Beachy mid-mod style, summer pool parties, and a happening nightlife scene make The Pearl a fun option for budget travelers. With a boxy facade and a row of privacy trees, the small boutique hotel doesn’t look like much from the street, save for its succulent-dotted border landscaping and eye-catching sign. Inside, though, The Pearl is a visual delight, with playful retro decor, a hip restaurant and bar, and a seriously Instagrammable pool. Set in Point Loma, across from Coronado Island, the hotel is a block from the bayfront Point Loma Marina Park, where you’ll find picnic tables, fire rings, a fishing pier, a boat launch, a sandy beach, and epic sunsets overlooking San Diego Bay and the Point Loma peninsula. At night, aglow like a lantern, The Pearl is a hotspot for locals and guests alike.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Light sleepers and privacy seekers might want to try elsewhere. The Pearl can get very lively.
The Pearl’s petite entry-level rooms feature a queen bed with a gray tufted headboard, a small wardrobe, and mirrored ceiling tiles (presumably to make the room look bigger, but imagine the possibilities). The next level up, the Jewel rooms feature a king-size walnut platform bed, a wood desk with a Kartell desk chair, vintage table lamps, and custom wallpaper mosaic installations. The deluxe Strand rooms are more spacious and include a seating area and a balcony or patio. All the rooms have a
Bathrooms are compact but chic, with walk-in showers fully tiled in nautical white and blue and a round mirror.
The Pearl’s stylish lobby is like a swingin’ pad with Mad Man vibes, from the stone walls to the shag carpet-covered raised seating area with cushions, chess boards, and classic George Nelson ball wall sconces.
YOU SHOULD KNOW On-site parking is limited and costs $12. It's pretty easy to find street parking though.
Under a canopy of string lights, the courtyard pool is the hotel’s central attraction. It’s small but ready for fun, with inner tubes, floating swans, and the occasional mermaid show. Chaise lounges, butterfly chairs, hammock seats, and private cabanas encourage lingering. During the summer, The Pearl hosts a Dive-In Movie series.
California mid-mod is all about seamless indoor-outdoor spaces, and EAT at the Pearl does it perfectly, with an open dining room that extends to the edge of the pool. EAT recently debuted a creative new menu of fresh California cuisine, with dishes like cauliflower with smoked aubergine and pine nuts, octopus with pickled peppers, and short rib with farro and fava bean.
The Pearl’s bar serves unique craft cocktails like the Marie Antoinette and the Dixie Fried Damsel, as well as a good selection of wine and craft beer. A small bar area has bar tables and stools, but there are plenty of spots around the pool if those are all full.
The Pearl Hotel is a little out of the way, but it’s easy to get around with a car. Ocean Beach is to the west and the Point Loma peninsula is to the south -- at the very bottom of the peninsula, Cabrillo National Monument boasts panoramic views of the San Diego Bay. To get to the Downtown area, follow North Harbor Drive east along the bay, or take Rosecrans Street northeast and follow signs for Interstate 5, a major south-north freeway. From I-5 and connecting highways, you can get to most of San Diego.
Better be prepared to wait in line at the Better Buzz Coffee (2-minute walk). Locals get their morning commute caffeine fix there, along with tasty pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and other light fare. There’s limited seating, which can be frustrating, but if you just want coffee, there’s a drive-thru option available. For ultra-fresh seafood, head to Mitch’s Seafood (2-minute walk), a casual joint on the Point Loma docks with counter ordering and generous portions. The waterfront eatery, which has a large outdoor deck, is a favorite of local fishermen, which is really all you need to know.
This part of Point Loma doesn’t have much in the way of nightlife, but it’s a short drive from The Pearl to a bevy of options. On nearby Shelter Island, a spit of land that juts out into the bay, a vintage Polynesian vibe dominates at places like the Bali Hai (5-minute drive) is known for its “Goof on the Roof” tiki head and mean mai tais, and Humphreys Half Moon Inn (5-minute drive), a resort with lush tropical landscaping and a summer concert series with acts ranging from Fleet Foxes and Weird “Al” Yankovic to Toto and Joan Baez. In Ocean Beach, craft beer lovers should check out Kilowatt Brewery (10-minute drive) off the main strip. It doesn’t have killer views but the suds are spot-on. The divey Pacific Shores (10-minute drive) is an Ocean Beach classic, with strong drinks and a loud crowd. It’s cash-only.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Pearl checks all the boxes for a budget boutique hotel experience, from the hip midcentury-inspired decor to the happening nightlife scene. The courtyard pool is a perpetual party, the on-site restaurant is destination-worthy, and the rest of San Diego is within easy reach, including a nearby marina with a sandy beachfront.