In the heart of San Diego’s Old Town, the birthplace of California, this Best Western Plus provides comfortable digs in an attractive Spanish Colonial Revival-style setting with colorful courtyards and landscaped grounds. Perched on a hillside, the hotel overlooks palm tree-dotted hills, a sliver of ocean, and twinkling city lights. Perks include a family-friendly pool and easy access to public transit.
History buffs will definitely dig this part of San Diego. In 1769, Old Town was California’s first settlement, with little more than a mission and a fort. Look for the 1840s-era California Gold Rush water wheel out front of the hotel.
Standard rooms are comfortable but basic, with dark furniture, colorful artwork, Southwestern accents, and white bedding with crimson accents. Wood shutters are a nice touch.
YOU SHOULD KNOW You’re not staying here for the trendy room décor.
Bathrooms have terracotta floor tiles and a mosaic-tiled bath-shower combo.
The handsome lobby features architectural details like an exposed wood beam ceiling, wood shutters, and a large stone fireplace. Dark leather armchairs with Southwestern pillows, a large antique rug, and an old map of Baja California give the space a lived-in, authentic feel. The outdoor spaces are equally inviting, landscaped with palm trees and dazzling bougainvillea and dotted with courtyards, fountains, and patio tables.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There are a lot of stairs and elevators at this hotel. So many stairs and elevators.
The hotel’s pool is bordered by tall palm trees and colorful chaises and umbrellas. There’s also a hot tub.
The hotel’s nondescript gym has a few cardio machines, as well as free weights and core strength-training equipment.
The hotel offers the usual Best Western free breakfast spread (waffles, toast, yogurt, cereal, fruit, juice, and coffee or tea).
There’s no bar but 21-and-up guests are welcomed at the start of their stay with a complimentary margarita.
San Diego is easiest explored by car, but public transit is still a doable option. You can catch the San Diego Trolley at the Old Town Transit Center, a 5-minute walk from the Hacienda Hotel. The trolley’s Green Line services Little Italy, Seaport Village, the Gaslamp Quarter, and the Convention Center. Also at the Old Town Transit Center are trains that run north, including the Coaster train, which stops in the coastal communities of Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside; Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner keeps going north through L.A. and beyond. Buses that service San Diego’s attractions also stop at the transit center; visit Metropolitan Transit System’s website for up-to-date schedules and maps, as well as real-time arrival info.
First things first: Old Town is on the touristy side, including a lot of the restaurants. Also, most of the food is Mexican or Mexican-ish (not a bad thing, if you ask us). But there are a few places that stand out, including the upscale El Agave Restaurant and Tequileria (6-minute walk), which features classy, vibrant traditional Mexican décor. The restaurant serves exquisite regional Mexican fare alongside an extensive selection of high-end tequilas. Casa Guadalajara (7-minute walk) is a casual Mexican option with family-friendly favorites like enchiladas, chimichangas, and chips and guacamole. The tortillas are made fresh twice daily. The décor is loud and the mariachis festive.
You’ll find plenty of places to throw back a drink or two in Old Town. The very popular Café Coyote (2-minute walk), which serves tasty Mexican food and offers ample outdoor seating, has delicious frosty margaritas and also stocks about 100 tequilas that deserve to be sipped solo. Mariachi bands add to the lively vibe. If you’ve had enough with the agave-based beverages, Old Town Saloon (1-minute walk) is a brick cantina meant to resemble an old cowboy bar where you’ll find stiff drinks and sports on TV. (Note: If nightlife is your jam, you should consider staying in a different part of town.)
WHY WE LIKE IT
Just steps from Old Town’s historic landmarks, this mid-range Best Western Plus has a lot going for it, including a lovely Spanish Colonial Revival setting, a family-friendly pool, and easy access to public transit. The Hacienda Hotel is also a 10-minute drive from SeaWorld, the Gaslamp Quarter, and several popular beaches.