A glimpse at San Diego boutique hotels

San Diego has always done things differently. The city began with a rough edge that has smoothed over the past hundred years to new sophistication. Today award-winning chefs, film makers and the brew scene blossom.  The new cool is reflected in a collection of small hotels catering to the hipster as well as the historian. Here’s a few San Diego boutique hotels that I’ve discovered over the years and love for their ambiance as well as craft cocktails, music and movie events.

Lafayette Hotel, San Diego Boutique Hotels, Trip Wellness

The entrance to the Lafayette in full holiday garb.

What lured Bob Hope away from Hollywood?

Set in North Park, the tall columns on the Lafayette Hotel’s driveway dwarf the surrounding restaurants and storefronts. Glamour infuses the block wide building. Step inside the renovated hotel lobby with its grand piano and umbrella adorned ceiling, the mural detailing stars and celebrations past and you feel elevated out of the ordinary. Beyond the entrance, the Swim Club with its Olympic size pool is the centerpiece of the courtyard ringed by rooms and bungalows. The restaurant and bar sit adjacent to the lobby and downstairs, if you’re lucky enough to attend a party or concert, is the ballroom with its clam shell bandstand. The rooms are small but state of the art.

Bob Hope was one of the original guests. Gossip columns of the day tied him to a starlet who always happened to visit when he was there. Today his portrait looks down approvingly on the tile star in the floor commemorating his residency. Johnny Weissmuller, the original Tarzan, consulted on the pool. Note: Lafayette Hotel and Swim Club parking for non-guests is extremely limited but it’s free on-street in the neighborhood.

Pearl Hotel, San Diego Boutique Hotels, Trip Wellness

Dive in movie night at the Pearl Hotel. Photo – Leahtravelista via Trover.com

Ready for a pool party and mid-century style?

Just off the tourist radar, close to Shelter Island and less than two miles from the airport, the Pearl hotel is a budget friendly and hip option for independent minded travelers. The kidney bean shaped pool sparkles beneath a towering movie screen which features  a range of classics, blockbusters, foreign and independent movies from the hotel archive weekly. Guests can mingle with locals coming for the fun, walk down to the marina or cruise to the renovated Liberty Station with its galleries, bars and restaurants. Mid-century touches and casual-Californian cuisine rule in EAT, the restaurant, which is also committed to using pure, sustainable products and serves naturally purified water from nearby Palomar Mountain. A dollar from the sale of each Pearl Hotel labelled bottle goes to Project MIM, a clean water program in Ghana.

Pantai Inn, San Diego boutique hotels, trip wellness

The view across the street from Pantai Inn. Photo courtesy of Pantai.com

Experience Bali without jet lag?

Hidden along the tiny streets near the Scripp’s Park is a Balinese inspired boutique hotel, the Pantai Inn. Several buildings have been joined together by an open space and gardens. A fire pit ringed with comfortable seating waits for guests. The patio is available for breakfast on sunny mornings and there’s an upstairs dining room with a view to the sea. Imported teak furniture and designer touches of bamboo, stone and tile embellish the bathrooms and kitchenettes. Guests fall asleep to the sound of the waves just a block away. The village with four star restaurants and some of the best shopping in the area is just a short walk uphill. Look for luxury touches like appetizers and infused water in the lobby upon arrival and a chocolate enhanced turn down service.

Perhaps you’ll consider these San Diego boutique hotels for your next visit. Their charm and style make me think about planning a stay-cation soon.

This is a sponsored post but the choice of hotels and opinions are completely my own.