Porto Vista Hotel & Suites

1835 Columbia St., San Diego, California, 92101, United States

AnnaMaria Stephens

Porto Vista Hotel isn’t perfect, but it does have a prime location and the price is right. Just steps from the heart of San Diego’s bustling Little Italy neighborhood, the contemporary hotel has a top-floor bar with a patio and bay views. Rooms are on the small, dark, and dated side -- and some are definitely nicer than others -- but Porto Vista is a solid choice if you don’t plan to spend much time there. The hotel offers a free shuttle to and from the airport, and it’s a 5-minute walk from the hotel to the Little Italy trolley station, which makes getting around San Diego without a car a lot easier. The valet parking rates are also notably low compared to other hotels in the urban core.

With water views, a steady harbor breeze, and no real hills, Little Italy is San Diego’s most walkable neighborhood. The pedestrian-friendly streets are lined with restaurants, shops, and bars.


Porto Vista is housed in a cool contemporary building, but the rooms are a mixed bag. There are efforts at hip decor, like floor-to-ceiling wall murals of vintage Vespas and other Italian shout-outs, but the overall style is a bit inconsistent. Some rooms have larger windows, wet bars, balconies, or views; others are more den-like.


Like the rooms, the hotel’s bathrooms have a variety of layouts and offerings. Some are run-of-the-mill, some have odd layouts, and some are a little luxe with marble and jetted tubs.


The small lobby, which features contemporary architectural elements like wood and concrete, has a few chairs. Mostly it’s just a place to check in.


A small gym features a treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical cross-trainer, strength-training machine, and free weights. The hotel offers rooftop yoga for a fee.


Porto Vista’s top-floor Glass Door Restaurant is the best part of the hotel, with expansive windows framing a panoramic view of the city skyline and San Diego Bay. When weather permits -- which is almost always -- guests can dine outside on a narrow patio with a long line of barstools that all face the water. Try to snag a hotel rate that includes a complimentary breakfast. The Glass Door is a lovely, breezy spot to start the day.


Featuring a collection of colorful, mismatched lanterns hanging from the ceiling and a bank of black-paned windows, the Glass Door has a stylish bar for sipping on cocktails while staring at the view.

If it’s a clear day, find out what time sunset is and head up to the bar a little while before the sun starts to dip down toward the horizon. You won’t be disappointed.


Getting Around

You can catch the San Diego Trolley at the Little Italy Station, a 6-minute walk from Found Hotel. 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.


Little Italy’s walkable streets are lined with stylish boutiques and eateries. Of course, Italian food is the star here, and you’ll find plenty of options, including the casual Filippi’s Pizza Grotto (2-minute walk), a local favorite since 1950, which serves hearty Italian fare like pasta and pizzas topped with the perfect amount of cheese. For a more upscale experience, the urban-chic Bencotto (2-minute walk) -- which means “well cooked” -- is housed in a Dwell-worthy modern building by local 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 (5-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 (5-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 (5-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).


Finding a hotel in San Diego with rates around the $100 mark isn’t easy, especially one in a hip, walkable neighborhood like Little Italy. With amenities such as a free airport shuttle, relatively cheap valet parking, and a top-floor bar with some of the best views in the neighborhood, Porto Vista is a solid, affordable choice, even if the rooms aren’t noteworthy.


Pet Friendly
Local Flavor


Phones: 619-544–0164

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