On the edge of the Gaslamp Quarter, just blocks from dozens of dining and nightlife options, the 10-story Kimpton Solamar San Diego offers convenience along with chic contemporary style. The hotel’s spacious rooftop terrace, which features a pool, fire pits, and a bar, has quite the scene on sunny days and balmy evenings.
Kimpton Solamar completed an $8-million overhaul in 2016. The hotel’s new look nods to contemporary Spanish style. Think woven vinyl headboards and a bold mix of geometric patterns and vibrant pops of color, with an emphasis on violet hues. Some rooms feature Jacuzzi tubs or rooftop terrace access.
Move over, minimalism. Kimpton Solamar’s bathrooms max out with Mexican tile-inspired wall coverings, surfboard-inspired mirrors, a black stone sink, and a bold brass light fixture. Some rooms feature subway tile-clad tubs.
Solamar, the first Southern California outpost of the Kimpton boutique hotel brand, was designed to look like an old brick warehouse to fit in with the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Like the exterior, the recently renovated lobby mixes classic and contemporary elements. The wood beam ceiling and chandeliers nod to Spanish colonial style, while contemporary art and colors keep things fresh.
The hotel’s rooftop Solamar Terrace, accessible by private elevator, features a heated pool in an oasis-like space with contemporary white chaises, cabanas, chic wire chairs, and a shaded outdoor banquette in royal blue with bright yellow pillows. The terrace also includes several fire pits and the hotel’s Upper East bar.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Though the pool is just for guests (or non-guests who splurge on a poolside chaise or cabana rental), the terrace gets pretty packed. The party vibe can put a damper on relaxing.
The small gym features two elliptical machines, two bikes, one treadmill, a circuit machine, free weights, and (wait for it) hula hoops.
Consider borrowing a hotel bike or asking about local running paths. Why hang out in a hotel gym when it’s 70 and sunny outside?
In an attractive space with large black-paned windows framing bustling street views, the hotel’s Jsix restaurant focuses on fresh, sustainable fare that celebrates local produce. The kitchen even grows herbs on the hotel’s rooftop terrace.
San Diego is easiest explored by car, but public transit is still a great option. You can catch the San Diego Trolley at the Convention Center, a five-minute walk from the hotel. The trolley’s Green Line services Little Italy and Old Town. Buses also service San Diego’s many attractions; visit Metropolitan Transit System for up-to-date schedules and maps, as well as real-time arrival info. To explore the coastal communities to the north of Downtown, hop off the trolley at the 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 Downtown; app-based car services like Lyft are also a popular option.
To start your day (or nurse a hangover), the Broken Yolk (1-minute walk) is a local favorite, with large servings of classic diner eats like omelets, pancakes, and breakfast burritos. Though part of a chain, the Oceanaire Seafood Room (1-minute walk) has a dining room with a luxury cruise ship vibe and a seafood-centric menu that’s made it a popular dining option. Don’t miss the oyster bar happy hour, which features $1 oysters that are among the best in town.
When it comes to nightlife, the Gaslamp Quarter district has something for everyone. Committed clubbers can hit up four dance clubs in a single night for $25 on the guided Club Crawl San Diego that lets you bypass lines and includes cover charges and drink specials. One stop is at Omnia (30-second walk), the San Diego outpost of the Vegas megaclub, just across from the Solamar. For a fancy cocktail at a speakeasy-style bar, hit up Noble Experiment, a hip spot with a trendy design that includes tufted white leather banquettes and an entire wall of gold ceramic skulls.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Kimpton Solamar offers contemporary boutique style and a convenient Gaslamp location. The Instagram-worthy rooftop terrace, which features a pool, chic chaises and cabanas, and a lively bar, is definitely a perk in perpetually sunny San Diego.