A Late Change: Where to stay in San Diego?
When it became clear that the Super Bowl was going to throw a spanner into the works with our trip, it necessitated some last minute adjustment to our itinerary. Not only did we have to flip San Francisco and LA around on our itinerary, but Lake Tahoe was no longer feasible and we needed a new stop between LA and Vegas.
That stop? Sunny San Diego!
With only a few weeks before the trip, my fearless assistant, Zorica (you can find her at EuroTribe) went into overdrive and was able to arrange a few last-minute partners for the Great US Road Trip.
I’ll be writing about my experience exploring San Diego wine country next week, but I couldn’t not write about the fantastic experience we had at our hotel in San Diego.
King’s Inn, San Diego
I can’t speak highly enough of the King’s Inn in San Diego. Not only were they a late saviour in helping to make the trip possible, but they were also one of my favourite hotels from the entire trip.
There were a few reasons:
Located just off the highway at the aptly named Hotel Circle, King’s Inn was in a great central location for accessing San Diego proper or getting out to our friend’s place on the fringe of town for the Super Bowl festivities.
I spoke at length with David, the hotel’s manager and the man who has poured a hell of a lot of his heart and soul into revitalizing the hotel. One of his points of pride was that the staff were always willing to do more than what was expected of them.
When times were hard and renovations weren’t possible, David instead focussed on improving the one area that costs no extra: customer service. It shows in the way the staff carry themselves. They’re either genuinely happy to be helping you out or the best actors in the world, and with Tinseltown just up the highway, I’m inclined to believe it’s the former.
When I asked a few different staff members for their recommendations for local restaurants or activities, they all answered with their own flavour. There was no company line to be spouted out, and everybody had a vivacious and fun personality.
From the long-winded chats with the girls at Waffle Spot to the bubbly conversations with the reception staff to casual interactions with the cleaning staff as they went about their work, there was a clear focus on customer satisfaction and creating a warm atmosphere. That’s a winner in my book.
San Diego was a pit-stop for relaxation rather than tourism, and so we needed a few essentials:
- Good food nearby;
- Reliable WiFi;
- A pool to relax by;
- A place to do laundry;
- A gym so I could pretend I was still working out.
King’s Inn checked all of the boxes in this regard. Whether I was chilling out by the pool with my Kindle, streaming Raw over a pizza in my room, or sipping an ice cold beer at the attached Mexican restaurant, I was definitely feeling that chill San Diego vibe.
The on-site gym isn’t anything terribly fancy, but it had a decent selection of free weights and cardio equipment.
The laundry, located just by the gym, was affordable and a great addition for budget travellers who might not want to venture off to a laundromat.
The King’s Inn prides itself on catering to families as well, and between its pool, the adorable Waffle Spot diner, and the affordable rates, I could definitely see why it is so popular.
If I had one small criticism of the hotel, it would be that the rooms themselves were a little dated in their decor and the bathrooms were a tad cramped. It was far from vacation ruining, but I can’t just spout glowing praise without a little constructive criticism.
Another big selling point of King’s Inn with families are its attached restaurants: Waffle Spot and Amigo Spot.
Both are frightfully kitschy in a really fun way, with Waffle Spot a diner straight out of the 1950s and Amigo Spot a colourful Mex-American restaurant with a dive bar feel to it that I quite liked.
Guests at the hotel get discounts at both restaurants, and we well and truly made full use of ours at Waffle Spot. Huge portions of hearty American comfort food were an ideal start to our days, and I loved the sassy waitresses who were always on hand with a fresh pot of coffee or a tale about their travels.
We only caught Amigo Spot on our last night in town, but both enjoyed the hell out of a hefty California burrito with an ice cold beer. It’s definitely the kind of place we could have enjoyed a few leisurely beers while watching sport if we hadn’t had an early start ahead of us.
I really couldn’t have been happier with King’s Inn. While I’m obviously especially pleased because they were kind enough to sponsor my stay on late notice, it was a genuinely pleasant experience from start to finish.
I’m not a guy who needs a lot out of his accommodation, but King’s Inn definitely exceeded my expectations in the best of ways.