While nearly year-round perfect weather, fantastic beaches, and bona fide surfer credentials attract visitors to this iconic Southern California city, San Diego hotels play their part in enticing honeymoon travelers too. From historic landmarks on the coast and hip five-star beauties downtown to in-the-know boutique gems, America’s Finest City has a slew of swoon-worthy hotels perfect for a loved-up getaway after saying “I Do.” Whether swayed by sandy toes, sunsets and fish tacos along the coast or keeping things #robelife only while ensconced within an opulent Mediterranean-style resort, celebrate your brand new union with a suitably romantic SoCal honeymoon stay at one of these eight top San Diego hotels.
Best Overall: Hotel Del Coronado
Why We Chose It
With its Queen Anne architecture and elegant away-from-it-all ambience, “The Del” is a designated National Historic Landmark and easily the most iconic place to stay in San Diego.
Day beds with half-moon cabinets at Del Beach, multiple on-site restaurants, full-service spa and salon, Del Surf Academy, cruiser bikes
Coronado Beach location
Two outdoor swimming pools
Rooms can feel small for the price
Day tripper crowds on weekends
Built in 1888, this grand beachfront hotel famously featured in the Marilyn Monroe film “Some Like It Hot” and has hosted countless Hollywood stars and celebrities over the years. Rooms in the Victorian building have a vintage vibe. But if you’re looking for private fire pits and a room in close proximity to the pool, go with a cabana room for your stay. For the ultimate splurge, opt for the new Shorehouse at The Del residences enjoy panoramic ocean views and perks like VIP concierge service. With multiple dining options, including the storied Crown Dining room and sustainable seafood restaurant Serẽa, boutiques, plus an ice skating rink during the holidays, the property attracts plenty of day visitors, but still feels exclusive. With the property being within walking distance of manicured main thoroughfare Orange Avenue, you might never feel inclined to leave the picture-postcard confines of Coronado Island.
Best Budget: Bahia Resort Hotel
Why We Chose It
A tropical retreat in the middle of Mission Bay, this welcoming waterfront property boasts its own private beach, deluxe suites and studios and an almost endless array of activities for guests.
Bay view suites with private patios, beach cabanas, Bahia Belle sunset cruise, tennis courts
Rooms can feel dated
Maybe too family-friendly
No on-site spa
Perched on a 14-acre peninsula inside San Diego’s water wonderland Mission Bay, the Bahia Resort Hotel has five types of guest rooms, with its deluxe Bay View and Bay Front suites among its most exclusive. Amenities are basic but cover all the bases and include iHome Bluetooth speakers, USB charging stations, coffee makers, and flat-screen TVs. Location here is key. With most accommodation steps from the sand, there is a secluded private beach and access to countless water sports options, like paddle-boarding and kayaking, plus Mission Beach and renowned Belmont Park (home to retro roller coaster Giant Dipper) are a five-minute walk down the road. At the pool, there’s an Airstream Cafe for grab-and-go snacks, while menus at the nautical-inspired restaurant Dockside 1953 cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For a memorable evening, hop on turn-of-the-century Mississippi-style sternwheeler the Bahia Belle for a sunset cruise around Mission Bay, which has multiple sailing times every evening through November.
Best Luxury: Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Why We Chose It
Set within 400-acres of manicured grounds and canyons filled with wildflowers, a honeymoon retreat won’t get more opulent or exclusive than at this palatial Mediterranean estate.
18-Hole Tom Fazio-designed golf course, Michelin-starred restaurant, Forbes Five-Star spa, equestrian center
Beautiful country setting
Countless amenities and outdoor activities
15-minute drive to the beach
Pricey resort fee
$60 overnight valet
Five miles from the coast but what feels like a world away, the palatial Fairmont Grand Del Mar is a storybook destination surrounded by rolling fairways and the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Reserve. Rooms, suites, and villas are large and lavishly decorated and feature marble bathrooms with gold taps and deep soaking tubs — expect plush robes, Pratesi Italian linens, Nespresso machines, and a nightly turndown service. From poolside dining and picnics to grand afternoon tea in the lobby, guests are well catered to when it comes to dining options. But the crown jewel is undoubtedly the two Michelin-star restaurants Addison, which is helmed by notable chef William Bradley. With an 18-hole golf course, equestrian center, hiking trails and on-trend pickleball court — not to mention four heated outdoor swimming pools flanked by daybeds and cabanas to choose between and a world-class spa – there’s no need to leave the property.
Best Boutique: The Pearl Hotel
Why We Chose It
Mid-century meets California modern at this former motel turned boutique gem in Point Loma, where rooms are tastefully appointed with custom furnishings, original and vintage artwork.
Parachute linens, Finery bathrobes, Casetta Group bath amenities, beach cruisers
Cool 1960s retro vibe
Restaurant is a local favorite
Poolside movie nights
Some road noise
Mini Pearl rooms are tiny
Nothing within walking distance
The art moderne oyster-shaped pool is a focal point at this petite 23-room hotel in Point Loma, although the cocktail bar and restaurant Charles + Dinorah, which is equally popular among area locals as it is with guests, knows how to draw a crowd too. Built by architect Robert Platt in 1959 and a beloved fixture during its various incarnations over the decades, the property reopened after a major remodel two years ago. Chic and eco-friendly new-look rooms and suites are finished with all natural materials, including wooden platform beds and handmade ceramics, plus nice extra touches like writing desks. When it’s time to venture out, nearby local landmarks include Cabrillo National Monument, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, and the former Naval training center turned social gathering hub Liberty Station. Guests can also visit the neighborhoods of Ocean Beach and Little Italy, which are all a short drive away.
Best Beach: Alila Marea Beach Resort
Why We Chose It
A sleek modern resort straddling a sandy bluff in one of San Diego’s most desirable surf towns is a design lover's dream with coastal chic decor and breathtaking views from every angle.
Spa Alila, beach Concierge, Electra Go! Bikes, daily wellness activities
Resort fee includes lots of extras
Shuttle service within 3 miles
Dining options are limited
Valet parking is extra
Resort pool is small
Just 30 minutes north of the airport, Encinitas is a laid-back SoCal beach town and home to some of the finest stretches of sand in San Diego County. The Alila Marea Beach Resort has impeccable credentials to wow guests with fireplaces, living areas, and Pacific Ocean views in its Ponto. The hotel’s Grandview suites add a home away from home (but make it luxury) feel to any honeymoon. The beach concierge is happy to set up lounge chairs and umbrellas on South Ponto State Beach, although active and adventure-minded couples can join the morning yoga class, schedule a surf lesson, or hike the scenic two-mile lagoon trail. For an especially restful activity, book holistic and ocean-inspired treatments at Spa Alila. Couples can finish their evening with dinner at VAGA restaurant, which uses produce from local farms and fishermen across its menus. And to complete the night, go for a walk or bike along Highway 101 into the neighboring community of Leucadia and toward Encinitas’ historic downtown to explore the local boutiques, craft breweries, and coffee shops.
Best City Stay: Pendry San Diego
Why We Chose It
Posh but approachable, this hip 12-story hotel in the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter attracts an affluent younger crowd although the lovely rooftop swimming pool is an oasis of calm.
Rooftop pool and private cabanas, Spa Pendry, Moët & Chandon vending machine, Lunya robes, well-stocked mini-bars, state-of-the-art fitness center
Prime downtown location
Six dining options
Noise levels from nearby OMNI nightclub
Pool parties on weekends for some
Montage Hotels and Resorts brought their posh Pendry brand to San Diego in 2017, and the hotel has been a mainstay ever since its glitzy opening. While it is within walking distance to countless bars and restaurants downtown, the Pendry has its own six separate spots for drinking and dining. Be sure to get cocktails at Fifth & Rose and don’t skip dinner reservations at Lionfish, although the room service menu is stellar too. The Oxford Social Club is also worth a visit for its buzzy late-night music venue for dancing. For more daytime activities, there is plenty to do that is within walking or e-scooter ride distance: Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, and Waterfront Embarcadero.
Best Pool: La Valencia
Why We Chose It
With its sparkling Pacific Ocean views, historic Spanish Revival style façade and made for Instagram pool, “The Pink Lady,” is a San Diego landmark hotel that will never go out of style.
Destination restaurant, 24-hour fitness center, pet-friendly accommodations that include a dog menu and plush dog beds
Old Hollywood Glamor
Partial views from some rooms
Groundfloor accommodations can be noisy
The Pink Lady has been an “it” spot since 1926, with Hollywood stars visiting en masse. Located within the heart of downtown La Jolla and overlooking the famous La Jolla Cove, the boutiques along Girard Avenue are within walking distance and worth a nose. Whether it’s a King Villa or Junior Suite, ocean-facing rooms are the way to go. However, any five Icon Suites – where standout features range from wet bars and stone foyer to a wraparound terrace with an outdoor fireplace – will make for a memorable honeymoon. All rooms come with plush Valencia robes, Keurig coffee makers, and C.O. Bigelow bath products. The lovely oceanview pool is, without a doubt, a highlight here. Surrounded by towering palm trees, the pool area features all-day dining service and plenty of daybeds for lounging. La Valencia’s new-look front Patio Sol is a go-to for both hotel guests and La Jolla locals, while fans of old Hollywood glamor will love the iconic lobby bar, La Sala. For ambiance, more ocean views, and top-notch California coastal-inspired cuisine signature restaurant, the Mediterranean Room is superb.
Best Spa: Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Why We Chose It
Hacienda-style suites dotted among 43-acres of olive groves and bougainvillea covered grounds set the scene at this exclusive oasis in the tony residential enclave of Rancho Santa Fe.
Bentley experience that allows guests to drive a Bentley during their stay, yoga pavilion, spa and fitness program, 18 tennis courts, croquet fields, full kitchen
Private suites with patios
20-minute drive to the coast
With just 49 luxury residences nestled within its enchanting grounds, staying at Rancho Valencia feels ultra-exclusive. Spanish tiled bathrooms, fireplaces, and outdoor living spaces can be found across all suite levels. Experiential touches are impeccable; guests wake up to freshly squeezed orange juice and a newspaper delivered every morning. There is also an extensive activity program that covers personal training and pilates to yoga classes held multiple times a day in a Balinese-inspired serenity pavilion. Tennis lessons can also be scheduled with one of the resident pros. For an evening drink, couples can post up for evening cocktails at The Pony Bar, which has 100 varieties of tequila.
San Diego is most famous for its sun-soaked beaches and surf, but the city has enjoyed a cultural boom in recent years with luxury hotel brands landing in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. A honeymoon in San Diego could just as easily be spent strolling the beach at sunset, exploring the city’s galleries and museums, or tucked away at a grand dame resort focusing on spa treatments rather than stepping foot on the sand. Whether a jewel boxed-sized spot like The Pearl in Point Loma or ornate marble bathrooms and estate-like grounds of the 249-room Fairmont Grand Del Mar appeal, this list has a hotel for every taste and type of wheelhouse.
San Diego has been a vacation destination for decades, meaning countless properties are dotted across the city and its neighborhoods for future newlyweds to consider when weighing up options on where to honeymoon. We evaluated a wide range of hotels and resorts, considering everything from amenities both in-room and across the property, in addition to concierge services, unexpected VIP perks, dining options, and interior design — basically anything that would elevate a memorable stay tailored toward romance. Of course, as with any hotel, location is always key, and proximity to landmark attractions, buzzy neighborhoods, and other cool-to-sees in San Diego were also considered for this list.