Set around an Omega-shaped cove on Mission Bay, the Dana is the closest hotel to SeaWorld and offers a free shuttle to get you there. The sprawling property, which was built in the late ‘60s, has plenty more to keep guests busy, including two outdoor pools, a restaurant, a private marina, and watersports rentals so you can play on the bay. Many recently refreshed rooms feature views of the Dana’s lush tropical landscaping or waterfront.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The Dana charges a $39 daily resort fee, which includes parking, various discounts, Wi-fi, and a daily food and beverage credit.
Refreshed in 2015, contemporary guestrooms are simple but tasteful, with warm wood furnishings, white louvered shutters, and subtle tropical accents. The Dana’s standard Marina Cove rooms lack views but upgrade slightly and you’ll have views of the tropical courtyard, pool, or marina. The Water’s Edge rooms, located in a curved water-facing wing of the hotel, are more spacious and feature private patios or balconies that look out on Mission Bay and Sunset Point.
Up to two dogs with an 80-pound weight limit are allowed at the Dana for a daily fee of $40.
Clean and basic, bathrooms feature beige granite counters and a shower-bathtub combo.
The sophisticated contemporary lobby features seating in soft gray and spring green and a wood reception counter with illuminated panels. Just outside, the lobby terrace has patio seating that overlooks the Bayside Pool.
The Dana has two outdoor pools with hot tubs. The large Bayside Pool, adjacent to the lobby terrace and Water’s Edge wing of the hotel, overlooks the hotel’s scenic marina. At the center of the property, tucked in a courtyard surrounded by lush landscaping, the Tropical Pool has a seasonal poolside bar. Both feature chaise lounges and patio seating.
During the summer, the hotel offers a family-friendly Dive-In Movies series.
The Dana’s simple fitness center has cardio machines, a strength-training machine, free weights, and other workout accouterments. The hotel also offers watersports and bike rentals.
The breakfast buffet at the Dana’s Firefly Eatery & Bar is a good deal with the resort fee discount, features hot items, pastries, and an omelet station. For lunch and dinner, the contemporary restaurant serves California tapas and dishes. The dining room has banks of floor-to-ceiling windows, but the outdoor heated patio is the best spot to snag a table on a nice day.
The Firefly’s bar screens sports on flat-screen TVs. Take your drinks outside for a more relaxing experience.
Without a car, getting out of Mission Bay is tricky. The hotel isn’t far from Interstate 5, or “The 5” as many locals call it, and once you’re on I-5, a major north-south freeway that connects to east-west highways, you can get to many San Diego attractions. The hotel offers a free shuttle to SeaWorld.
There aren’t a lot of restaurants in walking distance, but there are a few options, including Einstein Bros. Bagels (8-minute walk), which has a great selection of fresh, chewy bagels with flavorful schmears. At the nearby Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, sustainable seafood restaurant Red Marlin (7-minute walk) features a chef’s table with a built-in fire pit and wine wall, as well as outdoor seating overlooking the marina. Sportsman’s Sea Foods (5-minute walk) offers a more laid-back experience, with ultra-fresh catches and delicious fish-and-chips.
You won’t find much in the way of nightlife within walking distance of the Dana. The Hyatt Regency’s Swim Bar & Lounge (7-minute walk) has sweeping views, creative cocktails, and a 360-degree, 800-gallon aquarium at the center of the bar. If you head west across the bridge on Mission Bay Drive, it’s a 15-minute walk or short bike ride to Cafe Bahia, a pleasant spot for happy hour drinks and apps on the patio by the outside fireplace (it’s also worth a visit for dinner).
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Dana on Mission Bay isn’t the best bayfront resort in San Diego, but for the price, it’s a worthy competitor with two pools and a private marina where you can rent watersports gear. Families will appreciate Mission Bay’s many beaches and grassy parks, as well as the free shuttle to nearby SeaWorld. The rest of San Diego is within easy reach by car, as well.