San Diego Marriott Marquis

View of San Diego’s Marriott Marquis from the harbo

San Diego’s Marriott Marquis provides a resort-type experience in a downtown convention center hotel, and we’ve found it’s a great choice as a vacation home base for families. It’s also an easy place to bring your spouse and kids if you’ve got an event at the convention center to sneak in some family time while you’re not working.

Make sure you take advantage of:

  • The pool and hot tub area is surrounded with a soft, grassy lawn and features a separate children’s pool, and adult-only hot tub. If you wondered, don’t raid your room for towels. They’re available from the central kiosk if it’s being manned, or from the nearby spa if there’s no one attending.
  • Eat at least one meal at the Tequila Bar and Grill is right outside there next to the pools. The Baja California inspired menu is great, but the food itself is amazing. All high-quality, fresh ingredients beautifully served, as as a bonus for your pocketbook, the prices are normal restaurant prices, which means they’re below-average for a hotel of this caliber. Plus, you can order food to be delivered to the lounge chairs or take it to go. Do check the hours if you’re looking for dinner, because it’s not open very late, even in the summer.
  • And because quick access to plentiful food is key when you’re traveling with kids, know that here is a Starbucks and a take-out food place called The Exchange across from each other inside the hotel. Starbucks closes by late afternoon, but The Exchange is open for dinner. Between them you can get sliced fruit cups and yogurt, breakfast sandwiches and pastries, sandwiches, granola bars and nuts, beer and wine, juices and soft drinks. The prices are higher than your corner grocery store but aren’t in the gouge-the-tourist range.

Watch out for:

  • The hotel ATMs had really high surcharge fees, and and one was broken.
  • Both times we were there, the concierge desk was mostly unhelpful and uncommunicative. You’ll definitely have to go ask them a for a few things, but know that you may have to ask a couple different times or different ways to get the information you want.
  • Don’t ask the hotel to arrange airport transportation for you, either. If you don’t rent a car, arrange your own airport service or take a cab.
  • Skip the room service unless you’re exhausted and desperate, like we were. It was just OK and way overpriced, and there are too many fantastic places to eat in the immediate area.

Now here is our list of top family-friendly activities withing walking, boating, or biking distance of the hotel.