San Diego is California’s second-largest city, and it trumps other urban destinations in the Golden State with its easy going coastal vibes — there may be nearly 1.5 million residents here, but it rarely seems that way. Grabbing coffee in the La Jolla area and then digging your toes in the sand at Marine Street Beach feels like a day at a teeny seaside village. For more hustle and bustle, or top-notch bars and restaurants, visitors usually head downtown and stroll the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Then there are neighborhood pockets like North Park, residential and charming with coffee shops, taco stands, and breweries that’ll bring you back time after time. San Diego offers travelers so much to entertain, as long as you know what you’re after and where to stay.
How Voting Works
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).
Hotels were classified as either resort hotel, city hotel, or safari lodge based on their location and amenities, and they were specifically rated on the criteria below:
For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.
What Readers Loved
T+L readers adore San Diego’s downtown coastline, including Intercontinental San Diego, a hotel located across Broadway Pier that readers say has “outstanding rooms and great service.” Voters described this No. 2 property as set in the “perfect location,” while also being the “very best pre-cruise hotel.” No matter which of the winners you choose to book, you’re steps from Petco Park, The New Children’s Museum, and the action of the Gaslamp Quarter.
Pendry San Diego
This No. 1 hotel marked the debut of Pendry when it opened back in 2017, and it brings key tenets of the brand to life: elevated, modern design, impeccable service, and a sense of place. Accommodations exude coastal sophistication with wooden furnishings and blue accents, and guests at the 317-room property are situated at the heart of downtown; a buzzy energy fills the neighborhood well past sundown. It’s a fun atmosphere inside, too. Fifth & Rose is the perfect hotel bar, serving crafted cocktails in a glittering corner of the lobby – there’s also a street entrance, so locals can get in the mix. The onsite beer hall has vintage games, televisions for sports enthusiasts, and plenty of local brews.
The Full List
Reader Score: 95.89
Reader Score 89.56
Reader Score: 84.00