I’ve said it before, I have one key requirement for a beachfront hotel: I have to be able to hear the surf from my room. Well, maybe two requirements, as I also need to see the ocean from my room. The cool little Surfer Beach Hotel delivers on both for under $200 a night, sitting on the beach in Pacific Beach, a hip suburb of San Diego. I spent an enjoyable weekend getaway from Los Angeles checking out this mid-century modern hotel and the surrounding area.
I had an oceanview room, located at the corner of the building. The room featured a basic, clean bathroom and shower with the sink and vanity outside, a large closet, and a big 42″ flatscreen TV with cable. Comfortable pillow-top bed, fast WiFi. The big selling point was that beach and pounding surf, just outside. I had a big, private balcony, with two chairs and a table, with a great view of the vast beach and ocean. At night, with the sliding patio door open, all I could hear was the sound of waves crashing on the beach.
Retaining its mid-century modern charm, the hotel has been stylishly upgraded and is a clean, comfortable place to stay. Service is excellent, and I liked the little touches like the free Wifi and free hot beverages (coffee and hot chocolate) always available in the lobby. The location is so perfect, combining the oceanview rooms with proximity to Pacific Beach’s shopping and dining options.
Pacific Beach is a hip, typical Southern California beach community made up of surfers and wealthy people. It’s a good combination and I liked that local vibe. You aren’t surrounded by tourists, you’re surrounded by locals out having fun and enjoying the sunshine and the beach lifestyle. The hotel is also central to some of Pacific Beach’s best nightlife with a collection of pubs, dive bars and nightclubs all within walking distance.
For rib and BBQ enthusiasts, Tony Roma’s is across the alley in a shopping center and offers free delivery to the hotel. For a more serious culinary experience, I highly recommend Amplified Ale Works (formerly California Kebab & Beer Garden), in the same shopping center as Tony Roma’s, but upstairs. A great beer selection and seriously delicious skewers. It was so good, after a surprisingly tasty meal, I went back that same night for a Doner kebab sandwich, just as good as my skewer lunch.
Another great dining option is right on the hotel property, World Famous. Instead of a typical beachside diner experience, I had a serious fine dining meal. The restaurant has been in business for almost 40 years and I can understand why. Late-night snack urges can be satisfied by the hotel’s vending machines, which include one that makes soft-serve ice cream.
Surfer Beach Hotel
The Surfer Beach Hotel (711 Pacific Beach Drive, Pacific Beach) is about 20 minutes north of downtown San Diego. Room rates start around $139 per night, with discounts available online. The hotel has many suites with jacuzzi tubs and offers a large Sunset Suite with 1,400 square feet of beachfront living (plus a 600 square foot private patio). My oceanview room was $179.
Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog luxuryfred.com. In the past year, he has visited Turkey, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Canada, and Peru. You can follow him on Twitter [email protected] and on Instagram – @luxuryfred.
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