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Gaslamp Hotels For St. Patrick's Day

Gaslamp Plaza Suites

Gaslamp Plaza Suites

  • Gaslamp Plaza Suites
  • William Penn Hotel
  • Ramada St. James
  • Courtyard Marriott Downtown San Diego
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Most of us don’t have a scintilla of Irish blood coursing through our veins, yet we heed the clarion call of St. Patty’s Day celebrations. This year is no exception. San Diego is hosting ShamROCK, an eight hour bacchanal in the center of the city. Streets are closed on March 17,and 60,000 square feet of green Astroturf will line the pedestrian-only streets, and the party is complete with live music and food. A $30 admission price benefits the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation.The following hotels are two-fold. They represent the tireless efforts the association and their hospitality partners uphold to preserve the district. And, they are all located on the ShamROCK route. No driving is necessary after the festivities, just a short stroll back to the hotel.

Gaslamp Plaza Suites
520 E Street San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 232-9500
In 2013 this first skyscraper built in San Diego will celebrate 100 years of hosting guests.Needless to say, the ShamROCK is one in a long list of parties the “old girl” has seen. The interior opulence is indicative of an era when Corinthian Marble was not only on the floor but walls as well. Crystal chandeliers hang in the lobby and Australian Gumwood doors have beveled panes of glass. Epochal “technology” of rotary phones and hot plates in guestrooms have been replaced with wifi and microwaves. Continental breakfast is served daily on the rooftop terrace with views second to none. (Rates start at $78 a night.)

William Penn Hotel
511 F Street San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 231-1500
Numerous incarnations over the last century have taken this building from the Oxford Hotel to apartments to the William Penn Hotel four years ago. Gentrification of the Gaslamp Quarter from gambling halls and gin joints, to trendy restaurants and boutiques translates into a thriving demand by tourists to be in the heart of the action. Hence the building's recent conversion. Starbucks occupies the ground level (which may come in handy after the big party), and guestrooms occupy the remaining five floors. Large rooms with full kitchens and living rooms compensate for the limited service. The friendly front desk staff leaves at 7 p.m. weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends. To reduce the carbon footprint, housekeeping cleans three days a week. Extra towels and linens are available on request. (Rates start at $175 a night.)

Ramada St. James
830 6th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 531-8877
Joining the ranks of the centenarian club is the 11-story landmark formally known as the St. James Hotel. The worldwide hotel chain purchased the building in a foreclosure sale for $2 million, almost seven times the cost of construction in 1913. The original sign atop the building has been refurbished for posterity, but the Ramada’s moniker adorns the entryway awning. It served as a resort for WWII military personnel in the '40s and continues to cosset guests today. Ninety-nine rooms offer views of the courtyard, Gaslamp Quarter, or San Diego Bay. Lobby level Brian’s 24 restaurant & bar serves homestyle comfort food around the clock. Perhaps eggs, sausage and malted waffles will sop up the libations after ShamROCK. (Rates start at $95 a night.)

Courtyard Marriott Downtown San Diego
530 Broadway Street San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 446-3000
Marriott married the historic features of the previous 1920s San Diego Trust & Savings Bank with present day amenities, resulting in grand and state-of-the-art. A jaw-dropping, 32-foot vaulted lobby is bathed in marble from European quarries, and has a 15-foot painting of Abraham Lincoln anchoring the far wall. The teller’s counter, which undoubtedly saw money wax and wane throughout the Depression and post-war boom, now serves as the front desk. The hotel restaurant is named for the great emancipator whose portrait is so prominently displayed. Office space once occupied the 14 floors that are now filled with guestrooms. Upper floor views of ShamROCK many lure one back to the hotel early, allowing them to watch the 20,000 revelers from afar. (Rates start at $189 a night.)

USA Hostels San Diego
726 5th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 232-3100
For the young, or the young at heart. The hostel was built when Gaslamp was known as New Town and mining attracted settlers by the droves. This was once a house of ill-repute, and Wyatt Earp was reportedly a frequent customer. Ironically, in post-brothel days the structure was converted into a children’s home. Today, it is one of four western USA Hostels. It’s equitable to dormitory living, in that there are four to six beds per room and shared bathrooms. Private rooms are available for an extra fee. In-room lockers replace closets. The interior is painted bright yellow, cobalt and terracotta. Maps embellish the walls of the Internet center, assisting the large foreign guest roster. An activity board posts trips to local attractions. Included in the rate are all-you-can-make-pancakes and coffee/tea, which should be appreciated on the morning of March 18. (Rates start at $23 for six bed room to $62 for private room per night.)