From the sexy, lair-like lobby to the serene guestrooms and sceney rooftop bar, this recently renovated high-rise hotel in Downtown San Diego has a sophisticated take on Southern California style. From the style-minded Kimpton brand, Hotel Palomar features on-trend design details like rich, moody hues and shibori curtains and cushions. Surrounded by chaise lounges and seating, the fourth-floor pool is small but bordered by planted trees and perfect for soaking up a bit of sun. On warm nights, Palomar’s Level Four Pool Deck and Lounge has quite the scene. A late-night taco shop window at the hotel’s hip Mexican restaurant, Curadero, is open ‘til 1am.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Overnight valet parking is $49. That adds up fast. If you visit without a car, the trolley station is a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
Airy standard guestrooms have dramatic floor-to-ceiling cream tufted headboards with a wide border of gleaming chocolate-hued wood. Hardwood floors, crisp white European linens, warm contemporary decor, and accents of cream and blue complete the polished look. Spacious suites include features like balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame views all the way to Mexico. Big spenders can upgrade to the Skyline Collection. On floors 16 to 20, the Skyline pads have expansive views of Downtown and the bay, clean-lined contemporary decor, and modern California-coastal accents like shibori curtains and surfboard-inspired headboards.
Dog guests are always treated like VIPs at Kimpton hotels.
Contemporary bathrooms feature curved stone counters with a natural edge and tiled, walk-in showers with an overhead rain shower and a pebble floor border.
The dramatic contemporary lobby has dark wood columns with built-in lamps, a palette of moody hues, low-slung sofas and round ottomans in lustrous velvet and leather, and global accents. Striking details include a light feature under the stairs that resembles schools of slender fish swirling upwards.
The hotel’s pool, located on the fourth-floor pool deck, is small but surrounded by stylish contemporary chaise lounges, rattan chairs, and a privacy border of potted trees.
The hotel’s fitness center features a few cardio machines, weight machines, a big rack of free weights, and elastic bands and foam rollers.
Surprisingly good Mexican street food is on the menu at Curadero, the hotel’s in-house taquería and ceviche bar. The eatery’s hip decor includes exposed wood rafters, industrial seating, and a brick wall painted with floor-to-ceiling street-style Day of the Dead imagery. Upstairs you’ll find classic arcade games.
Curadero has a walk-up late-night taco shop window that’s open ‘til 1 am. This is so San Diego. On any given weekend, people pour out of bars around the city and head straight to the nearest corner taco shop.
By day, the wood-decked Level Four Rooftop Deck and Lounge is perfect for poolside morning mimosas. Tucked under a wood veranda, the tiled bar has stylish bar seating, and the deck itself has clusters of boho-tinged contemporary rattan chairs. At night, the scene picks up, and during the summer there are DJ’d pool parties.
With the City College Trolley Station a 10-minute walk from the hotel, guests can see a lot of sights without a car (though public transit is more time-consuming). The trolley’s Green Line services the Gaslamp Quarter, the Santa Fe Depot (home to Amtrak and the Coaster, which services coastal communities to the north), Little Italy, Old Town, and the world-class Fashion Valley shopping center. Interstate 5, a major north-south freeway, is about a mile from the hotel; I-5 connects to other highways that cover the sprawling region.
The decor at the Crab Hut (1-minute walk) is cheesy -- think life-preservers and a Jaws head mounted on the wall -- but the Southern-style food is spot-on. The restaurant’s specialty is spiced seafood boils by the pound. Plastic bags are stuffed with crab, lobster, and other shellfish and are seasoned with your choice of spice blends (the Full House is a favorite) and served with the traditional corn and potatoes. Rei Do Gado Brazilian Steakhouse (2-minute walk) is a carnivore’s dream. The churrascaria offers a selection of 14 grilled meats, and you can eat until you’re too stuffed to move if you feel like it.
It’s a two-minute walk to House of Blues (2-minute walk), a bar and music venue filled with an incredible collection of colorful outsider art. Music lovers should check the concert schedule in advance; HOB doesn’t feature big names, but showcases good bands nonetheless. You can hit up the bar without concert tickets. For something different, check out Trailer Park After Dark (3-minute walk). It’s ridiculously kitschy – think vintage trailers, barstools made out of shopping carts, plastic-covered armchairs, TV trays, and lawn furniture. It’s also ridiculously fun. Custom cocktails have names like ‘Murica Mule and Dickle My Pickle.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Design lovers will appreciate the swanky decor at Hotel Palomar. The high-rise boutique hotel on the edge of the Gaslamp Quarter has plenty of personality and perks like an outdoor pool with a lounge and a hip Mexican eatery. Palomar is close to public transit, as well as the area's more than 100 restaurants and bars.