We definitely recommend San Diego’s Marriott Marquis for a high quality resort-type experience in a downtown convention center hotel. It’s a fine choice as a home base if you’re on vacation; there are lots of things to do and see within an easy walking distance, parking is plentiful, and the trolley station is right across the street. Or if you’ve got an event at the convention center, stay here and bring your spouse and kids to play so you can sneak in some family time while you’re not working.

Make sure you take advantage of:

  • The pool and hot tub area. It’s surrounded with a soft, grassy lawn and features a family/children’s pool and separate adult-only hot tub. Towels are plentiful and 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.

    crunchy churros at the pool at the Marriott Marquis

    Crunchy sweet churros with chocolate dipping sauces are a perfect treat for the family

  • 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 in the lobby was broken.
  • In our frequent experience, 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. If you don’t rent a car, arrange your own airport service or take an Uber or 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.
  • Bring warm clothes! San Diego “June gloom” can descend any time of the year, and if you’re not acclimated to the marine fog, you and your kids will be cold.

Don’t miss our list of top family-friendly activities withing walking, boating, or biking distance of the hotel.

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