Set on Harbor Island, right on the water, the sprawling Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina has two buildings, the Bay Tower and the Harbor Tower. There’s a catch: The pair of towers are completely separate, requiring a 7-minute walk (or free shuttle ride) to get to one from the other. Between them, the contemporary hotels have a lot to offer, including jaunty nautical decor, rooms with balconies and panoramic views of the city skyline and bay, three pools, on-site dining and drinking options, a spa, and a private marina with watersports rentals. The Sheraton, which is a short walk from several visit-worthy restaurants on Harbor Island, is a 3-minute shuttle ride from the airport and a 15-minute drive from the Gaslamp Quarter. The hotel is also close to San Diego’s cruise ship terminal, making the hotel an ideal place to bookend a cruise vacation.
The Port of San Diego runs a waterfront shuttle servicing hotels and attractions along the bayfront, including the USS Midway Museum and Seaport Village. It’s $3 per day with unlimited on-and-off privileges.
Bright rooms riff on nautical flags with blue accent walls and chairs with a few accents of red, including throw pillows and geometric red-and-white flag prints that look like contemporary art. Floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors open to private balconies that overlook a variety of views, including the marina, the bay, Coronado Island, and the city skyline -- they're best from the upper floors, natch. Rooms in the Bay Tower tend to be more spacious.
Dogs are welcome at the Sheraton and can walk their humans on the paved trails that line Harbor Island. It's a cat-free zone though.
Bathrooms continue the nautical theme, with navy-and-white ticking-stripe wallpaper, pivot mirrors, chrome-and-marble apothecary sinks, and white subway-tiled shower-bathtub combos.
The Sheraton’s lobby calls to mind the gleaming wood interior of a classic sailboat, with an exposed curved beam ceiling in the foyer and polished woodwork throughout the large space. Sailboat art hangs behind the reception desks.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If you're at the hotel for a conference, try to get a room in the same hotel as your meeting. The towers are far enough apart that you'd have to sprint if you wanted to pop back to your room during a quick break.
Between the two hotel towers, there are three pools. The Bay Tower has a pool and hot tub with views of the marina. At the Marina Tower, the family-friendly Lagoon Pool (and hot tub) offers seasonal poolside activities like ping-pong and the summertime “Dive-In Movies” series. For adults, the poolside Shoreline bar serves cold beer and cocktails. The Marina Tower also features the Lanai Pool, an eco-friendly “cool pool” that’s not heated during the off months, though the Lanai pool area’s hot tub remains at the perfect soaking temperature year-round.
The Sheraton’s coastal-chic Island Breeze Spa offers massages, facials, and body skincare treatments.
The hotel’s fitness center features cardio machines (elliptical, cross trainers, treadmills, and Lifecycles), strength-training machines, and free weights.
The Sheraton’s grounds include tennis courts, a basketball court, and a sailing and watersports rentals provider. There are also jogging trails along Harbor Island.
At the Marina Tower, the hotel’s signature restaurant, Harbor’s Edge, features expansive views of the marina and a menu focused on contemporary American cuisine.
Sheraton Club member? The hotel’s posh Club Lounge, on the top floor of the Marina Tower with views for days, offers a complimentary breakfast and afternoon hors d’oeuvres.
Quinn’s mooring is a lively sports bar that serves craft beer and cocktails.
If you’re visiting San Diego without a car, the $3 Port of San Diego shuttle stops at Seaport Village, where you’ll find the Seaport Village Trolley Station. The San Diego 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. If you’re hoping to hit up places like SeaWorld and San Diego’s many beaches, it’s easiest to have a car. It’s a 10-minute drive to Interstate 5, a major north-south freeway -- follow North Harbor Drive east and turn left on Grape Street for the on-ramp. I-5 connects to other highways that cover the area.
Harbor Island is home to a handful of highly rated restaurants. On the very west end of the peninsula, the landmark Tom Ham’s Lighthouse (3-minute drive or 10-minute walk) is a San Diego classic replete with a functioning lighthouse, a large outdoor deck, panoramic bay views, and a seafood-centric menu. The Lighthouse's popular Sunday brunch features a seafood buffet and bottomless champagne. On the very east end, the upscale Island Prime (5-minute drive or 15-minute walk) overlooks the city skyline and Coronado Island. Featuring classic dishes like Oysters Rockefeller, Escargot en Croute, BLT wedges, and prime cuts, the elegant restaurant has a throwback feel, but the exquisite cuisine is also creative and modern. Reservations are recommended.
On Harbor Island, it’s slim pickings for bars, though Island Prime has a happy hour with creative craft cocktails like The Scallywag and The Desi Arnaz. From the Sheraton, it’s a 10-minute drive to Shelter Island, a tiki lovers paradise. At the Bali Hai (10-minute drive) the Polynesian decor extends inside the restaurant, which is located on the scenic bay with views of the city skyline. The Bali Hai’s bar serves a mean mai tai. Visiting during summer? The tropical-inspired Humphreys Half Moon Inn (10-minute drive) hosts Humphreys Concerts by the Bay, with acts ranging from Fleet Foxes and Weird “Al” Yankovic to Toto and Joan Baez. From the outdoor seating, you can see the bay -- many locals watch the concerts from the water floating in kayaks and inner tubes.
WHY WE LIKE IT
With two towers, nautical-chic decor, bay and city views, and tons of amenities, the Sheraton makes a solid home base for exploring the city. There’s something for everyone: Boating and water-sports enthusiasts will appreciate the private marina with rentals, families will dig the kid-friendly activities, and leisure travelers will enjoy lounging by the pools or relaxing at the spa. The hotel is also conveniently located if you have a car or don’t mind relying on shuttles and public transit.