Two weeks in San Diego and La Jolla

Old Nov 27th, 2008, 10:42 AM
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Two weeks in San Diego and La Jolla

Who: Just me for the first week; joined by a dear friend and her two adult daughters for the second week.
Why: The first week was a business convention and the second week was just for fun.
Where we stayed: I stayed at the Hotel Sofia on Broadway. The location is excellent. I had easy access to the bus or trolley; but, primarily I walked everywhere. The weather was gorgeous and brisk. I stayed at the Sofia in January and posted a review on tripadvisor at the time. To update, housekeeping has improved significantly. It is very thorough and done promptly during the day. The rooms are quite small (if there are more than one to a room I recommend an upgrade to a suite). The rooms have minifridge and coffee makers. While the rooms are well designed to utilize the available space, the baths and closets are very small. The internet access in the rooms is around $12. per day, but there are three computers in the lobby the use of which is free. Free wireless is also available in the lobby. The gym is small but well equipped for its size (free weights, two treadmills, two ellipticals, two stability balls,a couple of resistance machines and medicine balls). There are plenty of towels and a pitcher of water with orange slices. I suggested (and management agreed to provide) an emergency telephone, cleaning wipes or spray for equipment and fresh water. The lobby is arranged in attractive conversational groupings and the fireplaces are very nice. The bar is first rate, but the restaurant, Currant, was not the success it had been when I visited in January. I may have just hit them on an off day, but service and food were both of low quality. I understand there has been a change of ownership.
The best quality of the Sofia is the courteous and professional reception staff. They really do go the extra mile to make the guests at home. Ron and Brian are reception but they function as concierges as well, and they do an excellent job.
I did not take the free walking tour this visit having done it in January. I highly recommend it. Although the area is interesting, you will miss quite a bit without a guide!
In La Jolla I stayed in an oceanview room in the original building of the Grande Colonial. It is an historic building and so the small size of the rooms (almost generous compared to the Sofia) was not a surprise. They are very attractively furnished and there is free internet access from the rooms. Fresh bottled water is provided daily. Shortly after my arrival I stopped by the concierge's desk for some suggestions about which beach to use. Thank goodness I made this stop and met the very helpful Lydia. She is really service committed. I am one of those people who want their coffee as soon as they wake up. I do not like having to go to the lobby (where coffee is available from 0600-0630) or order room service ($7.00 for two cups of coffee, plus $2.50 delivery charge). Lydia arranged for coffee making equipment to be put in my room. This immediately lifted my spirits. She also arranged for additional hangers (four for two women is not enough), a small refrigerator, and maps. I greatly appreciated her assistance.
An ocean view room costs roughly $100 more than a room without. It was a lovely view and I loved hearing the sounds of the waves at night.
The Grande Colonial is located very conveniently. The staff from the valet/bellmen to desk to housekeeping (thank you, Guillermo, for all the special touches...and extra chocolates!) is professional, polished, and friendly.
Where I/we ate in San Diego:
Breakfast was at the St. Tropez which was recommended by the front desk of the Sofia. It was considerably cheaper than any of the hotel restaurants and very quick service.
I had one lunch at a bar in the Hard Rock Hotel (because of the convention every thing was packed and we had to take what we could). Although the food was fine, it was very expensive. Another lunch was at the Tin Fish. I highly recommend this for a quick and reasonably priced meal. The third day several of us took the ferry over to Coronado and had a marvelous breakfast buffet, which held us for the day, at the Hotel Del Coronado. While we ate we were treated to an airshow, military planes in practice for the Veterans' Day celebrations planned for the next morning. I recommend this highly. The food was very fresh and well prepared, service was polished and professional, and it was about $23.
Several of my dinners were group meals connected with the convention. One night a few of us met some friends with children. We had planned to go to the Prado, which I love, only to find it was closed. At the suggestion of the front desk we went to La Fiesta on 5th. It was OK and the kids were happy. We also tried to go to Blue Pointe, but it opened too late for us (we were still on Eastern time) so we went to Dakota. Dakota is very good for a casual business dinner with a wide range of choices. A stop at Ghiradellis afterwards was a treat!
Meals in La Jolla:
I found The Cottage my first morning and it was such a good fit, I returned every day. I tried several of their omlettes and my friends sampled the granola, waffles and french toast. Every single meal was a success!
We had a late dinner at the Living Room which is not terribly appealing from the street but which turned out to be just fine. Salads, sandwiches and the like.
Our best meals were Prado, George's at the Cove,and a return visit to the Del. We had appetizers at Nine/Ten the hotel's restaurant. They were fine but I hated the staff attitude. The main menu was pretty eclectic. It is quite highly rated. In my opinion, George's is the best. I had a great dinner there and the Ocean Terrace was a lovely place for a meal.
My first week I enjoyed my visit to Coronado and walking on the waterfront area. Most of my time was spent with convention activities. The second week we did a couple of beach days at Del Mar, visited Balboa Park, which is simply fabulous, went to the Zoo, and toured the area. without a doubt my favorite activity was the early morning walks along the water in La Jolla. The weather was just perfect. The seals, sea lions and birds were most entertaining. The views were enchanting.
This is a beautiful area of the USA and one which everyone should see!
Thank you to all the Fodors posters who helped me with my pretrip questions!
cmcfong is offline  
Old Nov 27th, 2008, 02:29 PM
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book marking for next years trip. thanks
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Old Nov 27th, 2008, 07:38 PM
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Nice report cmcfong, you're right La Jolla is beautiful. You've made me want to tour my own town.

They've opened a Living Room in La Jolla?
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Old Nov 27th, 2008, 08:19 PM
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Great report, cmcfong.

LSky- I think the La Jolla Living Room may have been the original one....I remember one near the intersection of Girard and Prospect from over 10 years ago, I think.
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Old Nov 28th, 2008, 02:53 AM
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ncounty is right on the money. The Living Room is almost next door to the Grande Colonial.
LSky and ncounty, you are lucky to have that golden area at your doorstep.
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Old Nov 30th, 2008, 01:14 PM
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cmcfong- thanks for the trip report. Makes me want to go back to SD for a trip!
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Old Jan 25th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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ttt for escargot
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Old Jan 25th, 2009, 03:47 PM
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cmcfong thanks !! great notes to digest and help in my planning tomorrow - your're a gem, thanks again -
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Old Mar 21st, 2009, 08:27 PM
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ttt

cmcfong, thanks for this report as I'm toying with staying in La Jolla over memorial weekend.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 02:25 PM
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Beachgirl, it was lovely. Do go! Glad it worked for you, escargot. I look forward to your report.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 03:53 PM
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bookmarking for future reference. Thanks!
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