Where to Stay (and Dine) in San Diego This WinterAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
If you’re on the hunt for a sunny California getaway to escape the winter blues, consider San Diego the seasonal cure for what ails you. With an array of new and renovated properties and views for days, this SoCal destination is a must for anyone seeking out rest, relaxation, and plenty of vitamin D. Not to mention the city’s major points of interest — like the San Diego Symphony’s brand new outdoor concert venue, The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, the reopening of the Mingei International Museum at Balboa Park designed by Jennifer Luce and a handful of newly minted Michelin restaurants — there’s something for everyone. Here are four of the top places to book a stay in SD (and one to-die-for dining destination you won’t want to miss during your trip):
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, La Jolla
La Jolla is a truly unique retreat all on its own, and there’s no better place to totally escape than Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. The hacienda-style retreat is situated on 10 acres between San Diego’s seaside villages of La Jolla and Del Mar and boasts 210 deluxe guest rooms and suites, including 10 spacious Estate Suites and a Presidential Suite. The property is a destination for its award winning spa and food and beverage outlets which include the Baja-inspired Mustangs & Burros and the new California-centric Greenfinch. The programming at Estancia is one-of-a-kind too, with everything from #SelfCareSunday events (think: workout, pool, and complimentary cocktails) to their annual events like Boozy Tea Time, featuring cocktails from local distilleries and tasty tea bites. The property also recently added outdoor living art installations featuring local artists.
The Guild Hotel Tribute Portfolio, Downtown Columbia District
Originally created in 1924, The Guild Hotel has since been thoughtfully restored and modernized into a welcoming boutique hotel that opened in 2019. The property is full of stories (many of which are told on placards adorning the walls of the 162 rooms) and the minimalist design is sleek but eye-catching with whimsical touches galore. The bar at the Guild serves up Intelligentsia coffee and local pastries in the morning for guests and is transformed into a hot evening spot where black and white movies are projected and prohibition-inspired craft cocktails are poured.
The Green Room Hotel, Oceanside
Built in the 1940s, The Green Room Hotel just recently underwent a modernization this summer that breathed new life into its walls and transformed it into a bungalow-style boutique hotel. Each room features custom art from local artists, found pieces of mid-century modern furnishings, unique Moroccan rugs, and more. Some units also feature kitchenettes with playful accents like retro-style appliances and private patios with outdoor seating. Elevated amenities include a cedar-style hot tub next to a fire pit and outdoor social area with communal picnic tables for post-surfing socializing and relaxation.
InterContinental Hotel San Diego, Downtown Marina District
Opened in 2018, the luxury waterfront hotel is located in downtown San Diego and offers modern amenities with contemporary coastal decor. Many of the 400 decked out guest rooms (23 of which are suites) include floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping water views. The InterContinental San Diego is also home to two restaurants, the hotel’s signature restaurant Vistal offering Cali-Baja inspired cuisine and its chic rooftop Sardinian inspired restaurant, Garibaldi.
Animae, Downtown Marina District
If you only have one dining splurge on your San Diego bucket list, make it Animae. Designed by Los Angeles-based design firm Bells + Whistles and restaurant Partner Christopher Puffer, the restaurant has been described as “Art Deco Meets Enchanted Forest” and is a definite must-visit. The glamorous vibe is complemented by nuanced, playful elements like Puffer’s childhood collection of Asian robots from the ’70s displayed at the hostess stand and 11 x 7 foot LED-backlit artwork of The Iron Giant, created by overlaying a photograph with a painting. The venue reinterprets the ancient forest of Yakushima island with jewel-toned green velvety custom booths that disappear into the carpet, mimicking a mossy forest floor that stretches the length of the room.
Animae’s 7,600 square foot space blends natural elements with architectural art deco lines: Heavy velvet curtains exposing a gilded dining nook, fringed columns rising from the floor, and custom dim lighting snakes through the room. The 16-person bar features a custom mural and is complemented by surrounding stone tables and large pendants.
And, of course: the food. The world-class steak house features Japan’s finest A5 wagyu beef, complementing an Asian-inspired menu crafted by Executive Chef Tara Monsod who centers the cuisine around the coal-fired oven and Japanese robata grill, utilizing globally sourced ingredients. And don’t sleep on the cocktail list either: one of the top picks is a double melon gin spin on the Last Word, aptly titled the Last Melon.