This is a guest post by Susan Guillory of The Unexplorer.
I’m lucky enough to live in San Diego, but that means I often don’t get to enjoy the fun touristy side of my fair city. My trick? Pretend I’m from out of town and have a staycation.
Recently I had a Girls’ Night staycation with a good friend. Hotel Solamar, right in the heart of the Gaslamp District, was kind enough to give me a complimentary room in exchange for a review. It was the perfect setting for our mini getaway.
Something for Everyone
We were there for a little R&R, but there were plenty of other needs that both the hotel itself as well as its supreme location suited, from the wedding parties that filled the elevators with dresses and sparkles to die-hard Padres fans in town for a game at Petco Park. The Gaslamp District itself is a hot spot for local 20somethings, though don’t let that scare you away. There are some superb restaurants and bars for every demographic.
Reaping the Benefits of Recent Renovations
Hotel Solamar recently underwent renovations. I’m not sure what it was like before, but the results are fabulous. The lobby is sleekly designed with wood accents and modern lighting. The rooms are just what you’d want to come home to after a long day of sightseeing. The small touches, like the wallpaper and patterned office chair, as well as the mod lamps and headboards, gave the look of luxe without the price tag (prices average about $200 to 300, depending on the season).
The gentleman at the front desk had let us know that there was a social hour in the lobby from 5 until 6 p.m., so we headed down for complimentary beer (there was wine, too, but I’m a beer girl, especially in a city known for its craft brew). There were about a dozen people buzzing about (including parents of little ones who just seemed happy to be able to have a drink while keeping an eye on their kids). It was a nice and unexpected touch.
The fourth floor is where all the action happens at the hotel. There’s a lounge where you can order drinks, as well as a beautiful pool surrounded by cabanas. The fitness center is on this floor, and offers the unexpected: hula hoops! I’ll have to try them on my next visit.
A Worthy Dining Option
As I said, there’s some pretty fantastic food in the Gaslamp, but we went no farther than downstairs for our dinner and then breakfast the next day. JSix, which has both a lounge and a restaurant in Hotel Solamar, was remarkably uncrowded at 7 p.m., a refreshing change from the bars and restaurants in the area that often have wait times of 30 minutes or more.
The menu was diverse, but all we wanted was a charcuterie plate. The server recommended a few fantastic cheeses as well as local meats. Adorned with almonds, Dijon mustard, and local honey from Temecula, the meat and cheese plate was ample for our appetites. We were delighted to be presented with a couple of complimentary appetizers, including scallop sashimi and mussels topped with succulent pork belly. The cocktails, with clever names like Uncle Buck and The Frida Kahlo, were lovingly made with artisanal ice cubes and fresh ingredients.
Stuffed to the gills, we laughed when we returned to our room to find another plate of charcuterie left by a thoughtful staff!
Need to know:
The Hotel Solamar is pet-friendly. There is no charge for a soft mat, food bowl, and treats for your pooch, and he’s even welcome to the social hour.
Valet parking is available for $47 per night, unless you drive a hybrid, and then it’s only $30!
Check in: 4:00 p.m.
Check out: 11 a.m.
Insider tip: If you’re a baseball fan, book ahead to stay at Hotel Solamar. You’ll be a stone’s throw from the park, and you won’t have to deal with the hassle of parking or traffic like everyone else.
If You Go:
Hotel Solamar (877) 230-0300
435 6th Avenue at J Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Article and photography by travel writer Susan Guillory. I received a complimentary stay at Hotel Solamar, however all opinions are my own.