San Diego, California Hotels And Resorts - My Family Travels

Family Travel Forum has the inside scoop on San Diego's best places to stay for beautiful beaches and great kids clubs.

There are perhaps thousands of places to sleep in this popular southern California resort area, but we have chosen our favorites for your next family visit. For more hotel suggestions, maps and other information, contact the San Diego Visitors and Convention Bureau at 619/232-3101 or The Coronado Visitors Bureau at 619/522-7300.

Hotel del Coronado
1500 Orange Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118
800/HOTELDEL or 619/435-6611
$$$$ – $$$$$
Close to the attractions of San Diego, but very far in feel from a modern downtown hotel, is the classic Hotel del Coronado. A turreted, historic, white Victorian architectural gem, she reigns over 33 acres of beach outside the city of San Diego on the Coronado peninsula. Besides the beach and pool, there are lots of ocean-going watersports for hire, tennis courts and some fine restaurants with evening musical entertainment. It’s a unique family experience to stay at a National Historic Landmark which has been the backdrop for several Hollywood movies, including “Some Like It Hot.” Despite its pricey family rates, the Old World style and service prove to be a treat for most kids and their parents. Call for reservations and information on their daytime and evening children’s programs, family fun activities and special holiday day-long programs.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa
1404 W. Vacation Road
San Diego, CA 92109
858/274-4630 or 800/344-2626
$$ – $$$
The recently renovated Paradise Point Resort & Spa, envisioned by Hollywood producer Jack Skirball as a tropical oasis when built in 1962, is located on a 44-acre island in Mission Bay. Highlights at this family favorite are the Indonesian-style lobby, tropical lagoon, five swimming pools, a swim-up pool bar, six tennis courts, its own 1.3-mile-long beach with firepits for s’mores, watersports facilities and the SeaWorld theme park next door. During school vacation periods and over the summer, it offers a Kid’s Kamp for ages 4-12 ($40/half day; $80/full day) featuring aquatic games, arts and crafts, beach bonfires and cooking classes. (Editor’s Note: The Pacific Ocean is too chilly for most kids to swim in during the winter months.) Babysitting is available through recommended bonded services year round. All 462 rooms and suites are single-story bungalows with patios, and some even have small kitchens; 50 units are right on the beach. The signature Noble House Resort’s Spa Terre operates here and the waterfront BALEENsandiego is one of the city’s most popular venues for outdoor dining with a view. Independence Day celebrations feature an all-you-can-eat barbecue and the “Pyrotechnics in Paradise” fireworks show over Mission Bay.

Loew’s Coronado Bay Resort
4000 Coronado Bay Road
Coronado, CA 92118
619/424-4000, 800/815-6397
$$ – $$$
A contemporary choice on the Coronado peninsula, the popular Loew’s has 440 rooms including 37 perfect-for-large-families suites. Accommodations and restaurants share an ocean view and the 15-acre property is well landscaped. Ask about their seasonal poolside movies, when families are encouraged to float along with their popcorn while cinema classics are projected outdoors.

Rancho Bernardo Inn
17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive
San Diego, CA 92128
858/675-8471, 800/675-8500
The beautiful Rancho Bernardo Inn is about 45 minutes north of San Diego within view of the San Pasqual Mountains. A long-time, 287-room family resort used by southern Californians, it features two restaurants, two outdoor pools, 12 tennis courts, bike rentals, family golf tournaments (on site championship course with four others nearby) and clinics for all ages. Seasonally, they have a well staffed kids club program (ages 4-17) with opt-in activities called Kidcations. This program provides kids and parents fun that they can both enjoy like morning yoga, video games, and camping. Babysitting is also easily arranged through the concierge.

Hilton San Diego Resort
1775 E. Mission Bay Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
619/276-4010, 800/774-1500
Spread out over 18 acres of beautiful Mission Bay Park, this resort has enjoyed a 2008 renovation that cast an Asian influence over room decor and public spaces. There’s tennis, great dining, a large swimming pool with a waterfall and a children’s wading pool, a new 7,500-square-foot Essence spa featuring nine treatment rooms, a fitness center, steam rooms, indoor and outdoor meditation areas, and a private sundeck; note the customized children’s menu of My First Massage and Mommy or Daddy & Me massages. During summer, the Kid’s Klub operates off the new pool deck, offering supervised activities for ages 5-12 and nightly Dive-In Movies. The hotel’s Discovery Kids package includes a backpack with a disposable camera and game cards. Babysitting service also available. Other family fun specials include two tickets per night to a variety of area attractions (Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Legoland or Wild Animal Park) plus breakfast for four for every night of stay and free parking.

Four Seasons Resort Aviara
7100 Four Seasons Point
Carlsbad, CA 92011
800/819-5053, 760/603-6800
$$$$ – $$$$$
The contemporary Aviara has an Arnold Palmer golf course, Pacific Ocean views from its bluff-high perch and a sprinkling of that great, pampering service that Four Seasons is rightly known for. Had we not read a rave family review of the Aviara’s facilities and family-friendliness in the New York Times, we might have passed it over because of its senior-focused clientele. But as usual, Four Seasons guests don’t mind if anyone of any age is pampered; even infants are well tolerated at Vivace, the gourmet Italian restaurant (before the prime dinner hour, please.) There’s also a very pretty free-form heated family pool, tennis center, 15,000-square-foot spa with indoor and outdoor private rooms and — for 2007 — a two-room, indoor/outdoor Golfer’s only massage suite. The complimentary Kids for all Season (4-12 years) day program offers arts n’crafts, sports time and other activities to its honored guests year round. Private babysitting is available from an outside vendor through the concierge. Prices are steep but seasonal specials (particularly in summer) may be available through your travel agent or by calling the property directly.

Holiday Inn Mission Bay
3737 Sports Arena Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110
619/881-6100 or 800/383-5430
$ – $$
This posh-looking Holiday Inn is centrally located near to SeaWorld and Mission Bay’s shops, cafes and movie theatres. It has its own heated pool, a game room and a nearby health club for guest use, but the real plus here are the two-room Jr. Suites modeled on the popular Kidsuites designed for this chain’s hotels in Orlando. You can do a mini-splurge (discounts on connecting rooms off season) on two rooms – bedroom and living room with sleeper couch – and get two TVs, three phones, a minifridge, coffeemaker and microwave (Instant breakfast!)

US Grant Hotel
326 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
866/837-4270 or 800/237-5029
Opulence is the Grant Hotel. Originally constructed in 1910 by Ulysses S. Grant Jr. in honor of his father, the 18th President of the United States, the hotel just ended an 18-month closure in order to complete $52 million worth of renovations. With 270 guest rooms and 47 suites, the Grant offers great accommodations. The rooms have marble bathrooms and stone basin sinks, the hallways are lined with original commissioned French Art and the Spa Veila provides guests with in-room treatments. Might be little too fancy for kids, but it might be worth it to indulge yourself for a few nights.

The Hard Rock Hotel
207 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
866/751-ROCK (7625)
Trend-setting style defines the Hard Rock. Located in the historic downtown Gaslamp Quarter, the 12-story hotel features 420 rooms and suites. The hotel houses signature restaurant NOBU, an ultra lounge and sky bar by Rande Gerber, a world-class spa and fitness center, state-of-the-art screening room, landscaped outdoor pool deck with private cabanas, a 7,000-square-foot music venue and retail boutiques. The rooms range from studios to Rock Star Suites, all with a hip, electric vibe featuring “floating” cantilevered furniture, state-of-the-art lighting, home theatre entertainment centers featuring LCD televisions, CD/DVD and iPod connections, a martini bar, halo-illuminated beds, sensually styled bathrooms with ceiling-mounted rain showers and Wi-Fi Internet access. Probably not ideal for younger children, however, older kids and teens would love the Rock Star suites and technologically savvy Hard Rock.

Bargain Hotels

500 West
500 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
This European-style hybrid hotel houses 260 beautifully furnished rooms with rates starting at $49/N. Originally opened in 1924, 500 West underwent renovations in 2003 and is in walking distance to the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and the San Diego Bay. Complimentary breakfast and wireless Internet service is also offered for all guests.

Hotel Occidental
410 Elm Street
San Diego, CA 92101
800/205-9897 or 619/232-1336
A smaller hotel with only 54 European-style rooms and located near Balboa Park, the Hotel Occidental has rates starting at $49/N. Rooms are available with or without private bathroom, however, all guest rooms are equipped with private kitchenettes with a sink, refrigerator and microwave. Flat screen TVs and DVD players, free local phone calls, wireless internet and a free DVD movie library are some of the perks offered to guests.

El Primero Boutique Hotel
416 Third Avenue
San Diego, CA 91910
Located in San Diego’s South Bay area in the heart of Chula Vista, the El Primero is a cozy and charming Bed and Breakfast. With only 20 rooms, starting around $100/N, this small hotel offers a complimentary gourmet breakfast in the courtyard and only a few steps away from restaurants, shops and recreational parks.

Campland on the Bay
2211 Pacific Beach Dr.
San Diego, CA92109
A cheap alternative, the Campland campgrounds offer guests a delightful stay on the shores of Mission Beach, so close to Sea World that you can watch the fireworks display from the site. The camp also overlooks the Kendall Frost Wildlife Reserve, enjoyable for nature enthusiasts in the family. With laundry facilities, a swimming pool and jacuzzi, bike and watercraft rentals, bathrooms and showers, restaurants and wifi access this is a great campsite for families. Campland has also adopted green initiatives including an investment in water saving showerheads, and recycle bins. They also encourage employees to bike across the park rather than use company vehicles to make their rounds.


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