New Hotel Options Abound in San Diego

San Diego is in the midst of a robust and diverse hotel building boom, encompassing properties that run the gamut from hip boutiques to full-scale destination resorts.

Some of these new hotels opened earlier this year, while others are in various stages of development throughout San Diego County, from the downtown convention center area to the northern coastal and inland regions.

This is happening at a time when San Diego is experiencing a healthy rebound in hotel occupancies, with percentages averaging in the mid-70s over the past year. A recent report from hospitality research firm PKF Consulting concluded, "Not only is San Diego the strongest hotel market in Southern California, it is currently one of the strongest hotel markets in the country."

The furthest along of three upcoming resort properties is the Grand Del Mar Resort & Spa, which is under construction on a 380-acre site in the coastal community of Del Mar a few miles north of downtown San Diego near La Jolla. The resort, which will be independently operated, is owned by San Diego-based developer Doug Manchester, owner and developer of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego and the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina.

Scheduled for completion in January 2007, the 261-room luxury resort will be located along the fairways of an 18-hole, Tom Fazio-designed golf course and will feature a Mediterranean-style design with patios and both indoor and outdoor fireplaces. Function space will total 20,000 square feet, including a 10,000-square-foot ballroom and a private chapel.

Other amenities will include a full-service spa with 12 treatment rooms, lap and plunge pools, a beauty salon, saunas, hydrotherapy rooms, yoga and aerobics studios, an outdoor relaxation area and a fitness center. The resort also will offer four outdoor swimming pools and tennis courts. The adjacent Grand Golf Club, which will be available to hotel guests but not open to the public, will include a clubhouse with dining and meeting facilities.

According to director of sales and marketing Rob Stirling, the resort primarily will target high-end incentive meetings, and will accommodate groups requiring up to 225 rooms.

"We're currently pursuing leads from pharmaceutical and insurance groups for 2007 and 2008," he said. "The resort is opening at a very good time."

Near The Pier

In nearby Oceanside, developers S.D. Malkin and Interstate Hotels recently were selected by city officials to build a 302-room Westin resort across from the historical Oceanside Pier that will be part of an eight-block, mixed-used development. Construction on the beachfront resort is scheduled to begin in 2007 and reach completion in 2009. Amenities at the Westin will include a full-service spa, two restaurants and 25,000 square feet of meeting space consisting of a 10,000-square-foot ballroom, a junior ballroom, breakout meeting rooms and ocean-view function and pre-function spaces.

Another development slated for northern San Diego County is a $300 million Hard Rock-themed casino resort, a joint venture between the Pauma Band of Mission Indians and the parent company of Las Vegas's Hard Rock Hotel. Plans call for a 300-room hotel with a casino, spa, function areas, restaurants and a concert hall. Pending approval, developers hope to break ground on the property early next year.

Meanwhile, the area of downtown San Diego near the convention center and the Petco Park baseball facility has seen the opening of two hotels this year. The city's first Kimpton Hotel, the 235-room Hotel Solamar, opened in April with contemporary-style guestrooms offering flat-screen TVs with DVD players, oversized desks with ergonomic chairs and both wired and wireless Internet access. The hotel also includes 9,000 square feet of meeting space and a rooftop pool deck with 3,800 square feet of function space overlooking downtown San Diego.

According to director of sales and marketing Jerry Parent, meetings comprise nearly 60 percent of overall business at the Hotel Solamar, including both in-house meetings and city-wides.

More Lodging Options

The other new downtown hotel is the 306-room Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. The 22-story property features seven meeting rooms totaling 8,375 square feet, an on-site restaurant and a rooftop bar with panoramic views. The guestrooms are appointed with luxury bedding, wireless Internet access, laptop safes and flat-screen TVs.

Recently opened in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego, Tower 23 offers 44 suites, many with private patios or balconies overlooking the ocean. The luxury hotel offers a fine-dining restaurant and function spaces that include a private banquet room and outdoor patio area, both seating up to 50 people.

Contact Maria Lenhart at