Sometimes there is an urge I get to go explore almost like I am missing something if I don't go and visit somewhere away from home.
I think it has something to do with knowing that there is probably not enough time left on the old game buzzer to see and do everything that is out there on this big blue planet.
This week I am going to try something different in my blog.
We are going to change shapes and subjects and become a "travel blog".
THAT'S RIGHT, THIS WEEK WE ARE A SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA TRAVEL BLOG.
Me too……so hopefully as you follow my blog this week you will take a few minutes to comment on your favorite vacation stories.
Let me know what places you loved and things that you did that you would do time and time again if you could.
Let me know what places were less than memorable and how you adapted to the difficulties.
Heck, let me know where you want to go and why and we'll work on a plan together.
Once again, we had a fantastic time.
I don't know why, but it just seems like everywhere we go things are practically perfect no matter what. This weekend was no different.
I guess maybe the fun is where you find it.
Anyway, this weekend we were celebrating our one year anniversary of meeting so a romantic getaway to San Diego made perfect sense.
Today, I'll talk about where we stayed while in San Diego and then we'll cover some of the things we did, sites we saw and restaurants we visited.
We stayed Friday and Saturday nights at the Porto Vista Hotel in Little Italy for $89.50 a night.
Although this boutique hotel isn't a five star location, it did have some nice amenities, the location was great and you couldn't beat the price with the coupon (normal price was almost $250/night).
· Location – One block off of Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego. We walked to some of the best restaurants in town, down to the Embarcadero and to Balboa Park as well.
· Glass Door Bar – Located on the 4th floor the view was great and drink offerings were extensive. It seemed to have a real young crowd "hip vibe". The hanging "bohemian" lamps are a cool touch.
Props to Dean, the Bar Manager. He was very friendly and great to talk to.
· Valet and Shuttle Staff were very friendly and helpful. We took the shuttle to Petco Park Friday night to catch a Padres game and they dropped us off across the street.
· Registration desk was disorganized and fairly inattentive. When we first arrived, the computers were down and although they gave us a couple of drink tickets to sit in the bar the overall attitude by the staff was "whatever".
· Building and décor has seen better days. The room was nice and relatively clean but it was obvious that this is a niche hotel struggling in a bad economy.
The A/C unit sounded like it was grinding on its last leg.
The shower was antiquated and bathroom wallpaper was peeling off.
You had to lean over to flush the commode…that experience is interesting at best.
· Valet parking only and $22 freaking dollars a night…..Seriously?
The shuttle ride was $5 a trip as well. Like the airlines, I guess the added hotel fees help add to the profit line.
We actually had a ton of fun trying to figure out how to take the train home from the ballpark Friday night rather than calling for the shuttle.
· No pool
Sunday night we jumped over to the Hampton Inn (I used my Hilton Honors points for a free night stay) a few blocks away on Harbor Blvd.
As you might know, The Hampton Inn brand is the business/economy class of the Hilton family.
But you know what, I am a "meat and potatoes" type of guy and these locations suit me just fine.
In fact, they never fail to exceed my expectations.
· Like the Porto Vista the location is great if you are hanging out in downtown San Diego. Our room faced the Embarcadero and ocean so we could see the big ships and watch the dinner crowd at Anthony's Fish Grotto restaurant.
Little Italy was now just 3 blocks west of us now and there are a multitude of restaurants within walking distance.
· Hotel proper and rooms were very clean. Bathroom and shower had excellent layouts.
· Staff is friendly and helpful but you do take care of your own luggage at check in and check out.
· Parking underground in two levels was only $12 a night and free to Diamond class members.
· They laid out a real nice continental breakfast in the morning including eggs, sausage and gravy, waffles, potatoes, fruit, rolls and muffins, juices, milk and coffees. You can even grab a free lunch sack with a drink, fruit and snack to eat while sightseeing.
· They have a pool on the second floor.
· I guess the noise level is a little high in the back of the hotel near the train tracks. Each room was supplied with a couple of sets of nice ear plugs. Our room was in the front so all we had to deal with was traffic on Harbor Boulevard.
· No refrigerator in the room.
· A/C unit was a bit noisy but livable.
While they say there are probably a 120 or more different hotels(Wyndham, Hilton, Marriott, Doubletree, Residence Inn, Omni, Hard Rock, Westin, La Pensione, and the Horton Grand to name a few) in the downtown area, I am glad we stayed where we did.
Sometimes the high-rise high class hotels are nice but many times they are overbearing with difficulties parking, stuff shirt attitudes and long elevator rides.
I like to be able to drop off my stuff and hit the road running.
It's all about the different experiences and local flavor.
Let me know the good and bad places you have stayed in San Diego.
I would love to share the with our fellow baby boomer travelers.
Tomorrow, we'll talk a little about the places we visited.
Thanks for joining me.