Are you looking to travel somewhere different? Castle Dreams Travel Planner, Debbie, shares her recent trip to San Diego…
My husband and I are now “empty nesters” and lately most of our travel has been around watching my son play college baseball. But, when we were given the opportunity to spend Labor Day Weekend in the San Diego area, we decided it was time. We took 5 days to get away from the heat and really enjoyed both the Marina area and Coronado Island.
Day 1: We decided to fly instead of drive to San Diego. We were on a 1:30 Southwest Airlines flight out of Phoenix to San Diego. Upon arriving, one of the first things that I noticed was that San Diego airport was small. It took us very little time to get off the plane and pick up our luggage. Luggage came off the plane very quickly. Upon arrival we decided to “Uber” it to the San Diego Marriott Marquis at the Bay.
I checked both Uber and Lyft times/prices. For this trip we decided to use Uber. A note about Uber, for those who might not have used the service. When using Uber, you download their app to your smartphone. Many phones may have it preloaded in the applications, so check there before downloading. You then go on the app and request a car. Based on GPS information, Uber sends the closest Uber to your location. On the app you will be able to track them and know the type of car and the driver’s name.
With Uber, according to their website, they have several categories of cars. 1) Uber X; UberXL; Uber Black; Uber SUV; Uber Select; Uber LUX; etc. Most people use Uber X. In our case, we had some extra luggage (I never travel light) and I decided to order a Uber XL. It was a tad more expensive but not bad. A gentleman with a Honda Odyssey came to pick us up. It was about $15 for the ride from the airport to the hotel and then we tipped the driver.
Upon arrival at the Marriott, it was crazy. On the Friday of Labor Day Weekend, they were packed. Our Uber driver unloaded our bags and we walked in to the registration desk with our bags. We did not use the bell service, although, they were close by. Easier to roll our bags inside.
It took less than 5 minutes to check in. We were traveling with a few others and they had requested that we be close to each other. At the front desk they did ask me if that was okay and put us on the same floor.
The Marquis was gorgeous. The lobby is grand. The grounds are plush. The pool area is well kept. It was 3pm when we arrived and our room was ready. We ventured up to the room to find a magnificent view and a small balcony. All the balconies are basically the same – just enough room for 2 chairs.
At this hotel there are two towers. One tower has balconies and one tower does not. So, if you are traveling with others and you have different “views” you may not be able to be close to one another. You can get a city view or bay view without a balcony or one with a balcony. So, if one of you has a room with a balcony and one without, you will be in different towers. The question is – was it worth the bay view with a balcony? YES!!! There was a slight price difference, but for me, I would much rather look at the bay and the pool rather than look at Petco Park. I also light the higher floors, which I requested in my reservation.
After we settled in, we met our friends at the pool area. I put my toes in the pool, but being from Arizona, it was way too chilly for me. That said, our friends, also from Arizona were in the pool and enjoying themselves. They did, however, mention that the water was a little cool. After talking for a bit, they got out of the pool and we ventured over to the Tequila Bar and Grille, located outside by the pool. The food looked good, but we knew we were eating in Seaport Village area that night, so we decided to have a few drinks and homemade chips and salsa. I do have to say, everything was great. The service was good and we did enjoying the atmosphere. They also offer meals, all of which did look good. On the website it says guests can choose from “chef’s specialties, such as Panko-Crusted Fish Tacos and Carne Asada Fries, as well as gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.” They had firepits there, also, which were very busy at night. They also had live music when we were there and it was nice. While I didn’t try a cocktail, they did boost that they offer 50 different tequilas.
Room: The rooms were nice. We had one with two queen beds. There was a chair and side table, along with a very typical Marriott desk, light, TV, chest, etc. The bathroom was nice and the toiletries were top notch. I really liked the shampoo and conditioner here at the hotel. We did not spend a lot of time in the room, but it would have had ample room for us if we were traveling with our son. You can reserve a larger guest room, if you would like a bit more room. The normal guest room is 422 square feet, so larger than many hotel rooms. The thing to keep I mind is that the beds are doubles, NOT Queens. Since there just two of us, this worked fine. But, if you have two teens who are not small, this could be challenge. The photos on the hotel website are representative of the actual rooms. The rooms had all the amenities including a refrigerator.
Hotel Grounds and Pool: These were beautiful. The pool area was not themed other than tropical. But they had lots of chairs and loungers around the pool. The pool was also not spectacular but a nice pool. It was a little crowded, but it was Labor Day weekend.
Proximity to attractions: The hotel is located on the bay with immediate access to the marina there. It is also located right in front of where they hold their seasonal symphony concerts. We would see the set up from our balcony. If we had been there, we are sure we could have heard it, also. We did arrive back to the room just in time to view the fireworks that they shot off over the bay at the end of the concert. Very pretty.
Seaport Village: You are within walking distance to Seaport Village. This is a seaside village that has 45 different shops. They are unique and for the most part, they are “touristy” type of shops. There is a variety of clothing shops, souvenir shops, eye wear, shoes, etc. Lots for everyone. What I noticed most is that these shops are not air conditioned. So, since San Diego was under a heat advisory and having record heat/humidity, some of the shops were very “stuffy”: and down right “hot.” On a normal San Diego day, these shops would have been fine, but for me, I really like my air conditioning when shopping.
They also have LOTS of restaurants there in Seaport Village. The friends we were with had a tradition of eating at the Pier Café, so this was our choice. http://www.piercafe.com/
We were seated right away (there were 6 of us) and had a table that overlooked the bay. We got to see a magnificient San Diego sunset over the bay while we ate our dinner. The service was great. And, we all ordered the clam chowder in a bread bowl. It was really good and we enjoyed it. We also ordered calamari for appetizers and onion rings. I so enjoyed the onion rings. And, others said the calamari was great, too. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to others. Great view and good food. The price was also reasonable.
Once back at the hotel, after shopping and eating, we enjoyed the fireworks from the symphony and then went down by the pool area. We closed the pool bar down and enjoyed sitting on the lounge chairs just talking. The rest of our party continued the conversation in the hotel bar. They said the service was excellent here, too.
Overall, the experience on Day 1 at the San Diego Marriott Marquis was excellent. We would definitely go back again.