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La Jolla Mom

How to Choose a Hilton Hotel in San Diego

So, you’re a Hilton HHonors member looking for a hotel in San Diego. With so many good options, you’re having trouble narrowing down the choices. Here is a quick run-down on each Hilton Hotel & Resort in San Diego county along with what is nearby and why you might want to stay there. Note: Hilton Worldwide encompasses numerous other brands, however, this post focuses only on Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort

Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort is one of San Diego's best hotels near the beach.

You want:

  • a beach vacation
  • to spend a day at LEGOLAND
  • to do some serious outlet shopping
  • a hotel in North County San Diego
  • easy access to Carlsbad Airport or Orange County
  • a pet-friendly hotel

Choose: Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort

This relatively new hotel is located across the street from a family-friendly beach (seen above in the top photo) and has a full-service spa, swimming pool and a highly regarded restaurant with locally-sourced cuisine. Cape Rey provides a complimentary shuttle bus to LEGOLAND, has rooms with ocean views, and is about 6 miles from downtown Carlsbad.

Del Mar Hilton

Del Mar Hilton Lobby
You want:

  • to win some $ at the Del Mar races
  • to attend anything else at the Del Mar Fairground
  • close proximity to the freeway, Carmel Valley, Solana Beach or Rancho Santa Fe
  • convenient access to nearby golf courses
  • a pet-friendly hotel

Choose: Hilton San Diego/Del Mar

The Del Mar Hilton is a popular choice for travelers on the go, due to its proximity to the Del Mar Fairground/Del Mar Race Track (it’s across the street). Use it as a base for your activities, however, this San Diego hotel does have a restaurant and is in walking distance to the Fish Market, Red Tracton’s and a handful of other excellent options. You’ll have to drive to the beach and most everywhere else.

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Hotel
You want:

  • to visit someone at UCSD
  • close proximity to La Jolla Village and freeways
  • to play Torrey Pines golf course
  • a location for a big event
  • a more zen experience
  • gorgeous views

Choose: Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

The Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines sports breathtaking views of the ocean and the famous Torrey Pines golf course. Nearby is the Birch Aquarium and La Jolla Shores beach (drive to both), one of San Diego’s most family-friendly beaches where you can learn to surf or just hang out. Planning a meeting or wedding? This is a great hotel for events due to the gorgeous setting and large spaces. A full-service spa for pampering and a drink at sunset will surely channel your inner zen.

Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa

Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa
You want:

  • to be near SeaWorld
  • to enjoy water sports
  • a resort-like experience
  • a short drive to the airport
  • to bring the family (all of the Hilton hotels are family-friendly, but this one is particularly so)

Choose: Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

Located right on Mission Bay, the family-friendly Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa gives guests a convenient location, a chance to get wet in the bay, and a resort experience. One of the questions I am most frequently asked is, “Do you know of a good hotel near SeaWorld?” Here is one. The San Diego resort also has a little beach on the bay, tennis courts and the rooms were recently updated.

Hilton San Diego Mission Valley

Hilton San Diego Mission Valley
You want:

  • to mall shop until you drop
  • easy access to 5 major freeways
  • a pet-friendly hotel
  • a Mission Valley hotel
  • to visit the Zoo and shop, but give the Gaslamp a skip

Choose: Hilton San Diego Mission Valley

Mission Valley is where premium shopping is located. Choose between Fashion Valley mall, Mission Valley mall, Off 5th (Saks Fifth Avenue outlet), Nordstrom Rack and countless other great stores. It’s also were a number of businesses are located, about 15 minutes from the airport, and in an artery where a number of our major freeways intersect. It’s near the restaurants and shops of Hillcrest, Old Town and even the Zoo, though you’d have to drive. If you need to be in downtown San Diego at all, I might choose one of the two Hiltons down there, depending on price.

Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island

Hilton San Diego Airport Harbor Island
You want:

  • a place to crash during a layover
  • easy access to downtown San Diego without staying there
  • a complimentary ride to and from the airport
  • to be near the harbor or Point Loma 
  • a pet-friendly hotel

Choose: Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor  Island

Not too shabby for an airport hotel, eh? Sweeping views of the harbor, business amenities and a location just 5 minutes away from the airport. The Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island is super convenient for business travel.

Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

Hilton San Diego Gaslamp
You want:

  • to be in the heart of the Gaslamp
  • to walk easily to some of San Diego’s best restaurants and shopping
  • to attend an event at the Convention Center
  • a short walk to a Padres game
  • an exclusive loft
  • a pet-friendly hotel

Choose: Hilton San Diego Gaslamp

The Lofts on 5th Avenue at the Hilton give guests the feeling of exclusivity and loft living with 4-foot ceilings, Frette linens and robes, a secure private entrance and whirlpool tubs, all very fitting for the downtown location. This hotel is for the hipsters who want to dine out, stay up late and experience nightlife, however, families will do well here, too. There’s definitely an urban vibe and it’s across the street from the Convention Center. Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo are about a 10 minute drive away and the airport is just over 5 minutes.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Hilton San Diego Bayfront
You want:

  • a stunning waterfront location
  • to attend an event at the Convention Center
  • to host an event or wedding
  • lots of hotel dining options
  • to be in downtown San Diego
  • a Starbucks inside your hotel
  • a pet-friendly hotel

Choose: Hilton San Diego Bayfront

It’s near the Gaslamp quarter but a slightly heftier walk to the Gaslamp shops and restaurants than the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp. This hotel is huge with almost 1200 rooms, but guests rave about the service. It’s also adjacent to the Convention Center. The San Diego Symphony Summer Pops plays right there at the Embarcadero (summer only). The Zoo and Balboa Park are about a 10 minute drive away and the airport is just over 5 minutes away.

Hopefully this helps, as San Diego is large and it helps to know what’s nearby the hotel so you’re not accidentally commuting from Carlsbad to the Gaslamp. Locals: Did I miss anything that you like about these hotels?

*Photos are courtesy of Hilton Worldwide
*Hilton HHonors invited me to be a part of an HHonors Blogger Panel supporting the 25 Days of Winning sweepstakes, and I was compensated for my participation. All opinions and comments within my posts about the sweepstakes are my own.

Hilton HHonors member? Here is a list of Hilton Hotels in San Diego and why you'd consider them.
A list of the best Hilton hotels and resorts in San Diego and why you'd choose them.

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