Planning a trip to San Diego? Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, I have the inside scoop on the most charming and comfortable boutique hotels San Diego County has to offer.

I also have special relationships with some on this list where I can add value-added benefits to your stay at no extra cost to you.

Note from Katie: I mention hotel booking resources I know offer the best prices via membership programs or ones that are popular with readers. Check with the hotel for updated safety measures, travel restrictions, and a list of any modified amenities. If you book through links on this page, I may earn a small commission.

What Is a Boutique Hotel?

A boutique hotel is smaller in overall size than a standard hotel. Most boutique hotels have 200 rooms or fewer, which results in a more intimate atmosphere. You’ll also find differences in customized experiences and guest services from one boutique hotel to the next.

Travelers who value exceptional customer service and enjoy being catered to find that boutique hotels are more likely to deliver the standard of care they desire.

Top Boutique Hotels in San Diego

San Diego has a wide variety of boutique hotels from which you can choose. Most are located near the airport in downtown, while some are scattered along the beaches.

I have an insider’s perspective regarding which hotels deserve to be included in the list of best boutique hotels San Diego has to offer. Here my favorites.

Pendry San Diego

Location: Downtown San Diego

Plush lounge chairs by the pool at Pendry San Diego, one of our favorite boutique hotels.
Photo courtesy of Pendry San Diego

Pendry San Diego is one of my top picks for downtown San Diego hotels. You’ll find that the staff delivers impeccable service (and I can vouch for their expeditious service behind-the-scenes as well), excellent dining options, and luxurious rooms with enormous glass showers. Guests also receive priority entrance to the onsite Oxford Social Club.

The hotel features a gorgeous, large pool, an impressive fitness center, and a full-service spa. Petco Park and the San Diego Bay are located just a couple of streets away.

Free high-speed internet is available for guests, and pets are allowed. It’s also one of my kid-friendly hotels in San Diego picks for downtown as they have been great about securing connecting rooms for Virtuoso guests.

The best way to book in is as a Virtuoso guest which you can do through me.

*The desktop version of is where you’ll search rates and book online. To enable the desktop version from a mobile device, after clicking on a Virtuoso hotel link, scroll down to the navy blue section at the bottom of the web page and click “Full Site.”

Virtuoso amenities include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Breakfast credit at Provisional Restaurant or In-Room Dining for two guests per bedroom daily ($30 maximum per person, per day)
  • $100 USD Resort/Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Andaz San Diego

Location: Downtown San Diego

A king room with coastal grey colors, view of downtown and a pop of turquoise around the bed at Andaz San Diego.
Photo courtesy of Andaz San Diego

Make the most of your time in America’s Finest City by checking in to the Andaz San Diego. Located within the attractive and historic Gaslamp Quarter, this hotel features stylish, fully updated bedrooms and bathrooms. Book an Andaz Cabana, Star, Sweet or Andaz Suite and you’ll enjoy a large yet intimate seating area with a flatscreen television and big windows.

A long and narrow rooftop pool gives you impressive, panoramic views of the city around you. When you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to the sophisticated Rooftop by STK restaurant that features breathtaking views and an upscale-casual dress code. The hotel’s ground-level restaurant, STK, is a renowned steakhouse that offers mouthwatering menu options such as tender bone-in filets, crispy calamari, and beef tartare.

The good news is that through me you have access to Hyatt Prive benefits at Andaz San Diego at no extra cost to you.

Hyatt Prive benefits:

  • $75 USD Property Credit
  • Room Upgrade*
  • Breakfast for Two
  • Welcome Amenity
  • Guest Welcome Letter
  • Early Check-In*
  • Connecting Rooms*
  • Free Wifi

* Subject to forecasted occupancy

The Guild Hotel, San Diego, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

Location: Downtown San Diego

A king room with white walls and industrial fixtures and a turquoise curtain providing a splash of warm color at The Guild Hotel San Diego.
Photo courtesy of The Guild Hotel

If you’re looking for cool hotels in San Diego, The Guild Hotel, San Diego, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel should make it on your list. From the ornate, highly decorated entryway to the refreshing and simplistic design of the interior guest rooms, this hotel induces feelings of nostalgia for a time gone by. There are various dining options on-site, including Mediterranean cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients.

Bicycle rentals are available here and allow you to explore the city up close. Valet parking is also available, as well as conference facilities (the San Diego Convention Center is also nearby). Free high-speed internet is a staple in each guest room.

I can add Marriott Luminous benefits to your stay.

Marriott Luminous benefits:

  • Chef’s charcuterie welcome amenity
  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  • Complimentary daily Wi-Fi
  • Early check-in/late check-out (subject to availability)
  • Priority for a complimentary upgrade at check-in (subject to availability)
  • VIP status

Hotel Republic San Diego

Location: Downtown San Diego

Coastal contemporary king room decorated in gray, whites, and blues at Hotel Republic San Diego.
Photo courtesy of Hotel Republic San Diego

Hotel Republic San Diego is a highly-rated boutique hotel with thoughtful amenities and large guest rooms. An air of relaxed sophistication dominates this popular traveler’s destination. A topside terrace kitchen and bar is easily accessible and exposes you to the temperate weather and vibrant energy of the city. Choose from a city view, corner executive, or presidential suite. Club floors are also available to those with keyed access.

Located just minutes from East Village, the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and the San Diego International Airport, this hotel places you in the middle of all the action. Want to bring a furry companion along with you? Book the Pups & Paws Package and hotel staff will treat your pet like royalty.

Marriott Luminous benefits:

  • Chef-selected Farmer’s Market amenity
  • Complimentary breakfast for two in the Veranda Club Lounge
  • Early check-in/late check-out (subject to availability)
  • Priority for a complimentary upgrade at check-in (subject to availability)
  • VIP Status

Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego

Location: Downtown San Diego

White lounge chairs with orange and blue pillows line the Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego pool.
(Photo courtesy of Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego)

From the moment you drive up to the Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego, you’ll immediately perceive that this is a hip, high-energy hotel. The distinct, urban chic design that invites you to kick back and relax. 

All rooms feature comfortable beds with trendy bedding. The bathrooms in both suites and non-suites include over-sized tubs that make it easy to soak away traveler’s aches and pains. Head to the rooftop pool and lounge area to bronze your skin or hang out with fellow travelers.

Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego makes the list of top cool hotels in San Diego because it is also one of the best San Diego pet-friendly hotels with no pet size or weight limit.

Join IHG Rewards and book the discounted member rate.

TOWER23 Hotel

Location: Pacific Beach

View from the ocean of the exterior of Tower23, a Pacific Beach boutique hotel.

TOWER23 Hotel derives its name from a nearby lifeguard tower and is the nicest hotel on Pacific Beach. One can ride one of their cruiser bikes down to Mission Beach and Belmont Park or even to the casual boutiques and bars dotting the nearby streets.

Book an upper “Surf Pad” room on the west side of the hotel and you’ll be privy to stunning ocean views. In the mood for cocktails and lunch by the sand? Stop by TOWER23 Hotel’s JRDN Restaurant, which is popular for both tourists and locals.

Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas, in guest rooms, and in one of the meeting rooms. Free laptop-compatible safes and newspapers are also available. The hotel doesn’t have a pool but it is popular for getaways with friends and couples.

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1906 Lodge Coronado

Location: Coronado

A table overlooking the serene courtyard at 1906 Lodge Coronado, one of the best San Diego boutique hotels.
Photo courtesy of 1906 Lodge Coronado

Craving a quiet and romantic luxury hotel setting? You can’t go wrong with the 1906 Lodge. Located just minutes from Coronado Beach, Orange Avenue shops, and a variety of top-rated restaurants, this historic hotel puts you in the center of it all. It’s also one of our top picks for best Coronado Island hotels.

The 17 comfortable guest rooms are each individually furnished so that no two are the same. We like the Grand King Spa Guestrooms with their huge spa tubs and plenty of space to lounge.

This hotel offers a complimentary breakfast buffet every day, bottomless mimosas, and freshly baked cookies every afternoon. Complimentary Wi-Fi access is also available, and guests are invited to borrow umbrellas, bicycles, bags, and beach chairs. I very much like this boutique hotel as a quieter alternative to Hotel del Coronado.

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See also: 20 Best Things to do in Coronado

Hotel Marisol Coronado

Location: Coronado

The Hotel Marisol Coronado is just as beautiful outside as it is inside. The exterior style is Spanish Eclectic and has a light and airy appearance. The interior has been recently updated and all rooms feature color palettes that are simultaneously energizing and relaxing. This hotel has just 15 rooms, which makes it easy for hotel staff to shamelessly dote on you.

Free public parking is available nearby, and a complimentary, buffet-style breakfast is included. Free high-speed internet is also available.

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La Valencia Hotel

Location: La Jolla

The Mediterranean style pool at La Valencia La Jolla flanked by palm trees.
Photo courtesy of La Valencia

Old-world luxury describes La Valencia Hotel perfectly. The coastal suites and villas are both spacious and cozy. Choose from ocean, garden, or Village views, and enjoy the coveted location within walking distance of the water. The hotel also has a spa tub, outdoor pool, and fitness center.

La Valencia is located in the heart of downtown La Jolla, just across the street from La Jolla Cove, and is surrounded by shopping opportunities and restaurants. The hotel has two on-site restaurants that serve delicious California-American and Modern European food and offer dreamy views of the ocean.

My two favorite rooms are the Classic King Ocean and Villa King Ocean. The villas are quieter and closer to the ocean. La Valencia Hotel is a member of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts hotel group. You can check direct promotions (they now have an Affirm pay over time option) or prices across top sites.

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Pantai Inn

Location: La Jolla

A comfortable living room with Balinese inspired decor overlooks the ocean at Pantai Inn, a San Diego boutique hotel.
Photo courtesy of Pantai Inn

It’s not difficult to see why Pantai Inn is a popular La Jolla boutique hotel with its unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean. They also are known for taking excellent care of guests and accommodations are decorated in a comfortable Balinese style. The Pantai suites have fully equipped kitchens and large bathrooms with rain showers. Balconies are large and inviting.

Free parking, breakfast (there is no onsite food service outside of breakfast), and high-speed internet are all offered with a stay at Pantai Inn. This hotel is ideal for people who want to stay in a central location that’s within walking distance of top attractions (Children’s Pool Beach is to the left and La Jolla Cove to the right if facing the ocean), including the best La Jolla shopping and restaurants.

No matter where you book, you should check the Pantai Inn website to get a feel for what the accommodations are like. Each one is different and they’re not often named properly on other sites.

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Beach Terrace Inn

Location: Carlsbad

The pool at Beach Terrace Inn overlooks a tranquil beach.
Photo courtesy of Beach Terrace Inn

Family-owned Beach Terrace Inn is the only truly beachfront hotel in Carlsbad. Travelers love the spacious, updated rooms and incredible balcony views of the ocean.

When Beach Terrace Inn was originally constructed in the 1960s, it was an apartment building. This explains why the rooms are generously-sized and accommodating. Choose from ocean- or courtyard-facing rooms and spend time blissfully soaking up the sun on the private beach.

Beach valet and towel services are available, as well as Wi-Fi, free parking, and a stunning pool.

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Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton

Location: Downtown San Diego (Little Italy)

The rooftop lounge at Carte Hotel with its huge TV screen and view of surrounding buildings.
Photo courtesy of Carte Hotel

The new Carte Hotel is an ideal choice for those looking for chic accommodations that are walkable to the waterfront and Little Italy restaurants in just a few blocks. Modern rooms boast incredible, floor-to-ceiling windows and we love the water refill stations on every floor.

The lovely rooftop terrace (part open-air and part covered by a copper rooftop), Above Ash Social, offers comfortable seating and a large screen to showcase sports and must-see broadcasts in addition to craft cocktails and San Diego inspired cuisine.

The Carte Hotel is unique because it’s integrated with a 28,000-square-foot upscale, full-service fitness club. Complimentary Wi-Fi is also included in each room, as well as a 55-inch flat-screen HDTV. I can tell you that the sea-to-table food at Watercolors, the full-service Carte Hotel restaurant, is excellent especially when paired with soothing live music and a craft cocktail.

Grande Colonial Hotel

Location: La Jolla

The cheery blue and yellow modern European decor inside of a Grand Colonial king room.
Photo courtesy of Grand Colonial

The Grande Colonial Hotel is a modernized historic building that’s situated on Prospect Street in the heart of the La Jolla Village. The hotel has elegant newly-renovated rooms with goose-down bedding, flat-screen TVs, and contemporary European-inspired decor.

World-class shopping, entertainment, and dining are all within walking distance. This boutique hotel is home to one of my favorite La Jolla restaurants, NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar, with its farm-to-table menu options (order the half-baked chocolate cake) and award-winning wine cellar.

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See also: La Jolla Travel Guide

The Pearl Hotel San Diego

Location: Point Loma

Exterior of The Pearl Hotel San Diego
The Pearl Hotel (Josh Cho Photography – Pearl Hotel)

The Pearl Hotel San Diego is a little piece of paradise. This mid-century modern hotel features a charming, oyster-shaped pool and a top-rated restaurant called Charles + Dinorah.

With just 23 guest rooms, this hotel provides a very comfortable and intimate experience. All the rooms overlook the pool and have modern styling. From the cozy studio room to the large grand suite, all rooms have an urban, contemporary vibe.

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Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

Location: Downtown San Diego

Interior of a Ballpark Suite overlooking PETCO Park.

Hotel Indigo is one of the most popular hip hotels San Diego has to offer to energetic travelers. Located in the Gaslamp Quarter, this hotel is both classy and refreshingly modern. The rooms are very spacious and feature huge windows that let in plenty of light. Depending on where your room is located, you may also be treated to a stunning view of Petco Park.

The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, a sizeable business center, and paid parking. There’s also a generous fitness room on-site and an attractive bar and lounge area where you can enjoy an evening cocktail. It’s also pet-friendly.

Horton Grand Hotel

Location: Downtown San Diego

The Horton Grand Hotel is set in a beautiful, 19th-century building that’s remarkably elegant. It’s one of the best boutique hotels in San Diego for travelers who appreciate historic properties. It’s also a popular location for destination weddings, thanks to its intimate courtyard.

The guest rooms feature beautiful, Victorian-style furniture and offer lovely views of the courtyard or San Diego cityscape. All rooms come with a gas burning fireplace to further add to the ambiance of the experience. Free Wi-Fi is available in all guest rooms and breakfast is served each morning for a fee.

The Lafayette Hotel Swim Club & Bungalows

Location: North Park

The famous pool surrounded by lounge chairs at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club and Bungalows in San Diego.
Photo courtesy The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows

Prefer to get away to a celebrity-worthy hotel that features expansive rooms and a gorgeous, pool? The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows offers an experience you won’t soon forget. Built in 1946, the building has an air of glamour, eclectic room decor, and a famous Weissmuller pool.

The hotel offers rooms that open up to the pool along with the Suze Suite with bunk beds to accommodate families who are visiting San Diego with kids. Many star-studded celebrities have stayed in the building over the years, including Bob Hope, Betty Grable, and Ava Gardner.

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The Fin Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Location: Oceanside

Guestroom with contemporary decor (bed with crisp white sheets, orange throw pillows and a grey blanket across the edge) at The Fin Oceanside
Photo courtesy of Visit Oceanside

Located right by the beach, The Fin Hotel is a historic boutique hotel in Oceanside and stands ready for your next adventure. The building’s rich history goes all the way back to the 1920s, but the rooms are all updated with serene, beach-themed decor.

The hotel has plenty of complimentary offers, including free internet, free parking, and free breakfast each morning. Laundry services are also available.

The Fin Hotel is now a Tapestry Collection by Hilton property.

See also: 30 Best Things to Do in Oceanside

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa

Location: Rancho Santa Fe

A gorgeous king room with an outdoor patio fireplace at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is tucked away in the affluent inland community of Rancho Santa Fe. The breathtaking grounds provide the perfect backdrop for photographs, and the Spanish-California architecture invokes romance and relaxation. It’s also a popular wedding destination (I have been to several there) and you can play on an exclusive golf course or two nearby.

Located on 21 acres of highly manicured and beautifully landscaped grounds, this hotel is a great destination if you want to escape busy city life without being too far from it. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the I-5 freeway. Free parking and free high-speed internet are available.

Pacific Terrace Hotel

Location: Pacific Beach

The pool at Pacific Terrace Inn overlooking the ocean.
Photo courtesy of Pacific Terrace Hotel

Pacific Terrace Hotel is one of the popular beach hotels in San Diego. Guests walk down a short set of stairs to the sand and watch epic sunsets from the pool. or ride a bike down the boardwalk. The hotel offers beach chairs, umbrellas, and beach towels to guests as well.

The rooms are updated with comfortable Tommy Bahama style decor to make you feel even more like you’re on holiday. While there isn’t an onsite restaurant, they do offer breakfast and a limited in-room dining menu. However, the bars and casual restaurants of Pacific Beach are just steps away.

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The Sofia Hotel

Location: Downtown San Diego

Like the urban bliss scene? Get ready to fall in love with The Sofia Hotel. The historic building gives off a gothic-revival vibe on the exterior.

Inside, you’re greeted by traditionally styled guest rooms, a high-ceilinged dining area, and a sizeable fitness center.

In-room spa treatments are available to make your stay as convenient and rejuvenating as possible. Free Wi-Fi is available in guest rooms and in the hotel’s business center.

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Hotel Z – San Diego

Location: Downtown San Diego

The bright blue and yellow exterior of Hotel Z – San Diego, one of the most eclectic boutique hotels in San Diego.
Photo courtesy of Hotel Z – San Diego

As soon as you arrive at Hotel Z – San Diego, you’ll see why it’s been dubbed one of the most unique hotels in San Diego. Decked in bright blue and yellow exterior colors and featuring a large glowing pineapple, this hotel is designed to draw attention.

This popular hotel consistently draws a crowd because it offers great value for the money and is in a great location in the Gaslamp Quarter. Travelers also remark about the exceptional service they receive when they stay here.

Valet parking is available for a fee and pets are admissible in rooms also for a small additional nightly fee. Other amenities include free public internet access, 24-hour front desk services, cable/satellite TV, and free local telephone calls. A dry-cleaning service is also available.

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Many of the hotels on this list have received accolades for their exceptional amenities and world-class service. Your biggest challenge now is deciding which one to book for your upcoming stay.

More San Diego Hotels

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