hotel and exploring its funky nooks and crannies. From hidden bars to massive murals and vintage arcade games, you never know what you’re going to find. There’s even a fully outfitted gym hidden away in an old shipping container!
Moxy is located right in the heart of the Gaslamp District, so all of the area’s best bars, restaurants, and live music venues are a short stroll away.
Hotel Indigo is by far one of the coolest hotels in San Diego. It’s another awesome option if you want to stay in the lively Gaslamp District. This hip hotel is the perfect pick if you’re looking to live it up on your next vacation.
The ultra-friendly staff will go above and beyond to make sure your stay is nothing less than perfect. Plus, this hotel is pet-friendly in case you’re traveling with your furry friend!
Rooms are adorned with soothing tones, plush beds, and sleek hardwood floors. If you want to splurge, book one of the stylish suites, which feature amazing views of Petco Park, spacious living areas, and spa-like baths.
If you want to keep up with your routine, Hotel Indigo has a top-of-the-line fitness center with a Peloton bike and a 24-hour business center. Or you can just kick back and relax with a cocktail on the rooftop bar. The views of downtown are stunning and the fire pit is perfect for chilly winter nights!
All of downtown San Diego’s famous restaurants, bars, and clubs are just steps away. You’ll appreciate the 24-hour room service after a late night of exploring downtown San Diego’s famous nightlife scene.
La Valencia Hotel – locally known as the Pink Lady – is perched right on the bluffs in the heart of the coastal city of La Jolla. This iconic Mediterranean-style hotel opened its doors in 1926 and has been a destination for Hollywood celebrities ever since. You can choose from a variety of impeccably decorated rooms, suites, and villas that feature ocean, garden, or village views.
For the ultimate relaxation, grab your towel and lounge around the large pool where you can soak up the San Diego sun and watch the palm trees sway in the wind. Or if you want to have a beach day, La Jolla Cove Beach is a 4-minute walk from your hotel room!
With two restaurants, you might never want to leave this relaxing retreat. Enjoy brunch with a view at Ocean View Terrace or have a romantic dinner at Café La Rue. The stunning La Sala Lounge serves up classic cocktails in case you want a nightcap.
If you do manage to tear yourself away from this dreamy hotel, you can easily walk to most of La Jolla’s best boutique shops, art galleries, and snorkeling spots.
4. 1906 Lodge
If you’re looking for a romantic retreat on the idyllic Coronado Island, this historic B&B is the perfect pick. As the name implies, this home was built in 1906 and is just minutes away from Coronado Beach.
The 1906 Lodge boasts 17 homey guest rooms that are all decorated in completely different furniture and decor. Each room features a cozy fireplace, classic furniture, and a modern ensuite. Slip into the plush bathrobe and have a relaxing movie night with the comfy bed and large flat-screen.
You’ll love the complimentary buffet breakfast with its bottomless mimosas! Some of the home-cooked breakfast dishes include their signature Adella Chili Bake, Baked Spinach Florentine, and Mushroom and Three Cheese Strata. The friendly staff also serves up free freshly-baked cookies each afternoon.
You can borrow the hotel’s bikes and beach chairs to explore the island or head to the beach. This quaint B&B is conveniently located on Orange Avenue, close to romantic bistros and wine bars that are perfect for date night!
The Gaslamp District is dotted with some of the best boutique hotels in San Diego and the Pendry Hotel is a top contender. First off, the location can’t be beat. You can catch a baseball game at Petco Park, go bar hopping in the historic Gaslamp area, or go shopping at Horton Plaza.
All rooms and suites are adorned with urban coastal California decor and offer the perfect mix of comfort and luxury. Rooms feature plush king-sized or queen-sized beds, stylish writing desks, and luxurious glass showers. The suites are the epitome of luxury and are definitely worth the splurge.
You’ll love splashing around in the enormous outdoor pool, which is surrounded by plenty of lounge chairs and daybeds. If you want to sip a poolside drink or snack on light bites, head over to The Pool House.
Pendry has a total of six restaurants and bars. You can dine on modern coastal cuisine at Lionfish, grab gourmet takeaway meals at Provisional, order craft cocktails at Fifth & Rose, sample San Diego’s best craft brews at Nason’s Beer Hall, or party the night away at the Oxford Social Club.
Andaz San Diego is yet another gem in the Gaslamp District and you’ll feel pampered from the moment you step foot inside. Not only will you be impressed by the chic lobby, but the ultra-attentive staff will greet you with a complimentary coffee, beer, or wine at check-in.
Each of the hotel’s rooms is modern and stylish and features sleek glass-enclosed baths. But if you really want to go all out on your vacation, book the Star, Sweet, or Cabana suite. Each boasts separate bedrooms and living areas and has unique features including wet bars, sweeping views of the city, and private access to a lavish poolside cabana.
The rooftop pool is the perfect place to while the hours away while taking in unbeatable views of downtown and San Diego Bay. If you feel like dressing up for an upscale alfresco meal, head over to Rooftop by STK for innovative locally-sourced dishes and creative craft cocktails. Andaz is also home to the swanky STK Steakhouse if you want to savor one of the finest steaks in the city.
Or if you’re exhausted after a long day exploring San Diego, you can order a gourmet meal to your room, slip into your bathrobe, and have a relaxing night of Netflix.
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or a romantic retreat, The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is one of the best hotels in San Diego. This historic Spanish-style resort and spa is set on 21 acres of land in north San Diego. This boutique hotel was built in 1923, so expect a combination of rustic charm and modern luxury.
Quaint guestrooms and cottages are scattered around the resort’s flower-filled gardens. The guest rooms feature ultra-comfy beds, luxury linens, and classic furniture. With their wood-burning fireplaces, rustic decor, and private patios, the spacious cottages just ooze charm.
Get pampered at the on-site spa, which offers a variety of holistic treatments inspired by Native American healing methods. The menu features a long list of massages, facials, and scrubs. You can also relax by the pool, go horseback riding on one of the equestrian trails, or go golfing at one of the area’s many golf courses.
For dinner, head over to Morada for seasonal coastal ranch fare, fine wine, and craft cocktails. If you want a nightcap, check out the Huntsman Whiskey Bar where you can enjoy small-batch whiskeys and have a fireside chat. The inn also offers private multi-course meals with wine pairings if you want an intimate dining experience.
The Fin Hotel is nestled in the vibrant city of Oceanside in northern San Diego. This boutique hotel was built in the 1920s but the rooms have been fully remodeled with modern furniture and beach-themed decor. Plus it’s just steps away from all sorts of restaurants, bars, and breweries and a 10-minute walk to the beach and the iconic Oceanside Pier.
Each of the rooms boasts plush king or queen-sized beds, contemporary furniture, and 49-inch smart TVs. You’ll love all the extra amenities including Keurig coffeemakers, mini-fridges, iHome Bluetooth clock radios, and Bath and Body Works “stress relief” spa products.
Begin your day with their complimentary continental breakfast. Or if you want to dine out, the legendary Swami’s Cafe is just down the block. No trip to San Diego is complete without trying one of their breakfast burritos!
After breakfast, go walking or biking along The Strand, which is just four blocks from The Fin. The 1-mile (mostly) pedestrian-friendly road runs right along the beach and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
This picture-perfect mid-century modern hotel is by far one of the most unique boutique hotels in San Diego. One look at this architectural gem and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Palm Springs in the 1960s. There’s a reason The Pearl Hotel was picked as the Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice 2020 Winner!
The hotel has 23 modern rooms and spacious suites, which are all situated around the oyster-shaped pool. All units boast contemporary furniture, vintage pieces, original art, and boho-chic decor.
Grab a pool float and soak up the San Diego sun in the pool. If you want a refreshing drink, the chic poolside bar mixes up excellent cocktails. There are also plenty of outdoor sitting areas where you can read, socialize, or work on your laptop.
In the evenings, you can watch movies at the poolside theater’s giant projector screen. The string lights in the courtyard just add to the romantic ambiance. Don’t miss out on the chance to dine at the hotel’s excellent restaurant, Charles + Dinorah.
The Pearl is located in the heart of Point Loma, so downtown San Diego and Ocean Beach are both just 10 minutes away!
It’s easy to see why Hotel Z is known as one of the most unique hotels in San Diego. The exterior is splashed in a psychedelic yellow, blue, and white mural and a huge neon pineapple logo. You can’t miss it!
Located in the heart of the Gaslamp District, you’ll find endless dining and entertainment options all around you. The friendly staff will point you in the right direction if you don’t know where to start. They even offer free yellow bicycles if you want to cruise around town!
The rooms and suites are perfect for relaxing after a long night on the town. Wrap yourself in the plush robe, get cozy on the comfy bed, and rest up for another action-packed day in America’s Finest City. You’ll love the pineapple-yellow accents, the luxurious ensuite, and the free Tommy Bahama bath products.
Hotel Z is pet-friendly in case you want to bring your pups along for the ride. Don’t be surprised if the dog-loving staff gives your furry friends free treats and gifts!
Located in San Diego’s East Village Gaslamp Quarter, Solamar is nestled among towering high rises, Victorian homes, and old warehouses. It’s the perfect spot if you want to catch a Padres game or meet up with friends at one of downtown San Diego’s popular bars and restaurants.
There are a variety of rooms to choose from, but each one has Insta-worthy features from funky black-and-white tiled ensuites to stylish curved settees and opulent purple bedframes. If you want to go all out, the spacious suites are well worth the splurge.
Head up to the huge rooftop pool where you can lounge around and work on your tan. You can even rent out a private poolside cabana or order cocktails at the rooftop bar, Upper East. There are also plenty of sitting areas and fire pits, so it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset over San Diego each evening.
Before heading out for the night, you can dine at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, Jsix. The restaurant serves up modern American dishes and features an open kitchen and a rotating menu of locally and sustainably sourced ingredients. Dishes are beautifully plated in case you want to post some food pics to your Instagram!
12. Tower 23 Hotel
Perched on a bluff right on Pacific Beach, Tower 23 Hotel is ideal for anyone looking for a fun-filled beach vacation. The beach is literally steps away and Pacific Beach Pier and the boardwalk are just a 2-minute walk. Plus, there are tons of restaurants, beach bars, and funky shops in the neighborhood.
Pacific Beach (or PB as locals refer to it) is known for its surf culture, buzzing nightlife scene, and family-friendly activities, making it one of the most popular beach destinations in San Diego. It’s conveniently located between lovely La Jolla and vibrant downtown San Diego so it’s a great place to base yourself.
Each luxurious room in this sophisticated boutique hotel features ocean views, chic decor, a Serenity mattress, a rain shower, and a balcony or patio. If you want to pay a little extra, you can get a spacious suite with a whirlpool tub and separate bedrooms.
You can chill out on the rooftop lounge and watch the sun sink over the Pacific, warm up around the fire pit, or enjoy a steak or seafood dinner at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, JRDN. There’s a reason their hashtag is #beachsidebliss!
That completes our list of the 12 best San Diego hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in San Diego? Comment below so we can add them to the list!
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