Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina provides an excellent base for a short layover thanks to its location across the street from San Diego International Airport. In fact, many readers use it when they need to catch early flights or land late at night.
But what I learned after checking in is that you can base an entire San Diego family vacation from the hotel. Guests here have to popular downtown San Diego attractions, the cruise ship terminal, events at the San Diego Convention Center, and more.
In this review, you’ll see why this Sheraton is more than just an airport hotel and great value for money.
Note from Katie: We independently select all featured hotels. Booking methods mentioned we think offer the best value or are popular with readers. If you book through some of our links, we may earn a commission. Prices and amenities are subject to change. Our editorial guidelines.
WHAT I LOVE
- Location closest to San Diego Airport
- Free airport shuttle
- Club Level rooms
- Access to water sports in front of the hotel
- Massive bay views from public spaces and rooms
- You could base a full San Diego vacation here
- Walking along the Embarcadero down to Seaport Village
GOOD TO KNOW
- The hotel is spread across two towers
- Bay Tower rooms are larger but Marina Tower rooms are closer to most amenities
- Suites, with the exception of the Townhouse Suite, do not have fully-separated living rooms and bedrooms
Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina’s Location
Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina is located, as the name implies, on the San Diego Bay next to the Marina. Most rooms in the hotel sport water views. The San Diego International Airport across the street is visible from some parts of the hotel for those who enjoy watching planes take-off and land.
Hotel guests enjoy complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport every half-hour from 5 a.m. through midnight. It’s also easy to walk along the Embarcadero waterfront entertainment area to reach Little Italy, Maritime Museum of San Diego, USS Midway Museum, Seaport Village, various San Diego harbor cruises (like Flagship Cruises) and other popular sights.
This means that you don’t need a car to explore downtown. Grab a hotel bike. Or, take the seasonal Big Bay Shuttle that allows you to hop on and off at various stops all day long for a small fee.
Rooms Spread Over Two Towers
The Marina Tower is the first street entrance to the hotel you’ll encounter if driving in from the airport. Follow the road until you reach the Bay Tower.
You’ll want to park near the tower you’re staying in, though it’s easy to walk between them in about five minutes or so.
Sheraton San Diego Marina Tower or Bay Tower?
You can specify which tower you’d like to stay in at the time of booking. The Marina Tower (705 rooms) is the larger of the two. Families with young children will probably prefer it over here. It’s closer to the action including the main pool, fitness center, lawn games, Marina Market and Cafe (for quick grab-and-go drinks and snacks), and more.
The Bay Tower (348 rooms) has more of a smaller hotel feel because it’s quieter with fewer people milling about. Guest rooms average 396 square feet, so they are about 30% larger than the Marina Tower guest rooms, which average 305 square feet.
Rooms are decorated in the same cheerful nautical theme in both towers. Suites have a seating area with a fold-out sofa bed and a bit more space, though the bedroom is not fully separated from the living room. If you’re looking for this, check the Bi-Level Townhouse Suite which has a bedroom upstairs from the living area. You can also take a look at the Sunset, Sunrise and Governor’s Suites.
Our Deluxe Room had two queen-sized Sheraton beds that were incredibly comfortable and complete with crisp, white linens.
Our view over the bay to downtown captured a little bit of the Coronado Bridge, too. The small balcony with seating would be a great place to enjoy an evening glass of wine but we were busy elsewhere in the hotel. Safety locks on the sliders prevent young kids from stepping outside without supervision.
High-speed WiFi worked well as did the flat-panel TV. The bathroom had a combo tub/shower, hairdryer, and bath amenities.
There is a minibar though our room did not have a menu with pricing. I called the front desk and housekeeping to inquire about pricing in order to determine whether I should pull a juice for my daughter from the minibar or go downstairs to get one. Someone told me there aren’t menus for the minibar, but I’m not sure if that’s correct or not because the one I requested never came.
Book Sheraton Club Level
Consider booking Sheraton Club Lounge level in the Marina Tower which gives you access to perks such as daily continental breakfast, and afternoon hors d’oeuvres, and all-day nonalcoholic beverages.
Of course, it’s also a nice place to hang out with complimentary WiFi, luxurious seating, and panoramic views.
Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina Activities
The number of family activities available did truly surprise me.
Three Swimming Pools
We spent most of our time swimming in the Lagoon Pool, which has a hot tub nearby. It’s here that poolside games and Dive-In Movies occur during summer sunshine. Big seahorses spit water into the pool and there’s a little basketball hoop for kids. Don’t panic if you forget sunscreen as it’s for sale here, too.
Most families brought their own drinks and snacks to the pool, however, servers occasionally (not frequently, you may need to go to the Shoreline restaurant’s bar yourself) take drink and (I assume) food orders from poolside loungers.
A quieter, smaller pool services guests in the Bay Tower and a pool near the Lanai building is available, too. The latter pool is unheated in the off-season to support the hotel’s green initiatives.
A benefit to being on the marina is that you don’t have to leave the property to hop on a stand-up paddleboard, paddleboat, jet ski, or kayak. These activities await steps from the Lagoon Pool.
My daughter couldn’t stay up late enough for it, but during our stay, SD Adventures offered a tour called Nite-Ops. Guests paddled LED-lit, glass-bottom paddleboards, and kayaks which drew sea life to the surface for nighttime viewing.
Sail on the beautiful all-wood Jada sailing yacht. Built in 1938 and recently refurbished, Jada will take you throughout the waters surrounding San Diego.
Or, ride in an authentic Navy SEAL Rigid Inflatable Boat (R.I.B.), go fishing or take an elegant sunset cruise. Boat rentals can be arranged through the Sheraton.
Lawn games such as life-sized chess and croquet as well as Dive-In movies happen during the summer. There is actually a lot of grass on the property for cartwheels and kid fun.
Grab a bike and cruise around the bay with your camera and family in tow. There are even a few bikes for kids with helmets available and one of those new elliptical exerciser bikes.
Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina Dining Experiences
You certainly won’t go hungry as there are a number of options in the hotel.
Marina Market and Cafe
We grabbed breakfast here every morning. Though it looks like a Starbucks and serves some Starbucks fare, it isn’t officially a Starbucks which means you can’t use your Starbucks gift cards but you can charge it to your room. They even have bottles of wine for sale, too.
Harbor’s Edge, the signature restaurant (pictured above) in the Marina Tower boasts panoramic marina views. We happened to catch a gorgeous sunset during our dinner, which was also a treat. Kids menus are on offer throughout the hotel, but my daughter was pleased with her chicken fingers, fruit and activity menu to color. Based on our server’s recommendation, I ordered a delicious salmon with truffle mashed potatoes.
Tapatini – Tapas & Wine Bar
We could hear the chill, live music during our dinner at Harbor’s Edge coming from Tapatini. Here, people gather for exactly what the name implies. A mid-week Sheraton Social Hours also gives guests an opportunity to taste wines rated 90 and above by Wine Spectator.
A sports bar option, Quinn’s Mooring serves craft beers and food. I also spotted a least one pool table inside.
The casual eatery borders the marina and pool. Shoreline is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Bay Tower Lounge
Otherwise known as BTL, the Bay Tower Lounge serves light breakfast and comfort food at lunch and dinner. We dined on the pleasant patio which also has fancy fire pits to create warmth and ambiance. I enjoyed the filet mignon but can also vouch for the flatbreads.
Surf the internet with a cup of coffee or a pastry in-hand at the Link@Sheraton Cafe on the ground floor of the Marina Tower near the lobby.
Good to Know
It’s a Pet-friendly San Diego Hotel
Dogs up to 40lbs are welcome to join you at Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. Additional fees apply.
Again, you don’t need to rent a car if you’re on a short San Diego vacation but there’s an Enterprise rent-a-car on site.
Rancho La Puerta Discounts
Guests needing a place to sleep before heading out to Rancho La Puerta (or vice versa) receive a discounted rate at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. This is very helpful for people who need to overnight in order to catch the spa’s airport shuttle.
Our mid-June stay coincided with the high season and we did have a handful of minor funky things happen that weren’t too big of a deal and pretty normal for a big hotel like this. I mention them only because these are things that seasoned travelers like to know.
There might have been a conference happening at the same time so the check-in line was about 20 minutes long. Marriott Bonvoy members have their own expedited line. We also ordered a room service snack and it came about 10 minutes outside the estimated window.
A Positive Overall Experience
Words that keep coming to mind include value, convenience, and location. Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina appeals as a base for family vacations with SeaWorld or Balboa Park on the itinerary, quick weekend getaways, layovers in San Diego, staycations for those who love water sports or North County residents who want to explore downtown without driving home.
Have you been?
Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina
1380 Harbor Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92101