cool hotel San Diego

Top 12 cool and unusual hotels in San Diego 2021

One of the most open, smog-free and sunniest cities in the whole of the USA, San Diego – located on California’s Pacific coast – beguiles and charms many of its hundreds of thousand visitors. Feeling more like a collection of ultra-hip neighbourhoods each with its own character and personality, the affluent ocean-orientated city is famously laid-back and easy going in a cool surfer dude kind of way. With beautiful bronzed residents, a hip and lively downtown area, a strong Spanish and Mexican influence and miles of beautiful coastline, San Diego is the cool must-see city destination in California. Planning a stay? Here are the coolest and most unique hotels in San Diego (in no particular order)…

Tower23 – cool and funky beachside retreat

Just a 1-minute walk from the beach, the 4-star exceptionally rated Tower23 combines minimalist design with sleek sophistication. Perfect for anyone wanting to take part in a huge array of beach based activities including surfing and whale watching, this cool and funky San Diego hotel located right on the beach overlooking the ocean. Offering a unique boutique hotel experience with a glass panelled exterior, guests can enjoy pristine ocean views from their private balconies or patios, as well as clean and modern design packed full of high-end amenities. Suites offer extra living spaces and some have cool whirlpool tubs. Relaxing as you want it to be, or as tech ready as you are, the hotel is situated in the exclusive resort community of La Jolla, and its unique architecture gives it iconic status on the waterfront. The JRDN restaurant offers sushi and Californian light bites overlooking the Pacific Beach – wonderful!

  • Prices from $200 per night.
  • To book, check prices or availability for Tower23 

Hotels and Airbnbs in Tower23

Andaz San Diego – the place to be seen!

Famous for its swish suites with mirrored floors and plush beds, the 4-star exceptionally rated Andaz Hotel San Diego is geared to a fun loving crowd and a stay at this sleek and sexy San Diego hotel is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Attracting guests who are into velvet-rope exclusivity, the Andaz aims to please. Home to its very own RoofTop600 nightclub, evening DJs at weekends and a stylish rooftop restaurant/bar and swimming pool this is the place to be seen!  Here you can dine at The Rooftop by STK restaurant and bar and enjoy artisan cocktails mixed for you by your own dedicated server. Located in the historic and popular Gaslamp Quarter, you will be right on top of one of the West Coast’s premier entertainment district full of unique shops and eateries. The Andaz is decadent and opulent and easily one of the coolest hotels in San Diego!

Hotels and Airbnbs in Andaz San Diego

The Pearl Hotel – hip, retro boutique

Close to San Diego Bay, the very highly rated Pearl Hotel is a sweet little boutique hotel that has a playful 1960s atmosphere and offers plenty of fabulous retro Californian touches. This vintage mid-century modern hotel is a hip, cool and cost-effective alternative to the bigger chain hotels available in the city. Bedrooms have quirky features like mirrored ceilings or private patios, and the pool is the heart of the hotel in a traditional Southern California kind of way. You can catch the week “Dive-In Theatre Cinema Social” and join fellow guests to watch a movie around the outdoor screen by the pool, or stay and enjoy snacks and beers and unlimited conversation. A short drive away from the Gaslamp Quarter, The Pearl offers friendly, cute and uber cool San Diego accommodation that is still close enough to get involved with big city life. Guests at the hotel can also easily visit Fort Rosecrans Military Reserve and National Cemetery as well as Point Loma Lighthouse.

  • Prices from $90 per night.
  • To book, check prices or availability for The Pearl Hotel

Hotels and Airbnbs in The Pearl Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel – chic rock ‘n’ roll-themed hotel

The Hard Rock chain is alive and well in San Diego and the 4-star much loved Hard Rock Hotel San Diego is a fine example of just why they are so popular. Home to the trendy 207 nightclub with live DJs, Float rooftop bar with cool fire pits, a contemporary spa, Mary Jane’s Diner and popular Nobu Japanese restaurant, this is a real resort destination for visitors looking to stay in the centre of it all in the Gaslamp Quarter. Close to PETCO Park and the San Diego Convention Centre, as well as a host of other downtown attractions, the Hard Rock is fun both inside and out. With smart, sleek rockstar bedrooms complete with high-thread-count sheets and rainfall showers (suites offer Juliet balconies and whirlpool tubs) and a real sense of glitzy glamour throughout, this hip San Diego hotel is a sight to behold!

Hotels and Airbnbs in Hard Rock Hotel

Kimpton Hotel Palomar – sleek, chic and trendy

Located in San Diego’s trendy Gaslamp Quarter, this sleek and funky upscale hotel (part of the ever popular Kimpton chain) offers polished accommodation for the discerning traveller. Recently renovated, this contemporary urban hotel is within easy reach of all of San Diego’s hotspots. The communal space and lounge area at the 4-star exceptionally rated Palomar Hotel are effortlessly cool, while the stylish bedrooms are delightfully well thought out and totally chic in every way. The Palomar also offers its very own Curadero Mexican street food restaurant complete with late-night Taco bar, as well as a massage service, the Level Four rooftop pool, sundeck, hot tub and bar where you can sip cocktails whilst enjoying views out across the beautiful Californian city.

The Keating – bold, funky and very cool

Offering Soho style mixed with a Californian chill, the 4-star highly rated Keating Hotel is a downtown hotel that has been configured by the Italian motorcar designers, Pininfarina. With plenty of design nods to the red and black styling synonymous with Ferrari, the chic and trendy San Diego accommodation offers a luxury boutique experience like no other. Housed in a Romanesque Revival-style property dating from 1890, it features open plan spaces, large airy bedrooms with extensive design features like concrete floors and cylindrical baths, and amenities like Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems, iPod docks, minibars and espresso machines, in-room spa treatments (for a fee) and high-thread-count sheets.

It’s very own Fresca Spa suite, the Keating is opulent in an American-Italian type of way and there’s even an onsite burlesque club, jacuzzi and a 24-hour personal concierge service. Located in the Gaslamp Quarter, this hotel is close to the Balboa Theatre, the San Diego Convention Centre and hip bars, shops and restaurants galore.

The Pendry Hotel – luxury with a unique style

Located downtown in the heart of the Historic Gaslamp Quarter, 4-star exceptionally rated The Pendry Hotel is within easy reach of the San Diego Convention Centre and Petco Park, as well as a world of Californian bars, restaurants, shops and attractions. A hip San Diego hotel with a definite lean towards the creative side of life, the Pendry offers a heady mix of the modern and the traditional, pairing classic Southern Californian charm and hospitality with all the modern luxury and conveniences you could ever wish for. The bedrooms offer calming coastal colour schemes teamed with vintage furnishings, while the fitness room, spa and communal areas are as modern as can be. Opt for a suite and you can expect wet bars and sitting areas, and some have kitchens and dining areas. Also featuring a collection of no less than six unique restaurants and bars, a modern spa, an ultra-cool rooftop swimming pool and a fitness centre, the Pendry is a resort destination hotel that you may never want to leave!

Hotel Indigo – bright, fun and funky

Just a short walk from the Gaslamp Quarter, and 10-minutes from the San Diego Convention Centre, the 4-star highly rated Indigo Hotel offers plush, comfortable accommodation. Bedrooms at this funky San Diego hotel are modern, bright and cosy and offer hardwood floors, plush beds and glass-walled showers with teak benches. Superior rooms come with bathtubs and overlook the popular rooftop bar that offers fabulous views over the city, whilst offering an extensive cocktail, beer and wine menu. The Indigo also prides itself on its LEED certification and dedicated to the environment making it a great choice for guests interested in going green. Add in an in-house all-day restaurant, a gym and a rooftop cocktail bar overlooking PETCO Park with weekend DJs and you have yourself a pretty funky stay in the sunny Californian city! 

Hotel Republic – hip, stylish and sophisticated

An upscale lifestyle hotel close to the popular central Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, and the bayfront, the 4-star highly rated Hotel Republic (part of the prestigious Autograph Collection) is an opulent and prestigious redesigned city centre destination. Its fabulous rooftop bar is popular with locals and visitors alike, and with three dining options to choose from in the chic San Diego hotel alone, the Republic has plenty to offer everyone. Rooms are stylish and contemporary, and communal spaces are beautifully decorated. The modern onsite fitness centre is well equipped and perfect for exercising off all that delicious overindulgence during your stay!

Sofia hotel – chic wellbeing city retreat

Nestled in downtown San Diego, close to the Gaslamp Quarter, the highly rated Sofia Hotel is a spa hotel that offers relaxing accommodation in the heart of the city. Bedrooms are adorned with fine art and decorative wallpaper, and superior rooms offer soaking spa tubs with jets. The swish San Deigo hotel focuses very much on the health and spa experiences that if offers, and The Harkishan Yoga Studio and Health Centre are open all day, every day for visitors to use as and when they want to. They also offer loaner urban bikes for 2 wheeled explorations of the city, and 60 minutes Gaslamp Walkabout tours that depart from the hotel every Saturday and Sunday at 9 am. The Currant American Brasserie with an elegant dining room and an outdoor terrace serves lunch and dinner along with 2 daily Happy Hours. A tranquil zen-like oasis in the city!

Hotel Z – fun and trendy mid range hotel

Located in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, the highly rated Hotel Z is within an easy walking distance of Petco Park, the San Diego Convention Centre and a wide array of shops, bars and restaurants. Part of the popular cute/kitsch StayPineapple Hotels group, the Z offers bright, clean, contemporary accommodation as well as beach cruisers and a local shuttle service to the city’s most popular attractions. There is no bar or restaurant onsite, but in this fantastic location, you certainly won’t go hungry. The Z also challenges its visitors to try out its very own “Naked Experience” meaning that the hotel is so clean you will have no hesitations to sleep naked between the sheets!

Cosmopolitan Hotel – quirky nostalgic chic

If you fancy staying somewhere completely different, the 4-star highly rated Cosmopolitan Hotel offers character and history in spades.! A grand 1870s Californian residence has been transformed into a Victorian-style hotel complete with private dining rooms and a historic saloon. Every part of the hotel is elegantly appointed with antique furnishings from the 1860s and 1870s, and with just 10 rooms on offer, the quirky San Diego abode offers a unique and intimate experience. Rooms that take you back in time and some offer claw-foot tubs, balconies and/or fireplaces, there’s an on-site restaurant and a bar with outdoor seating in an orchard courtyard and a saloon room bursting with décor from the Old West. This unusual one-in-million kind of hotel is situated in the heart of Old Town San Diego, meaning you won’t need a stagecoach to find your way around the city.

Wolf of Wall Street Penthouse – fun and filmed themed

Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, the Wolf of Wall Street Penthouse is a fun themed self-catering apartment that can accommodate up to 12 guests. Offering air conditioning and free WiFi, the unique and quirky San Diego abode is beautifully decorated and designed and has plenty of pictures and references to the film of the same name. Enjoy a drink with the Wolf at the white leather in-home bar, or relax and enjoy the use of the hot tub available onsite. There are also shared swimming pool and barbecue facilities for visitors to the apartment, and the location makes it easy for visitors to explore all the biggest and best attractions the city has to offer. Way up high, the views from the private balcony are stunning and stretch out for miles.

Goodfellas Penthouse – film themed apartment

Located in downtown San Diego, The Goodfellas Penthouse is a self-catering apartment close to the San Diego Convention Centre. Cleverly designed and featuring giant wall murals and quotes from the famous film of the same name, Goodfellas is a unique and unusual Pied a Terre that offers easy access to the city. With 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, this deluxe penthouse pad has its own private balcony with uninterrupted views that stretch out for miles. If you want to get your Goodfellas on, and are a fan of the film, you simply won’t find better than this cool and unique San Diego accommodation located in the heart of the city.

The Rancho Valencia – upscale Spanish style gem

Set amongst the acres of olive groves of North San Diego County, the 5-star exceptionally rated Rancho Valencia is an ultra-lush resort that offers luxurious and spacious California-style bungalows. Offering a Mediterranean style ambiance, each of the hacienda-style suites offers upmarket sophistication and more than a touch of luxury.

A brilliant choice if you are really looking to get away from it all, each suite offers a private patio and open fire, flat-screen TVs, stereo systems, high thread counts and upgraded suites offer a private outdoor pool and a hot tub. The communal facilities are also first-class – spend time on the tennis courts, in the wine bar, or work out in the yoga pavilion, fitness center or bocce ball court/croquet lawn, before enjoying coastal-ranch cuisine in the critically acclaimed Veladora restaurant. Luxury car rentals are complimentary – you won’t want to leave! 

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Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.

One Comment

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    Ekta Kapoor

    19 June, 2018 at 6:36 am

    This hotels are really beautiful with tasteful decor and lovely furnishings. There is no better place to take summer vacation than in San diego Cailfornia. This would surely be very useful for tourist looking for a unique ‘cool’ places to stay in while vacationing or visiting San diego. I look follow to lodging at the Kimpton hotel palomar in my next visit.

    Thanks Becky


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