Peachhead Approved Family Vacation, San Diego 2015
When my oldest daughter was born 17 years ago I started Peachhead, because I was a new mom and everything was new and confusing. I enjoyed learning with everyone and sharing my new finds and discoveries as my kids were growing up. I loved taking my kids to San Diego when they were younger, because there were so many great places for them to enjoy (San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, etc.). Now, many years later, I am taking Amber back to San Diego to tour colleges. We planned a little getaway to visit UC San Diego in La Jolla.
We stayed at the Westin San Diego, a wonderful hotel centrally located in Downtown San Diego. It is walking distance to Little Italy, Horton Plaza, Gaslamp District, The Embarcadero/Waterfront, Seaport Village, and Headquarters (the new complex with restaurants and shops). I chose this hotel because I love the Westin Hotel brand (which is why we are having our Peachhead Mother’s Day Weekend at the Westin Mission Hills Villas again this year), it is in the heart of downtown, and it has an outdoor rooftop pool. I was so pleased with my choice. This hotel recently completed a $15 million dollar renovation, and it really shows. It is beautifully designed, and they have a wonderful green program in place. The rooms are a nice size, with their wonderful, heavenly beds. The rooms also have an empty refrigerator, and they provide you with 2 bottles of water daily, which it always a nice touch. The rooms have high speed wireless internet, and if you are an SPG member and book your reservation through their website, internet is complimentary. My room was on the 17th floor, and had a beautiful view overlooking the bay.
The hotel has glass elevators that shoot up pretty fast, so your kids will love it. The workout room is nice, with new cardio machines with TVs attached, and you can hook up your iphone 4 or 5 to the screen, as they have both size connectors. They also have headphones for you to use. If you prefer to exercise outdoors and enjoy running, the hotel has RunWestin, wherein a concierge leads guided runs every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 AM (weather permitting). If you forget your workout clothes, the hotel has partnered with New Balance and will provide you with New Balance Gear that includes workout shoes (inner soles of the shoes are replaced between guests), shorts, a shirt, a sports bra, and socks. Guests are able to keep the socks after their workout. The fee for this service is $5.00, or 375 SPG points. There is also a nice lap pool on the roof of the 3rd floor, and a Jacuzzi. The lounge chairs have nice cushions on them, and are very comfortable.
The bar has a happy hour with wonderful drinks and snacks. I had a wonderful Peach Cosmo (they must have known I was coming), and bacon-wrapped dates…heaven. Coast, the restaurant in the hotel, offers a full breakfast menu, as well as a buffet. I ordered off of the menu and enjoyed a wonderful omelet with goat cheese and hash browns. It was a great way to start my day. For the kids, there is a Westin Eat Well Menu for Kids, with healthy options that the kids will enjoy.
If you are escaping for the weekend, Westin Weekends allow guests a late 3:00 PM Sunday checkout, and also have changes in lighting, music and décor for a more leisurely feel.
Parking downtown can get quite expensive. If you prefer to not pay the higher valet parking fee at the hotel, there is a parking structure across the street from the hotel where you can park your car. There are no in-and-out privileges, but with the great location of the hotel, you won’t really need to drive anywhere. The San Diego Trolley is one block from the hotel, and it will take you to Old Town, Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, Petco Park, and other popular San Diego destinations. There are multiple bus lines and trolleys that can take you all over the city, with a user-friendly website that can help you plan your trip: http://www.sdmts.com/trolley/trolley.asp.
Our first day in San Diego we walked around the Gaslamp District, and went shopping there and at Horton Plaza. That night we walked to Little Italy and had a wonderful dinner at Buon Appetito. The Burrata over a bed of sautéed spinach and oven roasted tomatoes was delightful. We both enjoyed our pastas, and the tiramisu was the perfect way to end our meal in Little Italy. The next day we drove to UC San Diego in La Jolla and were totally blown away by this college. It has quickly risen to the top of our list. After touring the campus we went to downtown La Jolla for lunch and shopping. That night we returned to the Gaslamp District, and had dinner at Lou and Mickey's. It was really fabulous. After dinner we walked to The Headquarters, the new complex with restaurants and shops. The police department used to be there, and they left the actual jail cells in place and you can go in them and take pictures. Your kids will love it. While walking back we came across Roy's Restaurant, so we stopped in there for a chocolate lava cake. By the time we finished we were too exhausted to walk back to the Westin, so we caught an Uber at the Marriott and it cost us $4.00 to get back to our hotel. The following morning we had a crepe for breakfast at Chocolate Cremerie and then we drove home. I wish all college visits could be this much fun.