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Published on May 25th, 2011 | by simeon

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The Pearl

When visiting scenic San Diego, travelers can do themselves a favor and stay at one of the more unique and charismatic hotels in the area. The Pearl is truly a textbook example of not judging a book by its cover. The unassuming exterior of the hotel conveys that the building was once an apartment complex as it sits quietly on the corner of a residential neighborhood.

Upon walking a path from the parking lot to the lobby, I noted that the courtyard of the hotel is taken up by pool and patio and had a very lively party underway in the middle of the afternoon. The lobby is essentially a small check in station to make more room for a cozy lounge opposite the bar and restaurant on the other end of the room. The lobby lounge area is essentially a collection of carpeted nooks with pillows and all manner of classic games such as Rock-em Sock-em Robot where guests could entertain themselves while they enjoyed a drink.

Upon checking into our room we were delighted to find a very comfortable room decorated in an artfully retro and unique style. The vintage Art Deco theme works very well and I found the inclusion of our own beta fish to be a nice touch. I learned that each of The Pearl rooms come equipped with its own beta, each with their own introductary name plate. For our stay, Willie contently swam in his bowl offering a homey charm. The bed was extremely comfortable and the high-def flatscreen television offered several channels for viewing enjoyment.

The room made great use of space and offered plenty of storage for extended stays, as well as a couch and table and all the usual amenities. The bathroom was full-size which gave me the understanding that at some point in its past our room had been a studio apartment. The platform bed was extremely comfortable and with a strong AC system, my wife and I slept very soundly during our stay.

As active as the social scene was at the pool it was amazingly quiet in the room even with parties going on. I learned that The Pearl prides itself on being a very active hotel that appeals to energetic adults. This became very clear later in the evening when the hotel started showing its poolside movie. In keeping with the cool Rat Pack-era vibe and motif of the hotel, we watched classic episodes of Get Smart from the bar. While more modern films are shown it is nice to see that the hotel isn’t afraid to mix things up now and then and having the option to either watch a movie from the poolside or from the bar overlooking the pool just emphasized the laidback and relaxed ambience.

The cocktails offered by the bar were highly enjoyable and while we did not get a chance to enjoy the restaurant during our visit I noticed the extremely impressive menu and that the dining options has been cited for excellence in several publications.

The hotel is located near Shelter Island in downtown San Diego and offers unique and value accommodations for travelers. There are several restaurants and convenience stores all within walking distance of the hotel should you choose not to dine on-site. This is good as parking is a bit limited at the hotel but the very friendly and helpful staff does have spots marked off by cones which can be accessed upon check-in.

One does not normally find as comfortable a room in a friendly and energetic place when traveling, especially amongst the higher priced, more sedate hotels. It was refreshing to find such a unique place and friendly staff doing things their way instead of being a cookie-cutter of the larger chain hotels which often dominate the travelers options.

The Pearl was a very unique and enjoyable experience punctuated by a friendly staff that went out of their way to ensure that the guests have a good time. Larger hotels can definitely take a lesson from these folks as they are clearly doing something right and I encourage you to check out The Pearl during your next visit to San Diego.

The Pearl


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