There is a part of me that loves the city vibe — cool restaurants and coffee shops, a skyline lit up at night, streets buzzing late into the evening. But I don’t usually find city getaways to be relaxing. Until I discovered the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.
A recent weekend getaway with my husband proved you can find that chill SoCal waterfront vibe while staying at a spectacular high-rise hotel that’s walking distance to the downtown Gaslamp Quarter with a wide variety of restaurants, coffee shops, comedy clubs and live music venues.
And the best part is that when you need a break from the action, you’ll have lots of choices for relaxation and harbor views. Seaport Village is just steps from the hotel, offering great walking and biking paths along the marina with views of Coronado Island just across the water. You can also tour the USS Midway Museum, which is on my list of things to do next time I’m down here.
We started our date with pumpkin pancakes, scrambled eggs and hash browns at Richard Walker’s Pancake House on Front Street, a few blocks from the Grand Hyatt. It’s an easy walk from the hotel and just up the street from the newly renovated Children’s Park and next door to the New Children’s Museum (in case you brought the kids on your date, which we have done many times.)
After breakfast, we took a long stroll along the bay, walking south to have a closer look at the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, an open-air music venue operated by the San Diego Symphony. There was a holiday show and fireworks on Saturday night, which we got a glimpse of as we walked along the Marina.
Just behind Seaport Village is the grassy oasis of Embarcadero Marina Park North, another great walking and relaxing spot. One of the perks of staying at the Grand Hyatt is the easy access to everything along the water. The hotel offers vouchers for free 1-hour bike and kayak rentals and harbor tours. We opted for the Flagship Cruise’s North Harbor Tour. We relaxed on the upper deck enjoying the sun, the breeze, the views of the downtown skyline, navy ships, sail boats gliding by and sea lions sleeping cozily on top of each other.
We then decided to venture back into downtown and headed straight to Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop in the Gaslamp Quarter for peppermint hot chocolate and a caramel crunch ice cream sundae.
Post sugar rush, we discovered the fitness area on the 4th floor of the Grand Hyatt, where you’ll find the rooftop pool, fitness center, shuffleboard, basketball and pickleball courts, all with skyline and harbor views. While my husband and daughters have been playing pickleball for a while, I picked up the paddle for the first time and, I have to say, I loved it and definitely want to play more.
Just in time for the sunset, our date took on a festive vibe as we headed to the 40th floor to the Top of the Hyatt, which was transformed into a winter wonderland for the holidays with twinkling lights and holiday decor. The Over the Top Holiday Lounge features festive cocktails and appetizers with floor-to-ceiling windows — the perfect spot for watching the sky turn golden orange.
Before driving back to L.A. on Sunday, we spent a few more hours on the rooftop, enjoying the fitness center, swimming, soaking in the Jacuzzi and reading on a lounge chair.
In 48 hours, the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego gave us just the date we needed — city cool and seaside chill.
Elena Epstein is Creative Director of L.A. Parent.