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Guide to Five Unique San Diego Hotel Lobbies

  • The Keating Hotel Video Review
  • Horton Grand Hotel
  • The Lodge at Torrey Pines
  • Tower 23
  • The W Hotel
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While most vacationers briskly pass through hotel lobbies, it is an essential space of the property. A vestibule can elicit gasps or smiles. First impressions set the tone for what’s to come. Size doesn’t dictate the quality. A friendly staff, efficiency and pleasing aesthetics do. The following are a few examples.

The Keating Hotel
Owner Edward Kaen and Italian designer Pininfarina, of Ferrari and Masarit fame, chose San Diego for their first foray into the hotel business. They morphed an 1890 landmark into the travel industry’s version of a high-class driving machine. Historic building codes forbid them from altering the original structure, but the two eras are tastefully blended. Ferrari red walls and floor in the lobby are the antithesis of the gray stone façade. The staircases mahogany banister is offset by stainless steel wainscoting on the opposite wall. Two small settees sit beside the reception desk. Check in is done in-room, so there is no need for a lot of seating. Test drive the hotel in the above video…vroom. (Room rates start at $247 per night.)
Tower23 Hotel
This Pacific Beach hotel doesn’t exploit it’s seaside location with a campy nautical theme. A predominately white entryway with stark, clean lines hints at the coast with teak walkways and high placed windows calling to mind the portholes of a luxury liner. Guests are welcomed with a complimentary Tower23 Sunset cocktail of tropical juices and spiced rum. Lobby embellishments are limited to the austere reception desk with a pale blue “23” painted on the front, minimal floral décor, and a small TV playing surf videos. Lots of chrome, glass and wood surround the space, which comes alive at night with colorful LED lighting. (Room rates start at $249 per night.)

W Hotel
A 15 foot “W” on front of the 19-story building greets guests. Inside is the design creation of Style Network‘s Thom Felicia. A petite circular foyer ushers visitors into the expansive lobby cum Living Room Lounge. Concierges ready to perform the Whatever/Whenever mantra staff a small desk to the left, as receptionists welcome new arrivals at their adjacent post. Fruit infused water and Chef’s choice welcome treats are offered at afternoon check-in. Modular sofas and chairs in the lounge beckon vacationers to park the suitcase and sip a more potent libation. After all, “tinis” are the “W’s” specialty. (Room rates start at $190 per night.)

The Lodge at Torrey Pines
A post-and-beam porte-cochere escorts tourist to the entryway. It’s just large enough to fit two cars side-by-side. Wing-like rooflines, shingle and sandstone exteriors and brick masonry are tempered by the planted seasonal flowers. Doormen clad is Scottish kilts scurry to assist with luggage. The ornate front door is more a piece of art than a threshold. Jatoba wood holds 29 panels of amber, forest green, and blonde stain glass depicting a Torrey Pine tree. Directly inside, a hanging lamp with 2,840 pieces of similar glass hangs above a table. Stickley furniture fashioned after the Craftsman Greene and Greene Pasadena house has been replicated for the lodge. It fills the extended lobby with leather textiles, sturdy wood, and overstuffed couches. Amazing views of the Pacific Ocean through a large pane window welcomes guests to the vast open spaces. (Room rates start at $305 per night.)

Horton Grand Hotel
The hotel appears much older than its 1986 “birthday.” That’s because it is two historic brick structures melded together after being in storage for numerous years. The lobby was designed to anchor the separate buildings. Shinny travertine marble floors with hues of cream and brown adhere to the Victoria style. Four supportive columns are painted to mimic the adjoining stone, but in actuality are cement. Rumor has it, the 15 foot reception desk is an old church pew, but it’s not proven. South Sea rattan supplied the porch-like furniture festooned with mauve and teal floral cushions.(Room rates start at $159 per night.)

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  • Rating: 3 of 5