California. The Sunshine State.
Also, my favourite of the states, and where I’d love for my heartmate and I to live one day.
I’ve always seen travelling as a learning experience, no matter the location. The concept of being in a NEW place alone, opens your eyes and your mind to new sights, new opportunities.
As you know, I recently swapped Toronto city living for California sunshine on a trip San Diego. On that trip I got to explore California’s second largest metropolitan city, (the first being Los Angeles).
I visited some plant-based hotspots like Cafe Gratitude, Sol Cal Cafe & Bar Kindred, and even put together a San Diego Food Guide from my stay.
In the mornings, I ran along the boardwalk, and in the afternoons, I explored parts of the city like Balboa Park & the historic Gaslamp District. San Diego was absolutely gorgeous and I, so willingly, fell victim to the California lifestyle. *Adopt me California!*
But, when it comes to location and where to stay in San Diego, my vote is the Waterfront & Seaport Village!
On my trip, I stayed at the San Diego Marriott Marquis Marina Hotel, right by the waterfront. It was awesome! Every morning, I’d wake up and have a perfect starting point for my runs along the boardwalk.
You get a gorgeous view of all the boats that are docked by the marina, and you’re right in the heart of the Seaport Village, with tons of cute restaurants and cafes.
My room came with a waterfront view (below) and the comfiest bed!
The hotel is pretty well located to be honest. Super close to the Gaslamp District, which is packed with lively art shows, live music, and restaurants along 5th avenue. And super close to the USS Midway (a big tourist attraction on the Marina).
25 minutes of walking along the boardwalk (North-West of the Marriott) brings you to the heart of Little Italy. I actually made this trek, every day of my stay to make my over to Cafe Gratitude. (I’m a creature of habit I guess!), but you can read all about how I fell in love with Gratitude here, and you’ll understand why I kept going back!
Aside from the hotel’s location, here are a couple of other things I loved about my stay at the Marriott Marquis.
The staff was SUPER friendly and helpful. Lineups and long waits at hotel check-in counters are a nightmare for me. Especially after a long day of travels, as I’m positive many of you can relate to. But check in was a breeze, and the staff even helped me coordinate a simple check out for myself and SIX of my colleagues. So big thumbs up there.
I had a standard king room, which was super clean and the bed was uber comfy. I’m a light sleeper, so the fact that I had a deep sleep every night of my stay was invaluable to my brain health and a testament to the quality of bedding. The room even came with a balcony which was a nice outdoor space for me to do some yoga. The waterfront view didn’t hurt either 😉
When I travel, I always make it a point to find some way of getting in some sort of workout aside from my daily runs or yoga. And hotel gyms can often be either unreliable, or unequipped. But the amenities at the Marriott like the pool & gym were perfect for getting in additional workouts during my stay.
The place you stay at in a new city can often make of break your entire travel experience. Right? The thing is, many of us like to live in the same, or higher, standard of living than we have at home. And if you’re staying at a new hotel, you’re pretty much taking a risk, unless it’s a luxury, 5-star spot.
Your choice of hotel is often made with a combination of star rating, price, location, but most of all, trust. Either trust of the hotel BRAND, or trust of recommendations from other guests. Either way, if you’re ever planning a trip to San Diego, and looking for a great spot, with a waterfront view + ocean breeze at a fair price, you’ve got the Marriott Marquis Marina Hotel as my recommendation!
What are some of the favourite hotels that you’ve stayed at before? What do you love about them?! Let me know if the comments below. I always love hearing about great new places to plan new trips!
Nick Joly | Inspired by Nick