Hilton Harbor Island
San Diego - Review

Great Location with
Views of Downtown San Diego & Marina

By Marianne Schwab | Best Travel Deals Tips Blog

One of the many pleasures of living in Southern California is that there are so many great "drive-to" locations for a weekend getaway. I always love when that getaway also involves a great business conference so I get more bang for my buck. It's because I was attending a conference on Harbor Island that I discovered the Hilton Harbor Island San Diego hotel as it was located less than a mile from the event I was attending and was an easy 10-minute walk with fabulous views of the harbor, Marina, and city.

For the past two years, I've attended a Travel Conference in San Diego and the event has been held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina on Harbor Island (where I stayed last year). Although, the Sheraton is a beautiful hotel, I chose to stay at the Hilton this year since I got a rate of $149/night that was 25% less than the Sheraton (and since I had missed out on the conference rate of $133/night because I booked the hotel too late to get the lower rate). I'm actually glad this happened as I think this airport hotel is a wonderful discovery on many levels.

There are many things I like about the Hilton Harbor Island, San Diego. First, when I checked in, the front desk clerk was extremely nice and helpful. As a matter of fact, I was upgraded to a Marina view (without asking for an upgrade) although there is probably not a room with a bad view in this hotel since it's triangular design offers great views of either the Marina, downtown San Diego, or the San Diego Harbor.

My upgrade also included those nice hotel bathrobes in the closet and a larger upper floor room on the seventh floor. Even though my room (Room 716) was located directly off the elevator, there was not a lot of foot traffic noise (though I do not in general recommend a room located so close to an elevator). The room was tastefully decorated, clean and the artwork had a nautical theme which compliments the inside view with the outside views. Internet was also available.

Second, I love the location of this hotel. Harbor Island is a small patch of land about two miles long with beautiful vistas no matter which way you look. I love walking on the wide walk way along the harbor in the morning and at sunset as it gives me a perspective of San Diego and Coronado Island I can't get anywhere else in the area.

The hotel is also centrally located to local attractions like the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway Museum and Sea World. One way to save up to 55% on the admission price to all there is to do in San Diego is to pick up a Go San Diego Card like I did last year when I treated my nieces and nephew to a San Diego vacation.

I prefer this Harbor Island location over a downtown hotel as I find it difficult to navigate my car in a maze of one-way streets in the unfamiliar surroundings of downtown San Diego. Also, parking at the Hilton Harbor Island is a wee-bit less expensive than parking at a downtown hotel. Personally, one of my pet peeves about "big city" hotels is paying for parking on top of the room rate. I always feel like parking should be included with any hotel stay, but in San Diego, you can expect to pay for parking at most hotels in immediate proximity to the downtown area.

Third, I really liked the size of this hotel as it wasn't the "scene" at the Sheraton which was very busy with lots of conference and convention traffic. I liked that the Hilton Harbor Island San Diego was a more quiet hotel catering more to business travelers and short stay guests due to its airport location. You do see and hear airplanes taking off, but not so much that it disrupts sleep. I found it to be one of the nicest airport hotel locations I've ever stayed at.

Finally, the hotel has an intimate bar and restaurant overlooking the Marina. I was extremely tired when I checked into my room so I ordered room service for dinner (just a Caesar salad with chicken and a glass of wine) even though room service is always more expensive. The food was delivered quickly, the food was delicious and they even made a special order for dessert that was not on the menu: fresh strawberries with whipped cream.

In the morning, I had a late breakfast in their restaurant, the Sierra Pacific Restaurant, overlooking the Marina. You can order a breakfast buffet for $18.95 but I opted for a standard American breakfast for $12.95 (scrambled eggs and bacon) that was quite tasty. I sat in a booth that was right next to a fish tank with tropical fish adding to the wonderful experience of the harbor location.

There are also several other restaurants on the island including the Boat House, located right next door, and Tom Ham's Lighthouse, a short walk away at the southern tip of the island.

As I was leaving the hotel and headed back to L.A., the front desk staff was incredibly friendly. When I asked them where to find the closest In-n-Out Burger, they took initiative and printed out directions so I could pick up a "Drive-Thru" dinner for my three-hour road trip back up the coast.

For those of you who may interested, they also have a fitness center with brand new equipment (it was being upgraded when I visited) and an outdoor pool.

I highly recommend this hotel because of its location, service, hospitality, cleanliness and overall value.

TRAVEL NOTE: If you're visiting San Diego for vacation or on business, plan to spend a day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It-s a 30 minute drive from Habor Island but you'll think you traveled 10,000 miles to Africa.

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Have you been on a vacation or business trip and want to share your hotel experience? I'd love for you to share your hotel review here! Since most people scan web pages, include your best thoughts in your first paragraph including the hotel name and location (City/State/Provence/Country). Don't forget to let me know if you would recommend this hotel to a friend - or not? Also, remember to include the most unique feature of the hotel (if there is one) whether it was art deco furnishings, pillows that were so lousy you couldn't sleep a wink or a magnificent concierge (plus his or her name).

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About Marianne Schwab
TV Travel Show Producer

For over twenty years, TV Travel Show Producer, Marianne Schwab, has been collecting money saving travel tips as a travel producer for high profile television programs. She has flown all over the world and produced live television productions on location from Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip to the beautiful island of Oahu. Read more