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The 15 Best Hotels in San Diego in 2023

The 15 Best Hotels in San Diego in 2023

We all know that San Diego is a beautiful city with stunning beaches, great weather, and rich history. But did you know that it’s also home to some of the best hotels in the country?

The most popular and well-rated hotels in San Diego tend to have quality amenities, convenient locations, comfortable rooms, and attentive staff.

In this article, we’ll discuss why you would want to go to San Diego and the 15 best hotels you will find there! By the end, you should be all set to start or continue planning your San Diego adventure!

Why You Should Visit San Diego

Gorgeous sunset over the Terry Pine Beach for a piece on the best hotels San Diego

Janson George/Shutterstock

San Diego is a fantastic city to visit for many reasons. First, the weather is amazing. The average temperature in San Diego is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it a great place to visit any time of year.

Second, the city has a rich history. The first people to inhabit the area were part of The La Jolla Complex between 8000 BCE and 1000 CE. Half a century later, in 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became the first European to explore the area.

San Diego was also a major hub during the California Gold Rush in 1848 and was even the site of the first California Mission: San Diego de Alcala. Today, the city is home to many different cultures and is known for its:

  • Beautiful beaches
  • Delicious food
  • Friendly people

There are also many different things to do in San Diego, as well as incredible hotels to stay in each night after an adventurous, explorative, or relaxing day.

Let’s discuss the most well-rated hotels in San Diego for a variety of tastes and budgets.

The 15 Best Hotels in San Diego in 2023

With many different hotel options in this popular destination, we hope that this list of the 15 best hotels in San Diego proves helpful for your travel planning!

1. El Cordova Coronado

  • Location: Coronado
  • Average Price: $250

El Cordova is an iconic, historic hotel that’s been around for over 100 years, originally built as a retirement mansion. If you stay here, you’ll be in one of the most beautiful, old-fashioned hotels in all of California.

The rooms at El Cordova are large and luxurious, and the overall environment has a Spanish hacienda look that’s hard not to fall in love with. Plus, being a 5-minute walk from the beach doesn’t hurt! You’ll also be close to the Coronado Municipal Golf Course.


2. Pendry San Diego

  • Location: Downtown
  • Average Price: $500

Pendry San Diego is a luxury, 5-star hotel in the heart of downtown, close to attractions like the USS Midway Museum and the San Diego Zoo. The rooms at Pendry are beautiful and spacious, with large windows that offer stunning cityscape views. Pendry San Diego also has:

  • An outdoor pool
  • A fitness center
  • A spa

If you’re looking for a luxurious stay in San Diego, you should consider staying at Pendry San Diego, especially if you love relaxing in hotel spas.

However, don’t bank on truly being able to relax by the pool. Since this is a popular hotel, the pool area may get a bit crowded, especially on the weekends.


3. Staypineapple, Hotel Z, Gaslamp San Diego

  • Location: Gaslamp Quarter
  • Average Price: $160

Hotel Z, a Staypineapple hotel, offers a great location in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, close to many popular restaurants and attractions. The 3-star, pet-friendly rooms are modern and sleek, with comfortable beds and plenty of space.

The staff is also amiable and helpful, and the breakfast is delicious!

You can also use the hotel’s bikes free of charge to explore the surrounding area. We recommend strolling through Petco Park and eating at the delicious, farm-fresh restaurant nearby called Rustic Root.


4. Crown City Inn Coronado

  • Location: Coronado Island
  • Average Price: $200

If you’re looking for a beautiful yet casual and comfortable hotel on Coronado Island, look no further than Crown City Inn! This budget inn offers simple rooms with a homey feel, perfect for anyone who wants to unwind and enjoy the stunning beach town views.

You’ll be within walking distance (20 minutes) of Coronado Beach. It’s on popular Orange Avenue and has an on-site restaurant called Crown Bistro that you can eat at for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Plus, you’ll get complimentary access to bikes and beach towels to enjoy your stay even further. Finally, if the homey atmosphere wasn’t enough, guests love the homemade treats in the lobby!

The only potential downside of this highly-rated 2-star hotel is that the walls might not be as thick and soundproof as some of the other options on this list.


5. 1906 Lodge

  • Location: Coronado
  • Average Price: $300

1906 Lodge is a quaint, well-appointed 3-star hotel on Coronado Island with lots of shopping, bars, and restaurants nearby. You’ll only have to walk short to get to the beach, and you’ll be able to come back to your temporary home with:

  •  A fireplace area
  • Free WiFi
  • An excellent breakfast buffet

In addition to the beach, you’ll be located near Spreckels Park, where you can enjoy a picnic with your travel crew, and Lobster West Coronado, a popular seafood restaurant. Finally, guests appreciate the staff at 1906, who seem to hold the perfect combination of friendliness and professionalism.


6. Hotel Marisol Coronado

  • Location: Coronado
  • Average Price: $350

Across the way from Clayton’s Coffee Shop, you’ll find another spectacular hotel in Coronado called Hotel Marisol. Hotel Marisol is a small, relatively quiet, well-reviewed 3-star hotel.

You’ll find lovely bathtubs, a gorgeous courtyard, and a friendly atmosphere throughout this boutique hotel. You’ll also be a stone’s throw away from Coronado beach and have access to 24-hour reception if you need anything else to ensure a more pleasant stay. 

Finally, Hotel Marisol is located steps away from the Coronado state park, which provides an excellent, inviting space for picnics, walks, or much-needed adventure breaks.


7. Hampton Inn & Suites San Diego Airport

  • Location: Liberty Station
  • Average Price: $170

If you appreciate staying near the airport for convenient access in and out of town, then Hampton Inn & Suites is an excellent option.

While the rooms are nothing to write home about, they’re clean and comfortable with all of the necessary amenities – at a fantastic price for the area.

You can also enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast each morning, and the staff is known to be helpful and accommodating. All in all, Hampton Suites provides everything you need for a comfortable, no-issue stay at an excellent value.


8. Pantai Inn

  • Location: La Jolla
  • Average Price: $300

Pantai Inn is a colorful, Indonesian-inspired, 4-star hotel in downtown La Jolla, overlooking La Jolla beach. Pantai is the Indonesian word for “beach”, so it’s appropriate that staying at Pantai Inn gives you convenient access to the beach – just a 1-minute walk from the hotel.

Not only are the rooms decorated with Indonesian art and furnishings, but you’ll also have amenities and appliances that’ll make your stay go smoothly, such as:

  • A fridge
  • A microwave
  • A coffee machine

In addition to the beach, you’ll also be near the Hidden Swing hiking area and La Jolla National Park.


9. Tower23 Hotel

  • Location: Pacific Beach
  • Average Price: $350

Tower23 is a spectacular, well-rated, 4-star hotel located right on Pacific Beach. Since guests are steps away from the beach, simply having to walk down the stairs, it’s nice to know that they’ll provide complimentary beach gear, including:

  • Beach chairs
  • Cruisers
  • Surfboard lockers

Additionally, the rooms at Tower23 hotel have a minimalist, sleek design that appeals to various people, making it a great place to stay if you have a group with varying preferences. As long as everyone enjoys beach activities, you’ll have a grand time here!


10. Springhill Suites by Marriott San Diego Downtown

  • Location: Downtown/Bayfront
  • Average Price: $300

If you want to reside in the heart of downtown, near the San Diego Convention Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and other popular attractions, then Springhill Suites is a great option.

This 4-star hotel has all of the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, including:

  • Delicious complimentary daily breakfast 
  • Free WiFi
  • A fitness center
  • A year-round outdoor pool

The rooms are comfortable and cozy, perfect for relaxing after a long day of exploring the downtown area. Ultimately, at Springhill Suites, you will be able to get everything you want and more from your hotel stay.


11. Marriott Vacation Club Pulse

  • Location: Downtown
  • Average Price: $230

Marriott Vacation Club Pulse is a popular, highly-rated hotel offering modern rooms, comfortable meeting spaces, and easy access to downtown San Diego. You’ll be walking distance from many manor downtown attractions, such as the San Diego Symphony Hall and the Balboa Theater.

Plus, the staff are very attentive, and few people experience any hassles during their stay here. This makes the Vacation Club a popular spot for business travelers looking for a reliable stay.


12. Omni San Diego Hotel

  • Location: Downtown
  • Average Price: $270

Another reliable, well-rated hotel in Downtown San Diego is the Omni. We enjoy Omni due to its perfect location near the Zoo, the PETCO park, and the Gaslamp district with tons of delicious restaurants.

Even in this large hotel, there is a cozy and welcoming atmosphere that guests will appreciate. And speaking of cozy, the rooms are equipped with Terry cloth bathrobes. If you stay here, you’ll likely also enjoy the poolside bar and the onsite restaurant called West Coast Social.


13. Andaz San Diego – a Concept by Hyatt

  • Location: Downtown
  • Average Price: $270

If you like the sound of the Omni mentioned above but would appreciate an even cooler, more chic overall vibe, then check out Andaz San Diego. One of the best aspects of this hotel is the rooftop pool area, where you can order delicious cocktails and enjoy stunning views of the downtown area.

The rooms are spacious, well-designed, and come with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, which is a nice touch for a 5-star hotel.


14. Empress Hotel

  • Location: La Jolla
  • Average Price: $230

This European-styled hotel has a lot of charm, elegance, and convenience at a relatively affordable price. You’ll be about a 10-15 minute walk from the beach and have prime access to major San Diego attractions, such as the Safari Park and SeaWorld.

Plus, there are plenty of delicious seafood restaurants nearby that you can easily walk to right from the property.


15. Old Town Inn

  • Location: Midway
  • Average Price: $150

Old Town Inn is arguably the best 2-star hotel in San Diego. At an affordable price, you can stay within a 10-minute walk from the Old Town area, enjoy a relaxing outdoor pool, and fuel up in the mornings with a quick grab-and-go breakfast.

Old Town Inn also provides 24-hour service and a fun little games room, both of which are not common for 2-star hotels. This Inn is definitely what getting a bang for your buck is all about!


Making the Most of Your San Diego Hotel Stay

Two folks sitting on the grass outside one of the best hotels in San Diego


Want to make the most of your stay in one of the San Diego hotels mentioned above? Here are a few tips:

Getting to the Hotel

If you’re flying into the San Diego International Airport, there are a few ways to get to your hotel. You can choose to take a taxi, which will be the most expensive option. You can also take the shuttle, which is a bit cheaper, or you can rent a car.

If you’re coming from another city in California, the best option is to rent a car and drive. This way, you can make plenty of stops along the way and have the freedom to explore at your own pace.

Getting Around the City

Fortunately for travelers, San Diego is a relatively straightforward city to get around, thanks to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, a.k.a. The Trolley. Using The Trolley, visitors can access over 50 different areas of the city.

Public transportation in San Diego saves costs and helps visitors avoid the worry about traffic when driving their car or taking rideshare. Plus, with public transport, you won’t have to worry about trying to find parking, which can be a hassle in any large metropolitan city, including downtown San Diego.

However, there are many options for car rental if you decide that that’s easier, safer, or more convenient for you and your fellow travelers.

Families with young kids often prefer this option to not have to worry about escorting their kids on and off public transportation at different stops. Parents can also bring more items like car seats, snacks, and toys when they rent a car in San Diego.

Crime and Safety

San Diego is generally a safe city, with a relatively low crime rate, and offenses related to tourists are pretty rare. However, as with any large metropolitan area, there are pockets of crime.

More specifically, Downtown San Diego is generally safe, but you should be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. If you’re staying in a less touristy area, such as La Jolla, you should still be cautious and aware of your surroundings.

Before traveling, it’s always a smart idea to let your loved ones know where you’re going and your expected itinerary. That way, if something does happen, they’ll be able to contact the proper authorities.

Traveler Tips

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your trip to San Diego:

Beat the Heat

If you’re visiting San Diego in the summer, be prepared for the heat! San Diego can get quite hot, so pack light, loose-fitting clothing and sunscreen.

When to Visit

If you want to avoid the San Diego crowds, visiting during the shoulder season (April-May or September-October) is a great idea. If you’re visiting San Diego, specifically the La Jolla area, to see the whales, then visit during the Winter and Spring (Mid-December to Mid-March).

Getting Around

San Diego is a large city, so you’ll want to plan out your days in advance and use public transportation or Uber to get around. 

If you love walking or biking while traveling, you’re in luck! San Diego is a pretty walk- and bike-friendly town. However, make sure you choose a hotel that is nearby or central to the main things you wish to see or do.

Explore Like a Local

If you’re looking for activities to do, there are plenty of museums, parks, and beaches to explore.  A good idea is to search for “attractions” on Google Maps or check out blogs about the best things to do so you can start coming up with a plan. That way, you’ll make the most of your time there.

Frequently Asked Questions

The red trolly outside of one the best hotels in San Diego

Pazut Wutigornsombatkul/Shutterstock

There’s no shame in having questions when you’re planning a trip to San Diego. Hopefully, some of our answers to these frequently asked questions will help you out.

Where do celebrities stay in San Diego?

There are a few hotels in San Diego that celebrities have been known to stay at, such as:

  • The Hotel del Coronado
  • Rancho Valencia Resort
  • The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Of course, celebrities also have private residences in San Diego. But if you’re looking for a place to stay that they’ve been known to frequent, these are a few good options.

Where is the best part of San Diego to stay in?

The best part of San Diego to stay in really depends on your budget and what you’re looking for in a vacation. If you’d love to be in the heart of the action, then staying downtown near the Gaslamp Quarter is a great option.

However, if you’re looking for a beach vacation, staying in La Jolla or Coronado Island will be a better choice for you.

Where is the safest place to stay in San Diego?

There’s not as much need to worry about safety in San Diego as there may be in other large cities in the U.S. However, if you want to stay in the safest areas with the lowest crime rates, Coronado, Shelter Island, or La Jolla will be the best options.

Where should I stay in San Diego for the first time?

If you’re visiting San Diego for the first time, then you may want to consider staying in the Gaslamp Quarter. This is a great option because it’s centrally located and you’ll be close to many of the city’s main attractions.

If you’re looking for a less crowded and more relaxed vacation, staying in La Jolla may be better. But most people stay downtown for their first time in San Diego.

Where do famous people go in San Diego?

If you can’t afford or don’t prefer to stay where famous people stay in terms of accommodation, you might be curious where they go out to eat and drink instead. The top spots for celebrities include ALTITUDE Sky Lounge, San Diego Club Crawl, the Mediterranean Jazz Supper Club, and the Nolan.

So, What’s the Best Hotel in San Diego?

There are a lot of great hotels in San Diego, but the best one for you will depend on your specific needs, style, and preferences. If you want to be in the heart of the action, then staying downtown near the Gaslamp Quarter is a great option, such as at Hotel Z – a Staypineapple hotel.

However, if you’re looking for more of a beach vacation, then staying in La Jolla or Coronado Island will be better options for you, such as at Pantai Inn or Crown City, respectively.

Budget should also play a role in your choice; fortunately, there are a variety of high-quality, highly-rated hotels.

So whether you’re looking for a 2-star or a 5-star, there’s a good option for you. Good luck selecting the best hotel in San Diego for your trip and safe travels!