UPDATED: Is San Diego The Next Soho? 3 Hip Places To Stay In Different Price Ranges

Hip San Diego Hotels

I used to think of San Diego as a typical tourist destination filled with overweight, conservative tourists and families full of unsophisticated people clamoring to go to Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, The racetrack at Del Mar or Legoland.

Albeit, the best weather in the country, I always found San Diego lacking a certain hipness. Sure they had nerdiness (Comic Con) and money (La Jolla, Coronado), golf and water sports, but how about style? Horton Plaza and The Gaslamp Quarter were nothing to write home about. Until now.

With the opening of many new hotels in the past four years, San Diego is fast becoming a showcase for sophisticated modern design.

Here are three wonderful examples:

The least formal and most affordable of the three is Tower 23. With fun 'packages' named Girls' Night, Sex On The Beach, and a spa, you can find plenty to do without spending a fortune.

TOWER23 Hotel is San Diego's only luxury, lifestyle hotel on the beach and one of California's most stylish and contemporary urban resorts. TOWER23 Hotel derives its name from Lifeguard Tower 23 positioned on Pacific Beach in front of the hotel, and creates a cool haven to enjoy one of America's best cities. Neo-Modernist in approach, TOWER23 Hotel is a refreshingly minimalist but playful, creative study for the urban beach resort.

The Spirit Pad:

The Sky Pad:

The Surf pad:

The Sanctuary Suite:

The Sweet Suite:

The exclusive resort community of La Jolla is just north of the hotel, while downtown San Diego, the airport, major business centers and popular area attractions are just minutes away. San Diego's vibrant beach life sets the stage for TOWER23's distinctive architecture and style.
Responding to the site's natural elements - an environment of sun, ocean, sky, and sand at water's edge on Pacific Beach, a Boardwalk alive with energy set against crashing ocean waves ... a lifestyle rich with people at play, architect Graham Downes sought to design a building that would capture this dynamic.

Call: 1.866.TOWER23
Tower 23

The Keating is a statement of our time, combining the highest level of expressive Italian Design with sophisticated and personalized service. The Keating defines a new standard for lifestyle hotels worldwide. In the Pininfarina tradition, the environment is characterized by pure, clean, ergonomic design, where breathtaking form meets function in every possible detail. What remains is the essential, but not the minimal. The use of materials, colors and lighting combine to give a warm welcoming atmosphere to all of our guests. Modern Italian Design is punctuated by the use of historical details. The result is a unique emotional experience - a catalyst for the imagination.

Designed with a cultivated eye for detail, the Keating is Pininfarina’s first hotel creation, a chic hotel with European sex appeal and SOHO style placed perfectly in Southern California. A contemporary interpretation and testament to style and design that is visually striking yet inviting and warm. The Keating sets a new standard for urban lifestyle hotels worldwide.

Our 35 luxurious stanzas (Italian for guestroom) and suites have all of the seductive qualities of custom designed furnishings with vaulted ceilings and up to the minute amenities like Bang & Olufsen’s Beo Vision electronics and Dornbracht fixtures. The rooms are conceived without interior walls to create a new interpretation of space, taking away the traditional division of the warm and wet zones (defined by Pininfarina as the bedroom and bathroom).

Okay, the fact that they call their 'rooms' stanzas, is a bit much...but I'll forgive them that.

Their description of a "Stanza":
Guestroom with 1 California king bed or 2 twin XL beds. Sinful bedding experience includes: goose down duvet, luxurious Italian linens by Frette, goose down pillows and feather bed. Amenities include: Custom designed furnishings by Pininfarina, high speed internet, designer bathrobes by Boca Terry, 10 – 15 foot ceilings, in-room entertainment experience by Bang & Olufsen including: Beovision - 37” HD wall mounted plasma tv, Beosound - radio/cd player, Beocom, – telephone, dvd player, cordless telephone, two-line voice over ip phone, sip & crave selection bar, in-room dining, laundry/valet service.

Even their conference rooms are hip-- a great place for business as well as resort travel.

The Keating
Call: 1.877.7KEATING

And finally, the third, most luxurious and largest of the three, The Andaz Hyatt (Formerly the Ivy Hotel)

Andaz San Diego (Hyatt)
America’s Finest City is about to be revamped with a whole new vibe. Introducing the sophisticated Andaz San Diego, a boldly progressive addition to the city’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. With its sleek style and fresh attitude, this chic new destination flies in the face of typical hotel in downtown San Diego, California.

Have a seat in the Andaz Lounge-part lobby, part living room-where your Andaz Host will perk up check-in with a complimentary welcome beverage. No counters, no stuffy procedures - just a friendly conversation welcoming you to our San Diego hotel in the famed Gaslamp Quarter. The Lounge will help shape the rest of your stay as a place to get coffee, check your email, or sip a few cocktails before heading out to paint the town red.

When it comes to pillow talk, our 159 ultra-modern guestrooms and suites are studies of style and sensuality. Each San Diego hotel room is dressed in rich textures, warm woods, and daring architectural elements, creating high design sanctuaries of cosmopolitan comfort. Luxuriate in the fashionable indulgence of platform beds, glass-enclosed bathrooms and flat screen TVs, details which make Andaz San Diego the most alluring of San Diego hotels.

Some of the various suites:

Business travelers are advised to loosen their ties - meetings and events are anything but buttoned down at our new San Diego hotel near the Convention Center. Need an after-hours break from the boardroom? Choose from 88 wines by the glass at Ivy Wine Bar or step out and experience the city's legendary high-octane nightlife without ever leaving our luxury San Diego hotel property.

On weekends, the temperature climbs even higher as our Ivy Rooftop pool turns into a sultry hotspot, complete with bottle service and premium liquors.

Dance through the night as DJs spin at our iconic four-story Ivy Nightclub.

Andaz San Diego
600 F Street
San Diego, California
TEL: +1 619 849 1234
FAX: +1 619 531 7955

C'mon people, it's only a dollar.