Book The W Hotel San Diego

It started the minute I was greeted by the W San Diego Hotel's valet. A beautiful young woman, with a friendly welcoming smile opened my car door and my "W" experience began!

The W San Diego beckons
entering guests with
a modernistic style.

"Hi, welcome to the W San Diego, we're so happy that you've arrived!" From the minute my foot touched the curb in front of this new "style" hotel, I immediately knew something extraordinary was about to occur. The "W" is located in the heart of the new residential loft district just south of Little Italy on State and B Streets, in downtown San Diego. San Diego has always been my favorite city in the world. Now that the downtown area is undergoing an exciting renaissance, I couldn't wait to experience this new kind of urban lifestyle.

There wasn't a moment that I wasn't surprised, captivated, and thoroughly enthralled with the way the "W" captured the casual comfort and beach culture that makes San Diego one of the most quintessential Southern California cities. This place is like none other in all of its amenities.

As you enter the lobby you realize that you've found a place where "high touch" meets "high tech," and you can't wait to see, feel and taste what's next!

The visually stimulating "technowall" over the lobby bar is a grouping of ten individual television screens measuring six feet high and five feet wide. The video showed a surfer riding the big blue Pacific waves, a vision of perfect symmetry in motion. When I'm at the beach I always feel a tremendous sense of awe and wonder at the ocean's magnificence. This virtual reality "technowall" instantly, gave me the ocean experience I craved.

So without fighting for parking, or being mobbed by tourists, I was getting my beach fix just by entering the W San Diego's lobby. The warm and inviting beach colors greeted me like the call of a friendly seagull. The plush sofas and extravagant window seats invited me relax and enjoy the exhilarating beach sensations The sky blue of the chairs and the sandy beige stripes accented by golden tones and sunny images made me feel like a perfect Southern California day. I began to believe that "W" stood for Wow!

As I checked-in, I admired the dramatic round entryway that led me to the reception area. Behind the desk was a clear resin wall embedded with floating shells that served as another visual seascape. As I looked up, I was captivated by the soaring ceilings and sheer drapes that framed the lobby décor. It was a grand mixture of textures and natural fibers that are usually found in luxurious Mexican retreats but a strong influence of American Modernism eclectically integrates the colors and lines creating a marriage of substance and style.

Game tables in the
lobby include chess,
checkers, & board games.

There were two rows of eight tall dark wicker chairs that had individual acrylic game tables that included oversized and colorful checkers, chess, and other unique board games. It was festive and sporty. The lobby décor captured everything I love about San Diego and it gave me the distinct impression this was one of the most sophisticated and sizzling places to be. Like being at the beach, where people watching is a spectator sport, the lobby of the W was a place to relax and enjoy, watch and wait or see what would happen next?

What happened next for us was that our exuberant valet couldn't wait to take us up to our room! I've never met someone so genuinely happy to be working at a hotel. It appeared as if the W was her home, and she was completely thrilled that we were going to be spending time enjoying her private beach resort. In fact, every hotel staff member we met made us feel like honored guests and it was their pleasure to serve us.

I had the opportunity to talk with Rob Stirling, Director of Sales and Marketing for the W San Diego and asked him about the refreshing enthusiasm each employee exhibited. He told me, "We made a point to hire people that never had hotel experience but loved being with people. We didn't want our staff tainted with how things 'should be done'. It was important for us to have people who loved our hotel and thoroughly enjoyed serving our guests. It's part of what makes us so unique."

Again I felt that soothing, cool sea breeze that always gives me a sense of well being and happiness. I felt privileged to be experiencing one of America's preeminent leisure destinations. The grandeur of the ocean always leaves me speechless. The first ten minutes of my stay at the W San Diego did the same.

The sensations and pleasures of this hip and upscale hotel continued to astound my husband and myself! San Diego is often compared to the Mediterranean Riviera and the mod touches of the décor of the hotel, combined with the ethnic and rustic weaves truly captured this ambiance.

The next big surprise was our room. I didn't know what to think.

The walls were a deep sea blue and were dramatically contrasted against striking white furnishings. The beach-like slated window treatments cast a hazy, misty, light into the room. I could almost smell the comfort of the night sea mist rolling in. But my thoughts of an afternoon nap were abruptly interrupted with my valet's grand gestures to get my attention. She wanted to make sure I was aware of all the amenities this room offered.

Pillow top mattresses
insure a great night's
sleep at theW San Diego.

She smiled infectiously and bragged, "As always, your luxurious W bed is the focal point of the room, with its pillow-top mattress, 250 thread count linens and goose down comforters and pillows, you will have the best sleep of your life!" Her speech was rehearsed but genuine. The bed was an inviting, heavenly blue, with a large round pillow in the center that looked like a beach ball. I waited until our ice bucket was filled before I dove on top of the bed to prove how luxurious it truly was. I wasn't disappointed. My husband and I playfully tossed the beach ball pillow back and forth. This room, like the rest of the W San Diego was filled with expectations of fun and pleasure!

But I did notice that if you were there for business, the hotel didn't miss a beat with all of its high tech amenities. There was a large desk, two telephones, one with a dataport and speakerphone capabilities, for all those required conference calls. There was a high speed internet broadband access line available, that's also wireless. No need to waste your time at your computer. The phone by the bed was cordless.

"Nice touch," I thought. I always hated being held captive by a telephone cord when I wanted to roam the room, answer the door, or gaze out the window, especially if I could see the ocean!

Above the desk, where there's usually a mirror or painting, hung a huge black board, equipped with eraser and white chalk. Our valet signed her name... Carly, and told us to call her if we needed anything.

Later, my husband and I sent each other chalk messages and drew funny cartoons. I'm still smiling at how mischievous it felt to write on that big black chalk board!

Carly enjoyed our sense of play and felt compelled to show us where the hidden high tech drawers were to store our belongings, or forget that we left them behind. Her laughter was contagious. But the "piece de resistance" was the shower door. She proudly pointed to a round open hole. "As you can see, the glass door has an open hole so when you turn on the water you don't need to get wet." Her demeanor was as entertaining as a day at the beach!

Take some quiet time
in the bedroom window seat.

My husband loved the CD player by the bed and the flat screen 27" color television with VCR and the most advanced entertainment system he'd ever seen. I loved the plush window seat where you could read, drink your coffee, journal, or just enjoy the fact that you could relish in the pleasure of being in San Diego. But their custom formulated Aveda bath products and plush terry-lined cotton pique bathrobes made me realize that the W San Diego, truly desired that I was pampered.

Carly left us to explore the rest of the hotel. She told us to visit the health club called "Sweat", and "Wet" that was complete with an outdoor dipping pool. She was proud to let us know that there was no added charge for the use of these facilities. But we were only staying the evening, and I didn't want to waste a moment on the treadmill, when I could be enjoying a cocktail at San Diego's premier nightspots! My daughter is a senior at University of San Diego and she's bragged about the rooftop bar, "BEACH" as "THE" stylish place in town. Being from Las Vegas, I was curious to see what could possibly make a roof top bar so special.

I quickly found out and nightlife for me will never be the same! The "Beach" takes the Cabana culture to a whole new level. It's an outdoor rooftop sand bar, on the fifteenth floor, where you can feel the breeze of the sea air and dig your toes into a heated sandy floor - if you desire. I quickly found a canvas beach chair that rocked, tossed off my sandals and dug my toes playfully into the warm sand. I loved the sensation of the soft white grains sifting between my toes without the flies and smell of seaweed interrupting my pleasure.

It was dusk, so the large lava fire pit was unlit and the private tented cabanas were empty. But I let my imagination wander as our waitress told me about the nightly outdoor movie screenings and the party atmosphere on the weekends. Guess I'll need to ask my daughter for all the details, or better yet, come back myself on a weekend night! I'll let you know what I find out.

Midweek the "Beach" turned out to be a casual friendly place, where we met another couple and shared libations. Our new friends, Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were also from Las Vegas. Like us, they were escaping the desert heat. As we toasted to the cool weather and our serendipity meeting, I discovered the Johnston's were world travelers. Curiously I asked what they thought about the W San Diego? Without hesitation Elena Johnston replied, "It's truly one of the finest places we've ever encountered. I love the robes and the rooms are the most comfortable we've seen. You know, we've never stayed at a W before - but after seeing this one, a W hotel will be our preference."

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation with the Johnston's so much that we invited them to dinner. I had talked to a couple of my girlfriends who live in San Diego and they told me it was a "must" to dine at "Rice", the W's signature restaurant.

"It's the best in town." The word was out to all the locals. So we agreed to meet at Rice - 7p.m.

"Rice" is fast becoming a
San Diego dining landmark.

Again, our adventure left us speechless and completely satisfied! We were led to a comfortable booth draped with blonde sheers that were partially drawn. It gave us an intimate dining experience while still feeling the refreshing breeze coming through the open glass doors that connected our dining room to the bustling al fresco dining area street side. I found this airy, relaxed sophistication fresh but mixed with a sleek and modern fusion of bold red colors and black accents gave it elegance. It was fascinating how the delicate balance between the architecture, aesthetic and cuisine was so alluring.

But the restaurant's décor was only a backdrop for the soothing ambiance created to savor its key ingredient -.the food! We each tried a different appetizer and entrée that included a Sizzling Vegetable Tempura with Citrus Ponzu and Salmon Crab Cakes with Chile Ailoi. My inveterate curiosity led me to order the grilled Tuna with Crunchy Gazpasho and Almond Rice. It was succulent. As I tasted my husband's Miso Glazed Swordfish with Mango Cilantro Rice, I realized that the chef's desire to delight our palettes' was authentic. After sharing a banana ice cream dessert, our attentive waiter presented us with a large and fluffy white spectacle of cotton candy. Again, the surprise presentation momentarily took my breath away. Nibbling on the airy, sweet and decadent sugary treat left me feeling as uninhibited as a child savoring her last frolic at the beach. Our dining pleasure wouldn't be complete without a warm recognition for the excellent service.

The W San Diego is more than a hotel. It is an innovative and inspiring place that makes you delight in life and appreciative for such a spectacular hotel experience. Because the W San Diego is part of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts International, I wouldn't miss an opportunity to have this experience at any one of their 725 properties around the world.

— By Janice Wilson, Las Vegas Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent.

Book W Hotels Worldwide