Every time I told anyone who had already been to San Diego that we were visiting there this summer, they raved about how wonderful it was. By the time we left we had so many glowing recommendations we were seriously looking forward to it. And San Diego itself did not disappoint. It was an excellent location for the BlogHer ’11 conference, with lots of sun, sea, shopping and culture, right on your doorstep.
We spent the majority of our time near the Gaslamp Quarter, at the Marriott Marquis and Marina and the Conference Centre where BlogHer ’11 was based. The Marriott is a beautiful hotel, with gorgeous public areas, a pool, pool side bar, restaurants and some fantastic views. But although we booked a premium room with a view, it was the smallest room we stayed in this holiday, as well as one of the more expensive. Also the internet was not very good at all. It worked very sporadically and when it did work, it was very slow.
But San Diego itself did not disappoint. It combines the traditional feel of the Gaslamp Quarter with a modern vibe, and really is a wonderful place to be. It’s fun in the daytime, with excellent sightseeing and shopping, and the nightlife is great too. I was busy with BlogHer the first three days, so my husband was left to explore on his own. We met up for lunches and dinners, and enjoyed some fantastic restaurants.
Mary Jane’s, in the Hard Rock Hotel is a great place for lunch, with a traditional 1950’s diner feel but a really modern menu. I loved their California Club Sandwich, and my husband really enjoyed their Chicken Caesar Salad.
I attended a fantastic event at the Hard Rock Hotel. This is really is a happening venue. It’s definitely the place for the in crowd, particularly when the sun goes down, but I’d hesitate to actually stay there as the parties go on long into the night.
We were spoiled for choice for dinner in the evenings, with so many wonderful restaurants literally within walking distance. We enjoyed the fantastic food and service at Donovan’s Steak House and also the incredible seafood and Hawaiian welcome at Roy’s Restaurant. In fact, we liked Roy’s so much, we ate there twice! I am experiencing serious withdrawal from their friendly atmosphere and their cashew crusted Mahi Mahi! Not to mention the 150 calorie or less cocktail menu…
We also ate at Acqua AL2, an Italian restaurant that came highly recommended. Although the food was outstanding – their fillet mignon with blueberry sauce was an absolute delight – I found the service pretentious. The waitress insisted we had to work our way through the courses, and made us feel very uncomfortable when we ordered only one course and one side dish each. Perhaps the waiting staff there are on commission!
BlogHer was an absolute delight. Held at the beautiful San Diego Convention Center, the gathering was attended by over 4,000 bloggers, guests and sponsors. I met so many wonderful people and learned so much!
After the conference was over, moved to another hotel so we could spend another day in San Diego. Having stayed in Kimpton hotels all over the US, we know they are a quality brand and were looking forward to our visit to the Hotel Solamar. We stayed in a Virtuoso Suite, which consisted of a large entryway, living room with office area, separate bedroom and a large bathroom. It was beautiful, and cost $25 less than the shoebox we stayed in at the Marriott. As it is within easy walking distance of the Convention Centre, I really wish we had stayed there on the previous nights! We would have been so much more comfortable.
There is plenty to do in San Diego, with lots of sun, sea, shops, art galleries and restaurants all within walking distance of the town centre. If you are a baseball fan, PETCO Park, the home of the San Diego Padres is located in the town centre too. Just outside of town there is the famousSan Diego Zoo.
It turns out everyone we talked to about San Diego was right. It is a wonderful place to visit, with something for everyone, and I am so glad the BlogHer team chose it as the venue for BlogHer ’11, and I hope to return again soon.