San Diego’s Hotel Solamar
I have been on vacation in San Diego on a few occasions and I’ve always stayed in different hotels. I’ve never had a bad experience. I have, however, had one outstanding experience. It was when I stayed on Hotel Solamar in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter last April for my birthday. This is a boutique hotel, one of the luxury Kimpton boutique hotels, in fact. And I have to confess that I loved everything about my stay.
I indulged a bit and booked a room with a Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. It’s well worth it. The tub is a deep soaking tub with strong water jets. The bathroom also has a glass-encased shower with terrific hot water pressure. The soap and shampoos are not given to you in tiny little travel-sized doses. Instead, they are poured into pretty dispensers in the bathroom allowing you liberal use. And they aren’t cheap; they’re nice pretty-smelling soaps. After a bath or shower you get to slip into a complimentary super-comfortable bathrobe.
The rest of the room at Hotel Solamar was also indulgent. I didn’t get a super fancy room or anything like that. It’s just a large room with two big beds, a big TV and a cozy couch. The blankets were comfy. The temperatures in the room were easy to adjust. In other words, it’s not that this hotel has some major distinctive quality about the rooms but rather that every little detailed is attended to so that the entire experience is comfortable. Of course there’s a pricey mini bar and snacks as there would be in any nice hotel and I’m pretty sure that there’s room service although I didn’t use it.
The main reason that I didn’t use room service was because I enjoyed the ambience and indulgence of the restaurant located on the lobby floor of the hotel. The room that I got came along with a complimentary breakfast. This was no continental breakfast either. The free meal each day included a huge bowl of fresh fruit, my choice of scrumptious freshly made morning pastries, wonderful coffee and fresh juice. For just $5 I was allowed to add any single entrée from the restaurant’s menu. My sister and I took this trip together so every day we added a different entrée in an effort to try them all. There was so much food that we never finished them but they were all yummy.
One of the nicest little treats about this hotel was the complimentary wine hour in the evenings. Every single evening, people from the hotel gathered together in the hotel’s living room area adjacent to the lobby. This area had a wonderful fireplace that I loved to sit by. There are a few different seating options including deep couches and modern tables. The area is lit by chandeliers and candles. It’s romantic and totally made me feel spoiled. You are given your choice of red wine or white with the different varieties of each varying daily. The wine is served in real wine glasses, of course. A little bit of finger food is also available although the limited quantities do mean you have to get there early to get your hands on it. The wine is free which is obviously nice. What’s even nicer is the community feeling of having everyone traipse down to the living room area at the same time each evening. Whether or not you choose to talk to other guests while you’re there, there’s just something pleasant about this gathering.
If the wine hour isn’t enough and you don’t want to waste the evening in the hotel’s restaurant then you can head to the bar outside. This hotel has a rooftop pool with an adjacent rooftop bar. The water in the pool is heated and comfortable although it’s a bit disappointing that there is no Jacuzzi spa here. There is, however, comfortable warm seating all around the rooftop. This is a fourth floor roof (although the hotel itself does go up higher than that). It provides a view of a bit of the city down below. When we were there a live music event was happening nearby and we could see and hear all of it from the rooftop if we wanted to. I have a feeling that this must be common in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter because it happened to me when I was o the rooftop of another hotel in the area during a different visit.
For those who don’t know, the Gaslamp Quarter is the historic area of San Diego. The several blocks here are dotted with dining options, shopping, entertainment and hotels. There are a few theaters with live performances close to Hotel Solamar although we didn’t get the chance to check any of them out. We did browse through various shops, listen to some music while eating cheap spaghetti at a local bar and look at historic cars in an old car museum located close to the hotel. Hotel Solamar is also located within close walking distance to the touristy village shops along the water. We did walk over there where we ate ice cream, looked at souvenirs we didn’t bother buying and saw a sword swallower in action.
Although it didn’t affect us either way, this hotel is located close to the convention center, which would certainly make it appealing to San Diego visitors attending events that are happening there. Also of note is the fact that we found the hotel to be within really close driving distance of all of the different things that we wanted to do in the city such as going to Balboa Park. Unfortunately this is a busy area of town with little parking so there is an extra fee to park near the hotel. The hotel has a valet service that I didn’t use because I opted for a slightly cheaper garage down the street. Also worth noting is the fact that this is a pet-friendly hotel although I didn’t take a pet with me so I can’t vouch for the services related to that amenity.