Fodor's Expert Review Hotel Republic San Diego
421 W. B St., San Diego, California, 92101, United States See on Map
Part of Marriott’s upscale Autograph Collection, the stylish Hotel Republic is a newcomer to San Diego -- sort of. The property used to be a W Hotel, but a recent top-to-bottom renovation completely transformed the place. The upscale urban hotel has a California coastal vibe, from the rooms that feature beach-inspired accents like driftwood-clad walls and local photography to the hip bar with nautical flags and a unique bottle display that stretches to the second floor. The hotel is located at the edge of Downtown and a short stroll from Little Italy. While it’s a 20-minute walk to the happening Gaslamp Quarter, the hotel is only a couple of blocks from the Santa Fe Depot, where you can catch a trolley to take you there. And Little Italy is San Diego’s most walkable neighborhood, with pedestrian-friendly streets lined with boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and bars.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Valet parking is a gasp-worthy $48 per day. Metered street parking is an option if you’ll be using your car during the day; it’s free between 6 pm and 8 am unless otherwise posted.
Urban-chic meets boho coastal at Hotel Republic, with stylish modern furniture, a palette of neutrals and grays with pops of sea blue, and beachy touches like a driftwood-clad accent wall, shibori throw pillows, original San Diego photography, and carpeting that resembles ocean currents. The hotel’s 362-square-foot standard rooms feature a king bed or two doubles.
Dig art? The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is also a couple of blocks from the hotel. The museum’s permanent collection includes many regional artists of note.
Bathrooms feature gray tile floors, marble counters, and subway tiled walk-in showers or shower-bathtub combos.
The lobby celebrates all things California, from live-edge redwood slice coffee tables to chandeliers hanging from the soaring ceiling that resemble spiny sea urchins. Kilim diamond carpeting in ocean blue complements the lobby’s stylish mix of furnishings that include boho rattan peacock seats and low-slung, worn-in leather armchairs with wood frames that nod to classic Mission style. Double-high windows flood the space with light, while a vintage California Republic flag and coastal and nautical accents remind you once again that you are in the Golden State. It’s the kind of scene that guarantees lots of likes on social media.
Also Californian? The signature beach cruisers you can rent from the hotel -- it’s a five-minute ride to the bayfront -- or even better, rent one of the hotel’s sky-blue electric scooters to zip around the waterfront and nearby neighborhoods.
Hotel Republic’s 24/7 fitness center features cardio equipment, and strength-training machines, and free weights.
Trade’s menu includes an extensive raw bar and California riffs on classics like day boat scallops and petit filet. The upscale eatery is also known for its craft cocktails and live music most Wednesdays and every Friday from 5 to 8 pm.
The hotel’s rooftop Topside Terrace Kitchen + Bar is a perfect spot for happy hour cocktails and nibbles. The lounge also serves an alfresco weekend brunch.
You can catch the San Diego Trolley at the Little Italy Station, a 5-minute walk from Hotel Republic. The trolley’s Green Line services the Gaslamp Quarter, Convention Center, Seaport Village, Old Town, and the Fashion Valley shopping center. Buses also service San Diego’s attractions. To explore the coastal communities to the north of Downtown, stroll to Little Italy’s historic Santa Fe Depot and catch the commuter Coaster train, which stops in Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside. You can usually catch a cab for shorter rides in the Downtown area; car services like Lyft are also a popular option.
In Downtown, closer to the Gaslamp Quarter, Tender Greens (5-minute walk) has seasonal, farm-to-table food and offers a build-your-own-plate option (pick a protein, a veggie, and a side), as well as salads, soups, and sandwiches. The classy Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant (5-minute walk) is famous for its mussel bisque, but the rest of the menu is great, too, with French-inflected dishes such as escargots, charcuterie, and cheese, and elegant entrees like roasted Texas quail and bistro chicken. Heading in the opposite direction, it’s a 10-minute walk from the hotel to walkable Little Italy. The urban-chic Bencotto (10-minute walk) -- which means “well cooked” -- is housed in a Dwell-worthy modern building by starchitect Jonathan Segal and serves exquisite Italian cuisine with sidewalk patio seating. Just down the street, Ironside Fish and Oyster (2-minute walk) has fabulous vintage-industrial decor and an extensive selection of seafood-focused dishes.
You’d better make reservations if you want to experience False Idol (10-minute walk), a hip secret tiki bar that’s hidden inside the Craft + Commerce gastropub. The dark, cozy bar -- which is packed to the bamboo rafters with tropical decor and bottles of rum -- serves strong tiki drinks in custom glassware. The Waterfront (10-minute walk) has been a local institution since 1933, a divey pub with cheap, stiff drinks and a reliably good burger. Craft beer lovers should head straight to Ballast Point Brewing (10-minute walk). The Little Italy location is the third outpost of the successful and ever-expanding local brewing company. Strong IPAs are a San Diego specialty and Ballast Point makes quite a few worthy ones available on draft (the Sculpin is a local fave).
WHY WE LIKE IT
If Pinterest-worthy style is an essential part of your boutique hotel experience, you can’t go wrong with the Hotel Republic, which has a cool California coastal vibe. You can find better amenities elsewhere, but the rooms are chic and comfy and the location between Downtown and Little Italy is especially convenient as a home base for exploring San Diego.
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