Credit: Kimberly Motos

9 Waterfront Hotels in San Diego Where You Can Actually Hear the Waves

Get a Taste of the Barefoot Luxury Lifestyle at These Beachfront Stays

No getaway to San Diego would be complete without a luxurious stay at a relaxing resort with a beachside backdrop. The area is spoiled with endless sunshine, miles of cliffside coastline, golden sand and crystal clear water—a veritable coastal playground that begs to be explored. Each neighborhood, from La Jolla to Encinitas, brings something unique to the table—including stunning spaces for leisure sports like sunbathing and cocktail sipping. We’ve rounded up the best of the best because here in SoCal, beach culture is the name of the game, and San Diego is here to play.

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Beach Terrace

Credit: Kimberly Motos

Tucked between Carlsbad Village and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, Beach Terrace has no rivals for the perfect location. With personalized hospitality and surf shack-style living, this oceanfront oasis is a California vacation dream come true. Upon turning the keys to your coastal abode, oversized living spaces give way to ocean-view balconies that invite a symphony of waves to lull you to sleep. Surf ponchos, in-room yoga kits and various pillow styles create a homey ambiance, while sleek appliances blend modernism with a touch of luxury. When it comes to morning essentials, guests can curate their perfect coffee experience with a complimentary Nespresso or Illy. Head down to the Shorebreak Pool for a vitamin D sesh, cozy up by communal fire pits or check out Beach Terrace’s Gaming Library. For those in the brunch club, a la carte small bites offer a “toasty” start to your morning. Alternatively, their complimentary Petit Breakfast Spread is perfect for snacking by the sea. With sunset season upon us, enjoy an exclusive offer for up to 20% off your 2024 stay!

Location: Carlsbad

 

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Best Waterfront Hotels in San Diego
Credit: Jesse Natale

Just steps from the sand in the heart of La Jolla Shores, this beachfront resort offers travelers (and staycationers) a laid-back seaside getaway with oceanfront rooms and suites, tennis courts, an exclusive beach and more options to chill. Plan an on-the-sand affair for the ages and make the beach your own private dining room with a curated beach party BBQ! The dedicated Beach Services team has everything you’ll need to treat your guests to a sunset cookout—right on the sand. Leave the planning to the pros and curate your menu from a convenient online shopping list. Choose from salads and starters like ahi poke and Baja shrimp cocktail to pre-seasoned skewers, seafood and steaks that you can grill yourself over your very own fire pit. No need to worry about seating and such since every detail—from tables and linens to flatware, candles and even a bottle of champagne—is designed to delight at your beautiful barbecue bash.

Location: La Jolla

 

La Jolla Shores Hotel

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Best Waterfront Hotels in San Diego
Credit: Jesse Natale

Another palm-studded paradise in La Jolla Shores, this time-honored boutique hotel is settled in a neighborhood brimming with ocean activities and outdoor pursuits (think kayaking, swimming, surfing and snorkeling). You can spend half the day with your toes in the sand and the other half exploring the shops and sights on foot or by bike. With proximity to local attractions like the La Jolla Open Aire Market, Birch Aquarium and Torrey Pines Golf Course, La Jolla Shores Hotel puts you in the center of the action while still maintaining that laid-back beachy vibe. Be sure to stop by The Shores Restaurant for brunch with a view, where you’ll find a mile-long menu of tropical cocktails and mixed mimosas. Sip on house-specialty sangria, order a pitcher of spicy margs or refresh with a round of mojitos, palomas or Aperol Spritzes. And when the mood for food strikes, sample Sunday staples like huevos rancheros, rib-eye steak and eggs, bananas Foster French toast, and the lobster Benedict.

Location: La Jolla

5/17

 

Hotel del Coronado

Credit: Hotel Del Coronado

Steeped in SoCal history, the iconic Hotel del Coronado is one of San Diego’s most grand and iconic stays. Built in the 1800s and tastefully updated over the centuries to reflect changing tastes and cater to the needs of its contemporary guests, the architecture and grounds still retain elements of the hotel’s original design. According to folklore, you may even catch a glimpse of notable ghosts roaming the hallowed halls. The sprawling resort houses a variety of luxurious lodging options to suit any preference. Heavy on character, history buffs will adore the charming Victorian suites, while the Beach Village—the Del’s secluded collection of cottages—sits just steps from the ocean with a separate entrance and private valet.

Location: Coronado

4/16

 

The Seabird Resort

Credit: The Seabird Resort

Spread your wings and swoop down to The Seabird Resort, settled in the bustling seaside town known as (the aptly named) Oceanside. Perched high above the pier, this newish family-friendly hotel makes a stylish statement with its coastal-chic interiors and laid-back, easygoing vibes. Pop into Piper for a beachy brunch, or sip a craft cocktail along the sprawling patio on a balmy evening. Take in panoramic sunset views at The Shore Room and toast with glasses of bubbly on Sparkling Sundays. During the day, snack on casual fare by the pool at The Shelter Club.

Location: Oceanside

3/20

 

Alila Marea Beach Resort

Wind your way down the California coastline and feel the salty air in your hair when you arrive at the breathtaking Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas. Incorporating soothing earth tones, modern-minimalist elements and the natural beauty of the cliffside landscape surrounding this ocean oasis, prepare yourself for unparalleled ocean views and the peace of mind you’ve been dreaming about. Slip into The Pocket—an upscale surf-themed hangout designed for clinking glasses by the dwindling light of the setting sun—or feast on a sustainable supper at Vaga, which features a regional menu with locally sourced ingredients and sweeping seascape sights from your seat.

Location: Encinitas

 

Tower23 Hotel

Best Waterfront Hotels in San Diego
Credit: Tower23 Hotel

In the mood for a getaway that’s both chic and unique? Try Tower23, a boutique hideaway that draws inspiration (and the name) from a nearby lifeguard station neighboring the bustling Pacific Beach boardwalk. Spend the day frolicking among the waves just steps from your door, then unwind in your peaceful guest room before dining downstairs on coastal fare with a melange of Mexican fusion at JRDN Restaurant.

Location: Pacific Beach

 

Mission Pacific Hotel

Credit: Mission Pacific Hotel

“Top Gun” lovers, rejoice! Visit the original beachside bungalow, immortalized in film as the “Top Gun House,” when you plan your stay at the beautiful Mission Pacific Hotel. Step inside Maverick’s domain and sample the famous High Pie—fried to order and infused with locally sourced fruit and topped with a hearty scoop of mascarpone ice cream. For something a little more substantial, head over to the hotel’s venerated Valle restaurant to taste an array of Baja-inspired flavors and coastal cuisine. Finally, grab a nightcap at The Rooftop Bar and rub elbows with your fellow beachgoers as you overlook the peaceful Pacific at sunset.

Location: Oceanside

3/20

 

L’Auberge Del Mar

Credit: L’Auberge Del Mar

Dive into the dreamy destination of Del Mar, where you’ll find a little slice of heaven called L’Auberge Del Mar. By day, enjoy an al fresco adventure or some fun under the sun. Soak in the sparkling waters of the surrounding sandy beaches and access the area’s abundance of outdoor activities. Post up poolside and refresh with a frozen cocktail or a salty snack from the kitchen. By night, sprawl out on the picturesque patio at Adelaide restaurant and slip into zen mode thanks to the sound of the lapping waves along the shore. 

Location: Del Mar

Writer | + posts

Based in Los Angeles, Kandace has spent the past ten years in the fashion and lifestyle space, and recently in entertainment at Sony Pictures Studios. She has a Masters in Journalism from Emerson College and has studied in Paris, Firenze, and Washington DC, beginning her career as a style editor and tastemaker for NBC. She is an internationally award-winning filmmaker, having studied screenwriting for film and television at UCLA, and her work has been celebrated around the world, in cities like London, Nice, New York, and Montréal. Paying homage to her French heritage, she is also the creator of The Chic American--a style and culture editorial destination for Francophiles, dedicated to the art of living an elevated, French-inspired lifestyle.

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