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La Jolla Mom

13 Best Luxury San Diego Hotels

For those who want a luxury holiday

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San Diego luxury hotels are all quite different from each other. This often makes it a tough decision for travelers searching for the one that will best suit their needs. The goal of this post to guide readers toward the best luxury hotels in San Diego for their particular situations. I normally list hotels in order from north to south, but in this case, I think it’s prudent to list my top picks first. 

Some of the luxury hotels I review below are beachfront or are near our beautiful San Diego beaches, others are located downtown or near world-class shopping in La Jolla, and some are more family-friendly than others, but all of the best luxury hotels in San Diego I’ve reviewed are well-appointed and beautiful, with excellent service.

As readers of this site know, I love my luxury hotels and I love helping people find great rates. If there’s a clear way to book that will give you the best value, you’ll find more information and a link in the listing. If not, you’ll find a link to check the best prices across multiple travel sites.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Location: Carmel Valley (East of Del Mar)

Why go: Fairmont Grand Del Mar is considered one of the best luxury hotels in San Diego and is also on TripAdvisor’s top 25 list for best luxury hotel in the nation.

It’s one of only eleven Forbes fifteen-star properties in the world (for the hotel, spa, and Addison restaurant). Addison was also recently awarded a Michelin star, making it San Diego’s only Michelin-starred restaurant.

You may just not want to leave, making it a perfect staycation choice for local couples, families, or singles who need pampering. Decor is Mediterranean-style and the suites, in particular, are beautiful, plentiful, and often surprisingly reasonable for those who need a bit more space. It suits families, business travelers, and couples well. The Signature Terrace rooms are adults-only and surround the adults-only pool.

See also: Detailed Guide to Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Hotel amenities:

  • State-of-the-art supervised Explorers Club with daily scheduled programming or drop-in use for kids ages 5-12 that includes the latest video games, fully-stocked arts and crafts center, traditional games, foosball, ping pong, and more
  • Horseback riding lessons at the onsite Equestrian Center
  • Children’s pool with wading area
  • Family pool with underwater music and sand play area
  • Adults-only pool
  • Haim Salon (manicures, pedicures, hair)
  • Seasonal activities such as s’mores and family movie nights
  • Private Tom Fazio-designed golf course with exclusive access for hotel guests and junior golf programs for kids ages 13–17
  • One of San Diego’s best spas complete with gorgeous lounging areas, couples treatments, and a private pool
  • Addison, a culinary sensation that’s regarded as San Diego’s best restaurant
  • Two pro-style tennis courts complete with instructors and clinics for adults and kids
  • Designer boutiques
  • Guided canyon hikes
  • Bikes for riding along the nearby trails
  • Top-notch service everywhere
  • Seasonal beach butlers to drive guests to the beach and set up chairs/umbrellas

Good to know: This San Diego luxury hotel does not charge for self-parking as it is included in the resort fee of $45/day. A rental car is advisable as the resort is located a bit inland without much to do within walking distance. A central San Diego location with easy access to the I-5 freeway makes it easy to get to attractions like LEGOLAND® to the north and Balboa Park to the south.

Awards: TripAdvisor Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the United States (2019), AAA Four Diamonds, three Forbes five-stars each for Addison, the hotel, and spa.

Reservations: Fairmont Grand Del Mar is a Virtuoso® property which means that we can book you in with the following amenities (keep an eye out for their 3rd-night-free promotion which is valid on certain dates):

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (excluding suites)
  • Daily Continental breakfast for up to two in-room guests, served in Amaya or in-room dining (up to $70 per room, per day)
  • $100 USD Activity credit per stay, valid for golf play, golf instruction, the Spa services, and/or Explorer’s Club fees to be utilized during stay (cannot be combined, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full – not valid towards retail or Haim Salon Services)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Book with Virtuoso Amenities* Book on Fairmont.com

*If using a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the Virtuoso page, click “Full Site” to enable the desktop version, and you’ll be able to access rates and online booking. Do not input any children traveling with you as they may be priced as adults (common in travel agency software for some hotels). Place them in the booking notes and I’ll add them in when I double-check your reservation.


Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, North San Diego

Location: Aviara (Carlsbad)

Why go: Stay here if you’d like a home away from home with the usual flawless Four Seasons service. Most of the villas at Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara have kitchens or kitchenettes as well as separate bedrooms and living areas that provide travelers with plenty of space.

This is also your best option for extended stays and multigenerational travel (though a stay of any length will be an enjoyable one). The dining at Seasons Restaurant is lovely and changes seasonally — and sometimes daily as the Chef de Cuisine is inspired by the local farmers’ markets — so there’s always something new. If you’re a fan of the brand, like I am, note that this is the best luxury hotel in San Diego, California for all types of travelers.

See also: Detailed Guide to Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, North San Diego

Hotel amenities:

  • Kids Club 760 with fun activities such as arts and crafts, ping pong, video games and dive-in movies (unstaffed)
  • Board games to check out and use in the villas
  • Two swimming pools and a special children’s pool
  • Childproofing, high chairs and other amenities available upon request
  • A full-service spa and fitness center
  • Babysitting services
  • Special coastal tours (the kids can come, too) in a vintage Woody, by reservation
  • Seasons barista bar for gourmet coffee drinks and to-go items
  • A special dining experience like the chef’s table and kitchen counter where guests pull up a stool to interact with chefs and taste bites in the open kitchen

Good to know: The Park Hyatt Aviara is next door, so guests can enjoy dining there, too. Aviara is an inland residential/golf community so it helps to have a rental car. This hotel is outstanding. Of all the top luxury hotels in San Diego, this is one that I haven’t had a single complaint about.

Reservations: Cadence is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner agency which means that I can book you in with additional value-added amenities and services that you will want to take advantage of. (I lived in a Four Seasons hotel, stay in them regularly, and can tell you in detail about nearly every property in their portfolio.)

Request Preferred Partner Rates

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Location: La Jolla (Torrey Pines/UCSD area)

Why go: You want an intimate, highly-rated, luxury boutique hotel right next to Torrey Pines golf course and Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Built in California craftsman style, The Lodge at Torrey Pines boasts ocean views and excellent service.

This San Diego luxury hotel is often mentioned in national publications as not only one of the top luxury hotels in San Diego, but also one of the top hotels in all of California.

The spa is excellent, as is its restaurant, A.R. Valentien. They even have complimentary luxury car service to take guests within a five-mile radius, which includes the beach and La Jolla Village. I truly believe that The Lodge at Torrey Pines has deserves its AAA Five Diamond rating, which just 121 hotels nationwide earned in 2019.

See also: Detailed Guide to The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Hotel amenities:

  • World-class dining
  • Full-service spa
  • Torrey Pines Golf Course (the concierge can secure tee times)
  • Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits
  • Heated pool and hot tub
  • Yoga classes and croquet
  • Generously-sized guest rooms range in size from 500 square feet to more than 1500 square feet
  • Luxury suites up to 2500 square feet
  • Egyptian cotton linen and quilted duvets
  • Suites with fireplaces and balconies available
  • Keurig coffee brewers with complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary shoe shine service
  • DIRECTV
  • Children’s menus at all restaurants

Good to know: This La Jolla hotel overlooks the renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course. The spa is not huge, but it’s a very, very good one (I go for massages there sometimes). Palisade rooms have ocean views. This property also does not have a resort fee — notable among the best luxury hotels in San Diego.

Awards: AAA Five Diamonds, Forbes 4-Star recipient, Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice Award

Reservations: The Lodge at Torrey Pines is a Virtuoso property which means my readers can book in with a discounted rate (you’ll have to be logged into Virtuoso to see the discount) and additional value-added amenities that include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Full breakfast daily in restaurant for up to 2 in-room guests per bedroom (up to 60.00 credit per day)
  • $100 USD Spa Services credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full, excluding gratuity and tax)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Book with Virtuoso Amenities*

*If using a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the Virtuoso page, click “Full Site” to enable the desktop version, and you’ll be able to access rates and online booking.


Rancho Valencia

Location: Rancho Santa Fe

Why go: You’d like to stay put and enjoy a quiet getaway in luxurious and large villas with access to tennis, a state-of-the-art spa, fitness programming, and peaceful surroundings in the luxury of a Relais & Chateaux property.

It’s also a great spot to recharge your batteries given its wellness offerings. And guests can look forward to golfing at some of the region’s best courses, including some that are otherwise private.

In other words, there’s a good reason Rancho Valencia has been ranked the #1 California Resort by U.S. News & World Report Travel and earned a Five Star Spa rating from Forbes Travel Guide. When you stay here, you won’t lack for anything.

See also: Detailed Guide to Rancho Valencia

Hotel amenities:

  • Complimentary games, bocce ball, ping pong, bikes and more for family fun
  • Yoga pavilion, Pilates studio and fitness center onsite with classes
  • An excellent tennis program with lessons and clinics
  • Access to private and public courses including The Farms, Torrey Pines Golf Course, Del Mar Country Club and more.
  • Four heated pools including an adults-only pool, two saline pools, and a family pool

Good to know: If you are planning on spending a lot of time off-property, Rancho Valencia might be a bit too inland for you. A car is definitely necessary.

Awards: TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Award, AAA Five Diamond Hotel, #1 Tennis Resort by Tennis Magazine

Reservations: Rancho Valencia is a Virtuoso property which means I can book you in with:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in-room guests (maximum $40 credit per person)
  • $100 USD Resort or Hotel credit, (Not valid in Sheridan, the resort’s boutique. 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
Book with Virtuoso Amenities*

*If using a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the Virtuoso page, click “Full Site” to enable the desktop version, and you’ll be able to access rates and online booking.


Pendry San Diego

Location: Downtown (Gaslamp Quarter)

Why go: Pendry San Diego opened in 2017 to rave reviews and quickly became one of the top luxury hotels in San Diego. Its specialty is blending modern with traditional throughout the entire hotel, including in rooms, the beer hall, social club nightlife experience, rooftop lounge, elegant hotel bar, and signature farm-to-table restaurant.

It’s not a small hotel either, with 317 rooms including 36 suites. With its attention to detail, luxury linens, stylish decor, and excellent service, Pendry San Diego is a top choice for those who want to stay in downtown San Diego. In summer, the property’s contemporary rooftop pool area becomes an exclusive event space that hosts carefully curated daytime and evening events featuring the hottest DJs and other entertainment.

See also: Detailed Guide to Pendry San Diego

Hotel amenities:

  • Rooms with luxury linens, custom amenity program from renowned parfumerie MiN New York, Waterworks bath accessories, 50″ televisions, fully-stocked mini bar
  • 6 Restaurants and bars
  • Rooftop pool
  • 24-hour fitness center
  • Spa Pendry
  • Pet-friendly

Good to know: Pendry San Diego is one of the many top luxury hotels in San Diego that welcomes families (kids receive a special welcome amenity). Guests receive expedited entry into the social club. Happy hour at Pool House means that everything is half-off. Summer weekend pool parties can be crowded and not great for kids.

Reservations: Pendry San Diego is a Virtuoso property which means that we can add on the following amenities to your room or suite:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Breakfast credit at Provisional Restaurant or In-Room Dining for two 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
Book with Virtuoso Amenities*

*If using a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the Virtuoso page, click “Full Site” to enable the desktop version, and you’ll be able to access rates and online booking.


Beach Village at The Del

Location: Coronado (Beach Village is a private enclave in the Hotel Del Coronado)

Why go: You will enjoy the very best beach vacation possible at this San Diego luxury hotel. This is by far the best luxury choice. Beach Village is a private enclave at Hotel Del Coronado with designer cottages and many VIP amenities.

Only guests of Beach Village have access to its pools, common areas, and breakfast at the Windsor Cottage. It is much quieter than staying on the main resort and popular for groups and multigenerational travel because most cottages have full kitchens. If your idea of true luxury is total privacy, then you’ll definitely find that this one of the best luxury hotels in San Diego.

See also: Why Beach Village at The Del Is San Diego’s Best Beach Vacation

Hotel amenities:

  • Access to the members-only Windsor Beach club with food and drink service, posh sofas and sand chairs styled by Room & Board (open during summer only)
  • Beach Village guests have access to Hotel Del Coronado resort amenities
  • Complimentary use of beach chairs and umbrellas at Del Beach (half-moon cabanettes and day beds are available for rental) where it’s also possible to enjoy drink and food service to the sand.
  • Early morning yoga on the beach and outdoor beachside spinning classes.
  • A beachside boardwalk in front of the hotel perfect for riding bikes and surreys (rentals are available)
  • Private beach bonfires with s’more roasting
  • Boogie board, surfboard, and skim, board rentals
  • Personal Concierge service
  • VIP Entrance
  • Private dinners in your cottage prepared by resort chefs
  • Priority reservations across the resort
  • Pools with cabanas and lounge chairs for Beach Village guests only
  • Secluded plunge pools and hot tubs scattered throughout the property
  • Cottages with hot tubs
  • Designer cottages with designer appliances

Good to know: The cottages closest to the beach border the boardwalk, so avoid these if you want privacy because you will see people on bikes, walking, etc.

Reservations: Beach Village at The Del is a part of Hotel Del Coronado and therefore a Virtuoso property with these amenities (online booking is unavailable so you’ll need to request a Virtuoso rate):

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (room upgrades are not possible in Beach Village)
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two guests per bedroom
  • $100 USD Spa Services credit (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

You can also take a look at the discounted Hilton Honors rate.

Book at Hilton.com Request a Virtuoso Rate

Hotel Del Coronado

Location: Coronado

Why go: You like historic hotels with a big list of amenities. The red roof of this historic San Diego hotel has become one of the city’s icons. The roster of Hollywood celebrities, U.S. Presidents, and other dignitaries who have stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado since its opening in 1888 is nothing short of impressive.

It’s San Diego’s best full-service beachfront resort and a four-star property. Coronado Municipal Beach in front of the hotel has beautiful and expansive white sand. It’s one of the best places to go to the beach in San Diego. You can also walk to the shops and restaurants on Orange Avenue from the hotel, though it has enough activities onsite that you may not want to leave.

See also: Detailed Guide to Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel amenities:

  • Full-service beach area (with seasonal chairside food and drink ordering) called Del Beach with luxury lounge chairs, umbrellas, half-moon cabanettes and day beds for full-day rental
  • Stand-up paddle board and surf lessons (arranged through the concierge)
  • Morning beach yoga and outdoor beachside spinning classes.
  • A beachside boardwalk in front of the hotel that is perfect for riding bikes and surreys (rentals are available)
  • Private beach bonfires with s’more roasting
  • Boogie board, surf board and skim board rentals
  • Beachside painting classes
  • Kidtopia kids club for kids ages 4-12 featuring 2-hour activities and 3-5 hour adventures including games, stage performances, arts and crafts, and more
  • Delicious ice cream parlor on site
  • Water toys and fun in the main pool
  • 17 shops to browse (Babcock & Story is my personal favorite)
  • Several beachfront dining and cocktail areas that are amazing venues during sunset
  • San Diego’s best Sunday brunch
  • Full-service Spa at The Del with packages for ages 13 and up

Good to know: Restaurants and shops on Orange Avenue are within walking distance and there is a ferry from downtown San Diego to Coronado (the ferry is about a 30-minute walk from the hotel or short Uber ride). The resort can feel very busy during peak times as residents and tourists visit the shops and restaurants during the day. It is not a good choice for people looking for a quiet getaway, but it is one of San Diego’s icons and the hotel that is most requested by readers of this site. I recommend making dining reservations (including breakfast) and spa reservations in advance if traveling during a holiday week. Speaking of holidays, there is also quite a bit to do during the holidays at Hotel Del Coronado from a seaside ice skating rink to other special programming. And if you’re getting married, you should know that in June of 2019, this San Diego luxury hotel completed its renovation of Vista Walk, a re-imagined outdoor space ideal for weddings and other events for up to 900 guests.

I have also written a very detailed guide to Hotel Del Coronado that addresses how to select a room and much more. A $200 million renovation is underway and construction is visible around the resort. You need to know the following before making a reservation:

  • From September 26, 2019–May 2020, the main pool will be closed for renovation.
  • From September 2–May 2020, the California Cabanas will be closed for renovation.
  • If you are staying prior to October 14, 2019, book into the Victorian Building for the best experience due to utility work near the Ocean Towers.
  • Book ocean view rooms if possible (avoid resort view for now as they may overlook construction).
  • Read the latest updates regarding the renovation here (click under terms and conditions) before booking in.
  • Winter programming is scheduled per usual.
  • Guests continue to book in and have a great time!

Awards: AAA Four Diamonds, Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award and many more

Reservations: The Hotel Del Coronado is a Virtuoso property which means that we can book you in with the following value-added amenities:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (room upgrades are not possible in Beach Village)
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests (roughly a $100/day value as it includes tax and gratuity)
  • $100 USD Equivalent Spa Services credit (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

The benefits above usually outweigh any AAA, military or other discount, however, you can also check rates on Hilton as the hotel is a Curio Collection by Hilton property.

Book with Virtuoso Amenities* Book on Hilton.com

*If using a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the Virtuoso page, click “Full Site” to enable the desktop version, and you’ll be able to access rates and online booking. Do not input any children traveling with you as they may be priced as adults (common in travel agency software for some hotels). Place them in the booking notes and I’ll add them in when I double-check your reservation.


Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

Location: Aviara (Carlsbad)

Why go: You want to base your stay in a North County San Diego luxury hotel with excellent golf and an award-winning spa. Or you like to earn or redeem Hyatt points. Park Hyatt Aviara is a popular choice for families because they usually have reasonably-priced suites and connecting rooms in addition to a game room, family pool, and more.

If you’re traveling during the Christmas season, this is one of the best luxury hotels in San Diego for holiday decor. Their holiday displays are epic, and the Festival of Wreaths — a silent auction of professionally decorated wreaths and trees benefiting Semper Fi Fund — is a sight to see. 

Hotel amenities:

  • Aviara Kids Academy by Camp Hyatt for ages 4 – 12 during the summer
  • Bird watching over the wetlands
  • Seasonal junior tennis clinics
  • Outdoor family swimming pool with underwater lights, an adults-only pool, and a shallow wading pool and water play area
  • Surf concierge including transportation to Ponto Beach and 2 hours of boogie board or surf lessons for ages 6 and above
  • Kids DVD library
  • Arnold Palmer designed golf course
  • Six state-of-the-art lighted tennis courts
  • An awesome 15,000-square-foot spa with solarium lounge area, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, couples treatment areas, and locker and dressing areas
  • TaylorMade Performance Lab for a 2-hour custom club fitting experience
  • Exquisite, varied dining between Argyle steakhouse, Vivace (Italian) and California Bistro
  • Frette robes and pillow-top beds

Good to know: As mentioned above, this incredibly beautiful part of Carlsbad is inland of the I-5 freeway so you’ll need to drive to the beach. Some people feel that it is not up to par with other Park Hyatt locations, but it is typically priced lower than other Park Hyatts. Read about our recent stay at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort.

Awards: AAA Five Diamonds

Reservations: Book the Virtuoso rate which includes some value added amenities at no extra cost to you that include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability.
  • Daily full breakfast buffet, for up to two guests per bedroom
  • $100 USD Resort 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 daily Aviara Spa access for two guests including sauna, whirlpool, steam room and indoor solarium lounge.
  • Locally-inspired culinary welcome amenity
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Book with Virtuoso Amenities*

*If on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Full Site” to access rates and online booking. Do not input your children as it will price them as adults. At booking, please mention how many kids you’re traveling with (and ages) in the special requests section. I’ll take care of adding them when I double-check your reservation.


THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego

Location: Downtown (Gaslamp Quarter)

Why go: Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. spent $1.9 million (a lot in 1910) to build this hotel in honor of his father, President Ulysses S. Grant. Fourteen U.S. Presidents and countless celebrities have stayed here. It was also a speakeasy and a place where women’s rights were won.

Now, after careful restoration combining old with new, THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego, is better than ever. It is one of the top luxury hotels for history buffs searching for a unique stay in the San Diego area. It’s also the best choice for those who would like to earn or redeem Starwood points. The recently-refreshed rooms have a contemporary look to them with stunning original artwork over the beds. And the hotel’s Grant Grill has some of the best cocktails around.

See also: Detailed Guide to THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego

Hotel amenities:

  • Contemporary rooms and suites with original artwork
  • Elemis bath amenities
  • 300 Thread-count sheets
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • 24-hour in-room dining
  • Complimentary morning coffee and tea service in the lobby
  • Complimentary afternoon beverage service in the lobby
  • Nightly turn-down service with chocolates
  • 24-hour fitness center
  • PressReader subscription with 5000+ magazine and newspaper subscriptions

Good to know: There is no swimming pool in the hotel. The hotel is in a superb location that is within walking distance to some of San Diego’s best restaurants and shopping in the Gaslamp quarter. The hotel prices well for location and quality.

Awards: Forbes 4-Star Award, US News and World Report Best Hotels in California, US News and World Report Best Hotels in San Diego

Reservations: There are two ways I can book readers into THE US GRANT: Virtuoso and Marriott STARS. Both programs typically include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Full breakfast daily for up to two in-room guests in The Grant Grill or via room service (maximum value of $60 per day)
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full, available in the Grant Grill or via room service only)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Book with Virtuoso Amenities*

*If using a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the Virtuoso page, click “Full Site” to enable the desktop version, and you’ll be able to access rates and online booking. Do not input any children traveling with you as they may be priced as adults (common in travel agency software for some hotels). Place them in the booking notes and I’ll add them in when I double-check your reservation.


La Valencia Hotel

Location: La Jolla (Village)

Why go: La Valencia is a boutique hotel above La Jolla Cove and in the heart of La Jolla’s main Village business and shopping distance. Built in 1926, “The Pink Lady” is a great spot for people who want to go carless in La Jolla and have everything they need within walking distance.

Ocean views abound and it’s the spot that well-heeled travelers who want to stay in La Jolla will likely enjoy most. La Valencia is considered the best luxury hotel in the La Jolla Village and it is just stunning. In 2019, La Valencia was included in (OH!) San Diego, the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s tour of 100-plus sites chosen for notable architecture and historical significance. 

See also: Detailed Guide to La Valencia Hotel

Hotel amenities:

  • 24-Hour in-room dining
  • Luxurious European bath amenities
  • Cafe La Rue — modern European cuisine, hand crafted cocktails, and premium libations
  • 4 Room types: Vintage, Classic, Villas & Icon
  • “La Sala” Lounge with live music, libations, and tapas
  • Ocean view pool
  • Heated pool and spa
  • Complimentary shoe shine
  • Complimentary high speed and wireless internet
  • 300 count imported bed linens
  • Keurig coffee makers
  • Les Clefs d’Or Concierge service

Good to know: This La Jolla luxury hotel is pet-friendly. Weekend brunch at The MED restaurant is one of the most popular brunch spots in San Diego, and I love lunch there, too. They have a lot of different room and villa types starting with the Vintage King Ocean (note that while it has ocean views, the room is 250 square feet). I think the Villa King Ocean or Villa King Ocean Suite accommodations are the nicest, as they are in a quieter part of the hotel and closer to La Jolla Cove.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, AAA Four Diamonds

Check Reviews and Rates

L’Auberge Del Mar

Location: Del Mar

Why go: L’Auberge Del Mar is a luxury boutique hotel that is reminiscent of a private, coastal estate. It’s the best option for people who want to stay in the heart of Del Mar where a number of great restaurants and shops are all within walking distance. It is across the street from the beach but has its own walkway to the sand. The spa is excellent, as is the dining. In fact, L’Auberge Del Mar’s signature restaurant, KITCHEN 1540, recently earned Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence in its annual Restaurant Awards competition.

Hotel amenities:

  • 121 Guest rooms including seven suites ranging from 500 – 1222 square feet
  • All rooms have coastal, garden, or village views with balconies or patios, in-room coffee service, complimentary newspapers, Wi-Fi, 42″ flat screen TVs, sitting area/desk, iHome stereo systems
  • Recently-refreshed interiors are decorated with a beach casual, upscale chic look by the exclusive Barclay Butera
  • Some guests rooms have fireplaces
  • Fitness facility
  • Full-service, beach house-style spa
  • Dogs are welcome
  • Several excellent onsite dining options, including Kitchen 1540
  • Beach cruisers available onsite
  • Two lighted championship tennis courts
  • A recently debuted seasonal beach butler sets up chairs, umbrellas, towels for guests
  • Beach picnics available for ordering

Good to know: The hotel tends to welcome more couples seeking romantic getaways than it does families. The beach is across the street but easy to access. It is the best San Diego luxury hotel in the coastal Del Mar neighborhood. KITCHEN 1540 has a wine list 225 bottles long, so this is also definitely one of the top luxury hotels in San Diego for wine lovers.

Awards: AAA Four Diamond Award, #1 Hotel in Southern California (Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards), US News and World Report’s Best Hotels of 2015, 2016

Reservations:

Check Price on Top Sites

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Location: Rancho Bernardo

Why go: When it’s easiest to stay in East County San Diego, the Rancho Bernardo Inn is your place. It’s a nice boutique hotel with truly fabulous spa facilities and it is convenient to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, nearby wineries such as Bernardo Winery, and golf. It’s quiet over here and kids like this hotel. It makes a great staycation option for people who live in San Diego, too. One thing I love about dining at this San Diego hotel is that there is a chef’s garden — many greens and herbs used in the hotel’s restaurants are gathered by staff the same day they’re served.

Hotel amenities:

  • Recently-renovated 18-hole San Diego Championship Golf Course
  • Incredible spa with products featuring organic and natural ingredients (like food)
  • Saline pool at the spa, an adults-only pool, and a family pool
  • In-room camping package that kids love
  • Fitness center
  • Four dining options
  • A smartphone app for reservations, housekeeping, etc.
  • Rooms have private balconies or patios

Good to know: Rancho Bernardo Inn is a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts.

Awards: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Reservations:

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The Westgate Hotel

Location: Downtown (Gaslamp)

Why go: With its classic Victorian vibe, The Westgate Hotel capitalizes on the era of grand décor while providing all the modern amenities. You’ll enjoy big rooms, a lovely rooftop pool, and a fantastic location in the heart of Gaslamp. Guests can also take advantage of the adjacent AquaVie Spa + Wellness Center during their stay.

There is also a lovely Sunday champagne brunch at Le Fontainebleau, and The Westgate Hotel is within walking distance of many popular Gaslamp restaurants and shopping. Visiting in the summer means you can relax poolside and enjoy live music every Thursday at the hotel’s fabulous annual Sunset Poolside Jazz Series. 

Hotel amenities:

  • Access to the state-of-the-art AquaVie Fitness + Wellness Club
  • Rooftop pool with views of downtown
  • One of the best Sunday brunches in San Diego at Le Fontainebleau
  • Luxury linens and 49″ LED TVs
  • Handcrafted European furniture

Good to know: It’s not a huge hotel and can’t really be compared to five-star hotels in Paris, but it is lovely for those who want to enjoy European hospitality and decor while in one of the best luxury hotels in the San Diego area. It’s a four-star property, and offers very good value for the price.

Awards: AAA Four Diamond Award, Open Table’s Diners’ Choice Winner for The Westgate Room and Brunch

Reservations:

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Best Hotels in San Diego for Families

Even though we live in the city, I have taken my daughter to many of the best family friendly hotels in San Diego for staycations and little getaways. Any of the above hotels will welcome your children with open arms, but the fact is that the list of the best luxury hotels in San Diego, California for families is somewhat smaller than the list of luxury hotels in general. 

It’s worth noting that not all of the best hotels in San Diego for families are located on or even near the beach, and the most popular tourist attractions in the city are spread out far and wide. If you’re looking for a luxury hotel that’s close to all of the major attractions so it’s easier to get around with your little ones, you won’t find one. My advice is that you look at the items at the top of your itinerary and choose a hotel that’s close to what you want to see the most.

That said, I do have my favorites. If you want to stay downtown and keep your kids occupied, the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego is fantastic and has its own summer camp for children ages 4-12. La Jolla Shores may be the best choice for families who want to stay right on the beach without spending a lot. But for luxury, you have to check out the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, which is full of options and activities for families on such beautiful grounds. 

Which Luxury San Diego Hotels Would I Choose?

The answer is that it depends. There are usually a few things that come into play when booking rooms at the best luxury hotels in the San Diego area (or any hotel anywhere) that I ask people to think about first. Ask yourself:

  • Where in San Diego will you be spending most of your time?
  • Do you like restaurants, shops and things to do within walking distance?
  • What do you plan to do in San Diego?
  • What kind of beach access do you need?
  • Are you loyal to a particular brand?
  • How much do you want to spend?

As for when to book, the right answer is probably sooner rather than later — especially if you are planning to visit during summer, spring break, or winter break. The months with the lowest hotel occupancy rates tend to be September, November, December, and January, but occupancy rates are high year round. The sooner you book your rooms, the better your chances of getting great views at great rates.

Remember that when it comes time to book a San Diego luxury hotel, we have access to exclusive VIP amenities where you can enjoy extras like complimentary breakfasts, room upgrades, spa credits, and more by clicking the link below. You can book most San Diego hotels that offer these amenities online (Beach Village and Four Seasons rate requests require filling out this form).

Do you have a favorite San Diego luxury hotel?

When only the best will do, book into a beachfront, downtown, family-friendly or wellness-centric property on this list of San Diego luxury hotels.

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