Book Your Stay

San Diego Boutique Motels

As a premier tourist destination, San Diego has a great selection of budget-friendly motels chains that are easy on the pocketbook.  You’ll have no trouble finding multiple locations for Motel 6, Super 8, America’s Best Value Inn, Econo Lodge, Knights Inn, and others with a short online search.  

Several hotel chains also offer a more upscale stay as well.  You’ll find bigger and better-appointed lodging at Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Radisson, and others if that’s your preference.  

There is a difference, and either may work better for you based on your needs.  Motels tend to be closer to freeways and highways, often on the fringes of San Diego, although a few locations are right in the heart of things as well.  Motels tend to work better for shorter stays, like weekend getaways, and have more limited amenities.  

Some have pools and may offer some type of continental breakfast, but most don’t have onsite restaurants, health clubs, or other upgrades many people look for.  Motels are primarily designed to give you a place to sleep, free of extras, in exchange for a significantly cheaper room rate. They’re also smaller and usually limited to no more than three stories, whereas hotels can stretch high into the skyline.  Paying for the hotel view is part of the upgraded experience. 

Cost is the big difference.  Motels run about $100 a night, or less.  Hotels are double, triple, or a lot more than that, depending on the property.

Some people split the difference at choose an inn instead of the other two.  Inns are typically privately or family-owned but are much smaller, so they tend to fill up sooner.  The decor is also different, with inns typically feeling more homey and intimate, often reflecting the owner’s personal tastes.

Another option is to seek out boutique motels and hotels.  These are one-of-a-kind, each with a unique location, history, and amenities that can range from spartan to very upscale.  Boutique properties are also smaller, with less than 200 rooms as a rule.  The tradeoff is exceptional and personal service with people who know the area as well as anyone and with an extreme desire to provide you with a great stay so you’ll return.  Boutiques love repeat business!

San Diego’s boutique properties are located in downtown near the airport, while some are scattered along the beaches.  Some of the most popular and well-known are:

  • Hotel Marisol Coronado is located within a five-minute walk of Coronado Beach.
  • 1906 Lodge is a meticulously restored 1906 Lodge that has been a mainstay on Coronado Island for well over a century.  
  • The Guild Hotel is located in central San Diego and is just a three minutes walk from a nearby Amtrak-San Diego train station. 
  • Tower 23 Hotel is named after a local lifeguard tower on the nearby beach is San Diego's only luxury, lifestyle hotel on the sand.
  • Grande Colonial La Jolla is a short walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and is a favorite eco-friendly 4-star destination.
  • Hotel Palomar is adjacent to the House of Blues, Copley Symphony Hall, San Diego Civic Theatre, San Diego City Hall, and a huge number of shops and restaurants.