Intercontinental San Diego – Review

A beautiful hotel located in the Embarcadero area of San Diego, it overlooks the water and is across the street from the cruise terminal, USS Midway, and the Santa Fe train station. It’s the perfect location for anyone looking to get that “San Diego” feel in terms of environment, views, and location. It really hits all the marks and is everything you could want in a hotel.

I had a free night certificate that was going to expire at the end of the year that I needed to use and considering the last two months have been particularly stressful for me personally and professionally, I needed a break. Sure, it isn’t much but sometimes a staycation is all you need to recharge the batteries. After looking around for hotels that were available, I quickly picked the Intercontinental San Diego and booked my night for a Saturday night.

The timing seemed to work since it was a week before Christmas but I was still surprised to see that a room was available for a Saturday night. I was more surprised since I only booked the room two weeks prior. To be honest, I didn’t know San Diego had an Intercontinental hotel. I’ve driven and walked past this hotel numerous times and never once knew it was an Intercontinental. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised the brand would be in San Diego but honestly, I had no clue.

As you arrive, you’ll enter through the ground floor and take the elevator to the 3rd floor. As you exit the elevator, you’ll immediately see the Vistal restaurant and bar to your right. If you have access to the lounge, you’ll also see that immediately to your right. To your left, you’ll see the check in counter. Since I was here a week before Christmas, the lobby was in full display.

I was soon checked in and was upgraded to a high room with a water view. My room (1619) was on the 16th floor and had a view of the Midway and lit up at night, it’s a very pretty sight (if you’ve ever flown in to San Diego, you’ve probably seen it if you’ve sat on the left/port side of the plane).

I’d say the room itself felt fairly large. There was a king size bed since it had a sitting area/couch next to the window. My guess is it might feel like a normal room if it had 2 queens but for me, this was ample space. The bathroom was a standard bathroom with Byredo products. I did like the push pump bottles vs. the individual bottles that a lot of hotels use since I think it’s such a waste (but I know many do care about taking those home). I will say the only disappointment I felt was that the bathroom only had a shower vs. a shower/tub option. I’m not a bath person EXCEPT when I travel and even then, it isn’t very often. But considering I was looking for some stress relief, I was looking forward to a relaxing bath with a good book.

The rest of the room was very smartly designed. The minifridge and the Kurig were tucked away in what looked like drawers under the desk. The fridge looked like it had one of those locks that automatically charges you if open for a few seconds so I didn’t bother opening it since there was really no need. There were also an assortment of snacks on the desk with a QR code to get the prices as well as a room service menu. The safe was also hidden in one of the nightstands which was a cool place to put it.

The one thing I LOVED about this room was not only how many outlets there were but also how well they were positioned. There were 2 outlets as well as USB outlets on each of the nightstands on either side of the bed. Also, there were outlets on the side of the desk that was closest to the sitting area so you charge everything without an extension cord cord. I know it seems like such a small, idiotic thing but when trying to recharge all my electronics when travelling, it’s something I really appreciate (I know I wasn’t travelling here but it’s still something I appreciate).

The 4th floor is where the pool and the gym are located and the pool certainly gives a great view of the water. Even as I was was walking around taking photos as night, I couldn’t believe the view. On the opposite side of the pool, you can walk over and see a fantastic view of downtown with the Santa Fe Depot (San Diego’s main Amtrak station) is right in your face. If you lived in a condo with these kind of views in San Diego, I don’t know how much that would cost but I know it’s certainly more than what I have.

The final thing that’s great is that there is a Starbucks and a gelato store on the bottom floor of the property. As you walk out the front doors, the two store entrances are facing the water. It’s great if you want your coffee to start your morning or something sweet to end your day. What’s also great is that directly across the street is Carnitas’ Snack Shack. I would argue this is a very San Diego eatery and is usually where I grab a bite when I’m at Petco Park to watch a game. This is NOT healthy food but boy is it good. I’d highly recommend the Triple Threat Sandwich and I usually get mine with a side of tots. It was a bit chilly when I went so I got mine to go and ate it back in my room but man was it good.

Triple Threat Sandwich with a side of tots. A very guilty yet satisfying meal.

Final Thoughts

The Intercontinental San Diego does it right. Not only is the location pretty hard to beat, the views are unbelievable. If you’re looking for a place to stay for a day before or after a cruise, you can’t beat the Intercontinental because you’ll be right across the street from the cruise ship terminal. If you’re arriving by train, you’ll be right across the street from the main Amtrak station. Finally, if you’re flying in, the airport won’t be more than a 10 minute drive from the airport (probably much less depending on traffic). You’ll also be close to 2 major neighborhoods of San Diego (Little Italy and Gaslamp) so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a restaurant that fits your tastebuds (if you’re looking for a guide to the many neighborhoods of San Diego click HERE). If you’re visiting San Diego, it would be pretty difficult to find a better located property.

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