Fresh off a hip modern makeover, the Bristol Hotel is a stylish Downtown option that’s within walking distance of the Gaslamp Quarter and Santa Fe Train Depot. Inspired by the 1960s and the era’s bold pop art, the property’s playful new look includes unique touches like retro TV cabinets and bed throw pillows printed with a replica of a 1965 concert ticket stub from the Beatles’ first and only San Diego appearance. The pet-friendly boutique hotel keeps things current with amenities like free Wi-fi and an in-room service tablet. Another perk: The trolley is a short walk away.
Performing arts lovers, take note: From The Bristol, it’s a 5-minute walk to the San Diego Civic Theater and a 10-minute walk to Copley Symphony Hall.
The airy guestrooms at The Bristol take their Instagrammable design cues from the ‘60s, with Danish modern-inspired armchairs, pedestal and hexagon accent tables, and a palette of punchy pop-art hues. The decor feels on-trend but timeless, with hardwood floors and San Diego-specific touches like the Beatles concert ticket pillow and local artwork. Some rooms even feature a vinyl record player and a selection of tunes.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Valet is $32 a day, which is mid-range for San Diego's urban core.
From the funky mirror framed in sunny yellow to the bright white vertical tiles, bathrooms have a cheerful vibe that’s perfect for San Diego. Other stylish modern details include beech wood vanities, glass-enclosed showers, and wall art featuring Beatles and Beach Boys lyrics.
The Bristol’s lobby is an attractive mix of vintage and modern, with hardwood floors, elaborate moldings, a seating area with curved gray sofas and clubby chairs with white piping, and colorful pop art from the '60s. There’s also a grand piano.
The hotel allows up to two dogs for an additional $25 per day. Just don't leave them unattended.
The hotel’s new 9th-floor fitness center features treadmills, elliptical cross-trainers, stationary bikes, strength-training machines, free weights, and medicine balls.
The Bristol offers a complimentary continental breakfast.
The small Bristol Hotel bar, which features a gleaming wood bar with a few barstools, starts serving cocktails at 5 pm, with happy hour specials from 5 to 7 pm.
From The Bristol, it’s an 8-minute walk to San Diego’s historic Santa Fe Train Depot, where you’ll find Amtrak and the Coaster, a commuter train that services coastal communities to the north. The Santa Fe trolley hub connects to all three trolley lines. The Green Line is the most tourist-friendly, servicing the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, Old Town, and the world-class Fashion Valley shopping center. You can catch the Blue Line closer, at 2nd and C Streets, and transfer to the Green. Interstate 5, a major north-south freeway, is about a mile from the hotel; follow C Street east and turn left on 11th Avenue to reach the on-ramp. The I-5 connects to other highways that cover the sprawling region.
The Bristol is steps from dining options galore. Feeling fancy? The Grant Grill (1-minute walk) at the historic U.S. Grant Hotel has old-school charm -- think gleaming woodwork, white tablecloths, and dim lighting -- and an elegant menu that emphasizes seasonal fare and high-quality seafood and chops. It’s spendy and may feel a bit fussy to some, though brunch and lunch services are relatively low-key. For a cheaper and decidedly more laid-back option, the creative rolls and bento boxes at Sushi Deli 2 (1-minute walk) have made the casual eatery a favorite among locals. Just keep in mind that restaurants near The Bristol can get slammed with pre- and post-theater crowds.
Head to the Gaslamp Quarter for the best selection of bars. If The Field Irish Pub (10-minute walk) feels authentic, that’s because it is -- most of the dark, cozy pub was shipped piece by piece from Ireland. It’s a lovely place to enjoy a pint or two. Analog Bar (10-minute walk) riffs on 1970s style, resembling a vintage recording studio replete with LPs on the wall. The stylish lounge serves craft cocktails and comfort food and features DJs on weekends.
WHY WE LIKE IT
From the cheerful, ‘60s-inspired decor to the convenient central Downtown location, The Bristol is a solid option for travelers looking for a stylish stay in the city’s urban core. It’s close to public transit, the Gaslamp Quarter, and performing arts venues, and the sunny modern vibe is a perfect fit for San Diego.