Destination: San Diego

Destination: San Diego

By:Brittany Anas
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The phrase “75 and sunny” certainly resonates with travelers. It also reflects the year-round ideal temps and abundant sunshine endemic to San Diego. In addition to its ideal climate, this Southern California destination enchants visitors with more than 70 miles of wide-sand beaches, from the coves and bluffs of La Jolla to the laid-back surf culture in Encinitas. Visitors can also slip away on a ferry to Coronado, an idyllic island on the edge of the Pacific with palm-lined bike paths, places to rent kayaks and paddleboards, and plenty of ice cream shops. Plus, San Diego has a mix of neighborhoods to explore, from Little Italy where trattorias serve generous plates of pasta to Balboa Park, an epicenter for art, culture, science and nature. Famed craft breweries, tempting tacos, golf courses galore and a number of cultural attractions add to travel experiences.

Business travelers who flock to San Diego have their pick of luxury hotels to accommodate their stays, whether it's a hip hotel within walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center and buzzy Gaslamp Quarter or breezy, tucked-away waterfront retreats.

Why San Diego?

  • Located in the “Sun Belt,” San Diego’s temperatures hover in the mid-70s, with average high temperatures range from 65°F in January to 78°F in August.

  • Golf Digest named San Diego one of the best golf destinations in the world. The area has 72 scenic golf courses that can be played year-round, including famous PGA tour stops and several that run parallel to craggy coastlines.

  • The San Diego International Airport is centrally located and offers non-stop service to more than 70 destinations, which makes for seamless travel. Houston, Dallas, New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C, Denver, Miami, Phoenix, San Francisco are among some of the big cities that have direct routes to San Diego.

  • From beaches to professional sporting events to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, San Diego appeals to the growing segment of bleisure travelers.

  • San Diego has a top-notch culinary scene, with menus featuring dishes fished from local waters or raised on local farms. San Diego is considered a known spot for fish tacos and for putting a Cali-Baja spin on familiar Mexican staples like burritos, fajitas and mariscos. 

What’s New in San Diego?

  • The San Diego Convention Center reopened for conferences on Aug. 1, 2021. The nearly 66,000-square-foot convention center achieved the GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation for its stringent cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention protocols. (You can read ALHI’s guide to industry-wide safety certifications here). The convention center is also well-equipped to host hybrid events that are growing in popularity.

  • Iconic meeting hotels including Town and Country San Diego and San Diego Mission Bay have recently undergone multimillion-dollar renovations.

  • The highly anticipated Comic-Con Museum is scheduled to open late summer in Balboa Park and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla campus is slated to reopen in fall 2021 after a major expansion.

  • The Shell, which is San Diego Symphony’s permanent bayside concert venue, opened just steps away from the San Diego Convention Center. The venue is available for special events.

 


See


Temecula

Temecula Valley

You may know San Diego for its storied craft beer scene, but the area also has its very own wine country, too. With a warm and dry Mediterranean climate, Temecula Valley is a bit of a hidden gem with 40 wineries where Italian, French and Spanish grapes grow well, producing sangiovese, syrah, tempranillo and other varieties. The best way to see this region is from a new vantage point, whether it’s by soaring above the valley in a hot air balloon or traversing through wine country on horseback. Plus, wineries here offer fun outdoor activities, such as the pool at BOTTAIA Winery and the winter ice-skating rink at Peltzer Winery.

balboa park

Balboa Park

Known as San Diego’s cultural heart, Balboa Park is home to museums, attractions, parks and eateries. With art, history, nature, science and more, there’s something for every group to enjoy in this 1,200-acre historic park. Pro tip: Bring a boxed lunch, sit on a park bench and watch butterflies. Or take a walk through the park and enjoy the sweet-smelling roses, water lilies and sculptural cacti. Architect buffs will enjoy the unique Spanish-Renaissance buildings that are unique to Balboa Park, which, by the way, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Beaches

San Diego has 70 miles of sandy beaches, each beach town with its own distinct feel and amenities. Mission Beach has classic boardwalk fun. La Jolla is known as “The Jewel of San Diego” and is a must-see oceanside village that offers high-end shopping and kayaking adventures. At Point Loma, waves crash along the cliffs and whales make occasional cameos. Imperial Beach is home to the Tijuana River Natural Estuary, which is great for birdwatching, and the Outdoor Surf Museum, which is a public art project located in and around the pier. 

For more activities and ideas ask your ALHI GSO about working with Global DMC Partners

 


Do


Sail the pacific

Sail the Pacific

A trip to San Diego should include a day on the water. For an elevated experience, groups can sail the San Diego Bay on a historic America’s Cup Yacht or a luxury catamaran. Or, for some friendly competition, try a sailing regatta as a teambuilding excursion. Other possible water adventures include surf lessons on one of San Diego’s many beaches or a visit to Mission Bay where the waters are placid enough for paddleboarding and kayaking.

la jolla cove

Aquatic adventures in the La Jolla Cove

A marine preserve surrounded by dramatic cliffs, the La Jolla Cove is considered San Diego’s “jewel by the sea.” The scenic area offers multiple experiences for groups to enjoy, such as snorkeling with leopard sharks, paddleboarding around the peaceful cove waters, or exploring the dramatic caves on a kayak. A seawall called the “Children’s Pool” was originally built to protect kids from the waves that come rolling in, but it’s since been taken over by a local seal colony. The upscale village of La Jolla is nearby for a bite to eat and a shopping excursion. 

Teambuild at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado

San Diego is home to Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, a consortium of eight naval installations which is located across the bay from the city. Groups can experience a day of teambuilding with retired Navy SEAL instructors who take team members through some of the most durable, tested and effective fitness routines ever created. This inspiring group activity is a unique way to meet and train with elite soldiers and cultivate military-grade bonds among your groups.

 

For more activities and ideas ask your ALHI GSO about working with Global DMC Partners

 


Eat


lumi

Lumi

The newest upscale Japanese dining experience in the Gaslamp district, Lumi is led by world-famous Michelin-Star Chef Akira Back. Sake craft cocktails, firepits and live music pair well with the rooftop views of the city. Some popular dishes at this high-energy restaurant include yellowtail pizza, jumbo shrimp tempura and the “Crispy Cream” sushi rolls made with smoked salmon. Whiskey lovers will appreciate the centerpiece of Lumi’s bar: a Toki Japanese highball machine, which makes ice-cold, fizzy concoctions (think: something like whiskey champagne).

portside pier

Restaurants at the Portside Pier

From oysters to Mexican to pub fare, groups will find an array of dining options set on the edge of San Diego Bay at the Portside Pier Complex, which has great water views. The complex has four concepts: 

  • Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar features a concise menu serving oysters on the half shell, grilled oysters and oysters Rockefeller.
  • Migue’s Cocina serves fresh ceviche, taco plates and desserts like chocolate empanadas.
  • Ketch Grill & Taps has stellar snacks like sea salt pretzels and surf n’ turn fondue with shrimp and short ribs, along with pub fare like burgers and sandwiches.
  • Portside Coffee & Gelato is an outpost for fresh coffee and espresso from a local roaster and also offers an assortment of gelato.

 

Puesto

Puesto Cervecería opened a 10,000-square-foot industrial-chic space in July 2020 in San Diego. Now groups as big as 350 people can book lively receptions with tray-passed tacos and margaritas at Puesto San Diego. The restaurant is known for its award-winning Mexico City-style tacos, in-house crafted Mexican lagers, mind-blowing cocktail program, and Michelin-star talent. The restaurant livens group outings with vibrant hues reminiscent of Mexico City and a kinetic entry chandelier that puts on a light show overhead.

 

For more activities and ideas ask your ALHI GSO about working with Global DMC Partners

 


Stay / Meet


Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

An old-world Mediterranean estate with a touch of California glamour, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar has 20,000-square feet of flexible meeting space and stunning views of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. Fairmont is also home to a celebrated spa, heated pools, a Tom Fazio-designed golf course and Michelin-starred Addison, At this 249-room resort, guest rooms and suites have spacious marble bathrooms and deep soaking tubs, as well as expansive balconies and terraces.

hard rock hotel san diego

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Imbued with a rock ‘n roll spirit and unique music amenities, the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego is located at the entrance of the Gaslamp Quarter dining and entertainment district and is just steps from the San Diego Convention Center. The hotel has 40,000 square feet of meeting space and boasts a new 1 Gigabit Fiber internet circuit plus plenty of music and lighting options in the meeting spaces. The hotel’s Float Rooftop Pool and Lounge is great for group events.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Paradise Point Resort

Tucked away on a private island, Paradise Point Resort offers 80,000 square feet of waterfront meeting venues that overlook the marina and Mission Bay. The beachfront resort has 462- bungalow style rooms and plenty of amenities that meeting guests can enjoy in their down time, including swimming pools, sports courts, a full-service marina, fitness center and spa sanctuary.

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn is a sprawling 287-room resort with Spanish Colonial-style buildings, an 18-hole Championship golf course and beautifully landscaped gardens. The resort has 25 meeting rooms and 45,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor flexible space, featuring fireplaces, fountains and grand foyers. An award-winning spa with open-air treatment cabanas in fragrant gardens and multiple dining options both help solidify the resort’s reputation as a top meeting destination.

San Diego Mission Bay

San Diego Mission Bay

A Mediterranean-style resort, San Diego Mission Bay recently underwent a $21 million renovation, transforming its 357 guestrooms with custom-made furniture to solidify a lavish-but-coastal vibe and reimagining the conference center. The bayfront hotel is open and airy and has 50,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space. Amenities here include a waterfront pool lined with palm trees, a wading pool for kids, direct beach access, and bonfires and s’mores nights.

town and country resort

Town and Country Resort

Town and Country San Diego recently finished a $90 million renovation that honors its rich 50- year history with a fresh Mid-Century Modern feel and that makes a splash with a four-story twisting waterslide. The retro and cool hotel added a 10,000-square-foot pool complex, renovated its 675 guest rooms. With 295,050 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, the resort is the largest conference facility outside of the San Diego Convention Center.

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

Situated between San Diego’s seaside villages of Del Mar and La Jolla, Estancia is a lush 10- acre executive learning retreat with 22,000 square feet of meeting space and rancho-style architecture. New outdoor offerings include yoga in the well-manicured botanical gardens and a Secret Garden dining area. A celebrated spa plus team building activities like salsa-making competitions and blind wine tastings add to the experience.