Refreshed rooms and a beachy yet boutique atmosphere distinguish the rebranded San Diego Mission Bay Resort from its former life as Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa. The property still exudes the same feeling of relaxed, family-friendly hospitality that we have enjoyed there in the past while upping the aesthetics and service to be in line with what one might expect from Noble House Hotels and Resorts, the resort’s new parent company who is known for emphasizing local culture and the guest experience.
It’s a welcome change. This Mission Bay Resort in San Diego offers fantastic amenities, like the bayfront pool and fire pit rooms, to enjoy during your stay. As if that’s not enough, you also have things to do at Mission Bay and the greater San Diego area at your doorstep thanks to easy freeway access.
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WHAT I LOVE
- Renovated rooms with fire pits (and seasonal beach roasts for all on the beach)
- Beach food and drink service
- Bayfront pool with a children’s pool
- The boardwalk in front of the hotel for biking
- Dog-friendly up to two 75-pound dogs per room (additional fees apply)
- Emphasis on local culture
GOOD TO KNOW
- You have to drive to the ocean beach
- It’s formerly the Hilton San Diego Resort, now a Noble House property
- The water on the Mission Bay shoreline can be a little stagnant with mushy sand
- The spa is open with limited hours
Guest Rooms and Suites
San Diego Mission Bay Resort has a handful of room and suite types available to guests. Whether you’re a solo traveler or a family, there is accommodation to suit your needs.
Traditional Guest Rooms
The guest rooms at San Diego Mission Bay Resort are comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. With 365 square feet of living space, there’s plenty of room.
Each room comes with either a king-size bed or two queen-size beds. Guests can choose between a balcony or a patio, and between views of the garden, the resort or the bay. You can arrange connecting rooms ahead of time
Studio Guest Rooms
For guests requiring a bit more space, the studio guest room is ideal. The 480-square-foot size allows guests to enjoy a dedicated living area that comes complete with a couch and coffee table.
As with the traditional guest room, the Studio offers a king-size bed or two queen-size beds, and you can arrange connecting rooms.
Fire Pit Studio Guest Rooms (Top Pick)
If it’s that chilled-out, beachy atmosphere that you’re after, consider the fire pit studio guest room. These rooms open up onto private patios with fire pits (some are even right on the shoreline).
This option offers all the comforts of the studio guest room and is best suited to groups who like to socialize outdoors together.
San Diego Suites
San Diego Mission Bay Resort deserves its four-star rating with these gorgeous suites. They range from 671 square feet to 1463 square feet, and offer all the luxuries you would hope for.
There’s a choice between a private balcony with views of the bay or garden, and a patio with a firepit. The suite includes an open-planned living room (separate from the bedroom) with a dining table and sitting area.
Accessible Guest Rooms
I love that San Diego Mission Bay Resort goes out of its way to ensure that beach life is for everyone. The Accessible Guest Rooms offer all the features of the Traditional Guest Rooms but with a few special touches.
There’s a wheelchair-accessible patio that either has bay or garden views. The rooms also come with a visual fire alarm, doorknocker, and phone alert option. Wheelchair users can look forward to lowered peepholes and towel rails, as well as roll-in showers and bathtubs.
Dining at San Diego Mission Bay Resort
The dining options at this Mission Bay resort separate it from the rest. There are five options when it comes to mealtimes. All of them offer the perfect balance between the atmosphere of a seaside resort and the attention to detail of a top hotel.
Covewood offers its patrons a waterfront location, as well as a superb menu. The eatery has won several awards, including a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and has been mentioned amongst the world’s best wine lists.
This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guests can choose between a buffet or an a la carte menu for breakfast. With an array of soups, salads, pasta, and pizzas, there should be something to please the whole group.
At dinner, there is also the option of a three-course menu with a fixed price of $53 USD. The bistro also offers large parties (7 to 28 guests) the comfort of a private dining room.
Plaza Del Sol
This bar area is another highlight for me as it offers a glitzy, yet comfortable social area.
Plaza Del Sol has both a traditional bar area with high stools and small tables, as well as a serviced patio. It gets busy at happy hour (currently 4 – 6 p.m.) when there are discounts on not just drinks but on appetizers. Every night during happy hour there is a specialty drink just for that evening.
The drinks menu is extensive, with a number of top Californian wines. There are also some light meals available.
Finding it difficult to leave the pool come lunchtime? Thanks to SolRisa, San Diego Mission Bay Resort’s poolside dining option, you don’t have to.
There’s a ton of yummy dishes on the menus. The quesadillas, wraps, and smoothies are ideal light snacks. Fresco’s offers kids lunch boxes of grilled cheese or hot dogs with a soda. You can also enjoy some wonderful cocktails to complete the holiday atmosphere.
This eatery is open daily for lunch and dinner in addition to light breakfasts on the weekend.
You may be on holiday but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your morning cup of coffee behind. Instead of grabbing a cup to-go, sit down inside Mission Joe, the resort’s dedicated coffee shop.
Aroma serves the renowned Zoka brand of coffee, alongside other hot and cold drinks. You can order up breakfast staples like bagels and muffins. There is also a great variety of pre-made meals available if you’re on your way out.
The atmosphere at Aroma is relaxed, largely thanks to the super comfortable patio furniture.
Breakfast in bed? A dreamy dinner for two on the balcony? These are the occasions for which you need room service.
Whether it’s a planned meal or a quick snack for hungry children, the room service at the resort is first-class. The hotel prides itself on being able to provide anything that you might crave.
Amenities at San Diego Mission Bay Resort
Whether you’re holidaying with little children or looking for peace and quiet, there is something for you at San Diego Mission Bay Resort.
TIP: RESERVE CABANAS & DAY PASSESYou can reserve cabanas and buy pool day passes (if not staying at the resort) through ResortPass.
The variety of waterside locations is another feature that sets this resort apart from the other Mission Bay resorts. The hotel offers two fabulous swimming pools, in addition to beach access.
First up, there’s a waterfront pool. This allows you to enjoy both the beach and the pool. There are plenty of loungers available and the poolside restaurant provides all the refreshments you could possibly want.
For added luxury, consider renting a poolside cabana. This allows you to recline in luxurious loungers and enjoy both a TV and free WiFi.
For the little ones, there’s also a wading pool. This pool is shallow and filled with brightly colored balls, creating a welcoming environment for the smallest members of the family. Parents can relax on the surrounding loungers or join children in the pool.
All children under 3 years of age are only allowed in the wading pool and must wear swim diapers.
Beach Access and Water Sports
This resort in Mission Bay offers its guests exclusive access to a private bay beach. That’s right, you can enjoy sand and seclusion without leaving the hotel.
The beach is fully serviced so you can order from Fresco’s when it comes to lunchtime or whenever you’re up for a snack.
You can look forward to bonfires at night, as well as volleyball, bean bag toss and badminton. Then there are all the natural charms of the beach, such as swimming in the bay, suntanning, and building sandcastles.
From water skiing to stand-up paddle-boarding, there are a lot of water sports to try your hand at right in front of the hotel. You’ll rent from the onsite Action Sports Rentals.
This is also where you can pick up a surrey bike to ride around the bay, which I recommend as a fun family activity.
Getting to the ocean beach, however, requires a car. During peak season, it’s wise to take an Uber as beach parking is tough. The closest beaches are Mission Beach (where Belmont Park, our seaside amusement park is located) and Pacific Beach.
Which you choose depends on what activities you’d like to pursue. Top San Diego surf schools operate in both spots. You can check my guides to Mission Beach beaches and Pacific Beach beaches to learn the differences between the two.
Keeping fit and healthy has never been as fun as it is at this resort. You can workout solo in the gym or join one of the fun classes.
The gym is stocked with Life Fitness equipment and free weights. You can make use of private men and women’s lockers at no additional cost. There are also saunas to enjoy.
Every Saturday and Sunday, the fitness center hosts a boot camp at 8 a.m. This is perfect for keeping up your fitness routine while on holiday.
The resort also offers yoga and Zumba classes outdoors on the lawns overlooking the bay. There are also indoor pilates classes but these are by appointment only.
The fitness center is open 24 hours daily, while the saunas are available between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
When you’re at Spa Brezza, you enter a world where stress and exhaustion just fade away. After a few of the expert spa treatments, you’ll leave refreshed and ready for the return to your daily grind.
Spa Brezza’s focus is on beautiful and healthy skin. The spa achieves this through treatments that are inspired largely by aromatherapy. In addition to four types of massages, the spa also offers body wraps for exfoliation, and facials (including HydraFacials and Intraceutical Oxygen Treatments).
There are options for couple’s massages, a massage for pregnant women, and some options for children under 13. The spa also houses a salon for hair and makeup appointments.
Tip: Check spa hours before booking, if you play to use the spa. Currently, it’s open Thursday–Sunday only.
If you’re visiting with young kids, you won’t have a hard time keeping them busy. As well as all of the above activities, there are additional things to occupy your children. In fact, San Diego Mission Bay Resort was rated the second-best family resort in the US in 2019.
As with most hotels, there’s a selection of board games at the front desk. You can also engage in a bit of ping pong, and pop by the jumbo checkerboards. There are also two-hour children’s tennis clinics hosted thrice weekly.
For a true taste of the Californian lifestyle, take your kids to the s’mores nights by the beachside bonfires.
It’s rare that a four-star resort allows dogs but you’re in luck with San Diego Mission Bay Resort. This is perfect for those who see their dogs as part of the family.
The hotel allows you to bring a maximum of two dogs per room, so long as they weigh less than 75 pounds each. There is, however, a $100 USD fee per dog for a three-day stay, and $25 USD per day thereafter.
I personally really like this hotel for dogs because of the grassy areas, and Mission Bay parks on both side of the hotel. However, you can request a ground-floor room but it will not be guaranteed, even if you bring a dog. If you really want a ground floor room, book one of the fire pit rooms because these are only on the ground floor.
The Mission Bay Neighborhood
At 1775 East Mission Bay Drive, the resort is a little over 10 minutes from the San Diego International Airport. Mission Bay is a human-made saltwater bay with many activities to grab your interest. Since most attractions here revolve around the water, there’s a relaxed, holiday atmosphere.
One benefit of this hotel is that there are nice Mission Bay parks within a few minutes’ bike rides or walk on both sides of the hotel. They have small bay beaches, playgrounds for kids, and big grassy areas.
You can book a sunset sailing trip or have a picnic at Bonita Cove Park. Kids will want to explore life underwater at SeaWorld San Diego, also on Mission Bay, thanks to its many exhibits, marine animal shows, and handful of roller coasters.
Even though there is a lot to do in the Mission Bay neighborhood itself, you’re also not far from some of San Diego’s other attractions. It’s easiest to explore with a car but if you don’t have one with you, don’t worry. There are other ways of getting around San Diego.
Just a 10-minute drive from the hotel is the historic Old Town San Diego where the first European settlers arrived in the area. You can also visit the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND California, and Balboa Park a bit further afield which are also among the top things to do in San Diego with kids.
If you’re in town between January and March, you should definitely make time to watch the California gray whale migration. To spot the whales as they head to Mexico, it’s best to take a San Diego whale watching tour.
You can search the hotel’s website directly for discounts and special offers.