By Greg Aragon
I love being in the heart of the action. But, I can also appreciate a casual evening with wine and wonderful views. I got both and much more, when I recently discovered Andaz San Diego, a fascinating boutique hotel located in the heart of the historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego.
“A sanctuary of chic, Andaz San Diego pampers your senses and indulges your whims,” reads the hotel’s website. “We’ll greet you at check-in with a beverage, stock your mini bar with a selection of complimentary select snacks and beverages and ensure you’re always connected with complimentary Wi-Fi in your guestroom, suite, and around the hotel.” With welcoming words like this, I couldn’t wait to experience the property.
My Andaz getaway began when a friend and I checked into a beautiful fourth-floor suite overlooking the ocean, the San Diego Coronado Bridge, and Petco Park (home to the San Diego Padres). The modern-designed room offered two queen beds, large flat screen TV, a sleek bathroom with hardwood floor, glossy brick-shaped tile, and large glass shower. And just as promised, it also came with a stocked fridge/mini-bar area with top-notch beers and potent potables, and lots of free snacks and beverages, free Internet, and 24-hour room service available.
My favorite aspect of the room was the sweeping city views, afforded by three huge windows looking to the water, the Gaslamp District, and East San Diego. The windows were so big they came with gigantic, couch-like window seals.
After getting to know the suite, we explored the rest of the historic, six-story, 159-room hotel. Our first stop was The Rooftop by STK. This rooftop pool area is where a wine bar, nightclub and gorgeous city views attract visitors from all over – especially at night when music plays, while sea breezes surround the open-air environment. While on the roof, we swam in the pool, sipped cold beers, and relaxed admiring the San Diego skyline.
The Rooftop by STK also serves creative signature cocktails and a delicious lunch menu. Using organic, locally sourced ingredients, the rooftop restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner featuring American dishes with a cool SoCal spin.
From the roof, I changed for a workout in Andaz’s fitness center, taking advantage of the treadmill and various state-of-the-art weightlifting machines. The facility is open 24 hours-a-day to guests. I then rested before meeting my friend in the lobby for the daily Andaz wine reception, where guests are treated to complimentary wine from 5 – 8 p.m. After mingling with other hotel guests and staff members, we headed back to the rooftop for dinner.
Our dinner began with peppers and cheese, which featured jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and crab, with ranch dipping sauce. With this we sipped Californian wine and once again enjoyed the wonderful city views surrounding us.
For a main course I experienced the succulent ancho barbecue braised beef, with a tender beef brisket and pappardelle pasta. My friend went with a memorable pepper & smoked sugar salmon, with roasted corn mashed potatoes seasonal vegetables. For dessert we shared a decadent homemade cheesecake.
After dining, we strolled around San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter (gaslamp.org), enjoying a beautiful summer evening and wondering in and out of different nights spots. Covering about 16 square-blocks of Victorian-era buildings and modern skyscrapers, the Gaslamp boasts more than 100 of the city’s finest restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and retails shops, as well as offices and residential/work lofts.
The Andaz San Diego is located at 600 F St., San Diego, 92101. The hotel is near Petco Park, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego Bay, San Diego International Airport, Balboa Park and Museums, East Village, Hillcrest, North Park, San Diego Zoo, and Sea World.
For more information on staying at Andaz and current specials, visit andazsandiego.com or call (619) 849-1234.