Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina provides an excellent base for a downtown San Diego family vacation. Admittedly, until we were hosted there last month, I didn’t realize the ease of access guests here have to attractions such as Seaport Village, the Gaslamp Quarter and the Convention Center and more. Here are more reasons why this Sheraton is so much more than just a hotel by the airport and great value for money.
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. Though most rooms in the hotel sport water views, the San Diego International Airport across the street is visible from some areas providing nice shots of planes landing and taking off.
In fact, hotel guests enjoy complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport every half-hour from 4:45 a.m. through midnight. I can’t think of a better hotel to base yourself during a layover or a quick weekend trip to San Diego.
You don’t really need a car to explore the bay and downtown areas. Grab a bike or take the seasonal Big Bay Shuttle that allows you to hop on and off at various stops all day long for just $3 per person.
Rooms Spread Over Two Towers
The Marina Tower is the first street entrance you’ll encounter. Keep driving and you’ll hit the Bay Tower. You’ll want to park near the tower you’re staying in, though it’s easy to walk between them (perhaps 5 minutes or so).
Which Tower to Book?
You can specify which tower you’d like to stay in at time of booking. The Marina Tower (705 rooms) is the larger of the two. Families with young children will probably prefer it over here as its 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 less people milling about. Traditional Rooms average 396 square feet, so about 30% larger than the Marina Tower Traditional Rooms, which average 305 square feet.
Rooms are decorated in the same cheerful nautical theme in both towers. Larger rooms (referred to as suites) have a seating area with fold-out sofa bed and a bit more space, though no enclosed rooms though check the Lanai Townhouse Suite, which appears to have a sleeping area upstairs from a living area if totally separate sleeping areas is important. Big budgets will love the Premier Suites ranging from 1,193-1,476 square feet.
Our Deluxe Room had two queen-sized Sheraton Sweet Sleeper™ beds. They don’t call it a sweet sleeper for nothing. It’s 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 37-inch flat panel TV. The bathroom had a combo tub/shower, hair dryer and bath amenities.
There is a mini bar 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 or not I should pull a juice for my daughter from the mini bar or go downstairs to get one. Someone told me there aren’t menus for the mini bar, but I’m not sure if that’s correct or not because the one I requested never came.
Book Sheraton Club Level
If traveling with kids, definitely consider booking Sheraton Club level in the Marina Tower which gives you access to perks such as daily continental breakfast, and evening hors d’oevres (Tuesday – Thursday). Of course, it’s also a nice place to hang out with complimentary WiFi and luxurious seating. From what I can see after plugging in a bunch of random summer dates, the savings you’d accumulate will likely outweigh the cost. Have a look.
Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina Activities
The amount 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 paddle board, paddle boat, jet ski or kayak. These activities are literally steps from the Lagoon Pool. My daughter couldn’t stay up late enough for it, but I really wanted to try Nite-Ops, where LED-lit, glass bottom paddle boards and kayaks draw sea life to the surface for viewing after the sun goes down.
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 at a great price of two tastes for $5.
A sports bar option, Quinn’s Mooring serves craft beers and food from 11:00 a.m. through midnight. 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.
[email protected] Cafe
Surf the internet with a cup of coffee or a pastry in-hand at the [email protected] 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!
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. Self-parking is $24 and valet is $32.
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.
Our mid-June stay coincided with 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. Starwood Preferred Guest members have their own line, but they weren’t able to locate my number for some reason though it’s my fault for not knowing it by heart. Have yours on hand. 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
*Thank you to Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina for hosting our stay!