San Diego Bay Club Hotel & Marina
2131 Shelter Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
The lovely view of the marina from the room
My family visited the San Diego Bay Club Hotel and Marina during Presidentís weekend, a very busy time in San Diego, and we had a fabulous time. While crowds of tourists flooded the San Diego hotspots, this serene resort stood quietly apart from the hectic masses during this time. The San Diego Bay Club and Marina is situated on the beautiful marina of Shelter Island which allowed each morning of our stay to begin with views of the lovely yachts, as the fresh ocean air flowed in through the patio door. With its location on the Shelter Island strand, visitors enjoy bay views on both sides of the hotel.
Shelter Island is situated near downtown San Diego and, as such, rests in close proximity to many wonderful family-friendly attractions. This resort is smaller than some of the big-name resorts in the area, with only 105 guestrooms and suites. But this quaint size makes for a more intimate and friendly feeling. Many of the guests seem to be in their 50s and 60s, and for my family, this was just fine. It remained a quiet and peaceful retreat even though the younger set flocked to the bands at Humphreys next-door. I could not hear the bands from my room at all. This resort may traditionally attract a mature demographic, but the Bay Club Hotel and Marina is also an excellent destination for families with (well-behaved) kids.
The San Diego Bay Club and Marina has many wonderful features. The suite was very comfortable, most notably with its stunning dead-on view of the marina right below. Decorated in soft and neutral tones with a touch of tropical flair, the room included a large screen TV, a refrigerator, an automatic safe, free Wi-fi, and a coffee maker. The bed was very cozy and the couch folded out into a full-sized bed. The only thing that would have made the room even more perfect would be On-Demand current movies. It did have HBO and the Disney Channel. Each morning, everyone in my family would wake up and walk immediately to the porch to absorb the stunning marina views. My kids enjoyed watching the various sailboats and yachts in the marina coming and going. From sunrise to sunset, the ever-changing marina view was incredible. The resort also offers complimentary newspapers on weekdays.
Across the street from the resort is a lovely pathway that lines the San Diego bay. This coastline has a gentle ebb and flow of waves along this shore creating a mini beach of sorts and kids like to watch the sailboats, cruise ships, and military vessels drifting by slowly. My kids played volleyball and soccer on this little beach for several hours during the course of our stay. The San Diego weather is almost always warm and bright, even on this February weekend. This beach also had bonfires which several families were taking advantage of during our stay, but unlike most of San Diego, this area never reached a manic pitch of crowds. A small public park with swings and a climbing structure with a slide sits towards the end of this walk and my kids loved it. A traveling family could not ask for a more picturesque setting with many possible outdoor activities all within walking distance.
Besides the view and location, one of the most memorable aspects of this resort was the food, particularly the complimentary breakfast buffet. Each morning a full buffet was served with different specialty items. The first morning they served up Huevos Rancheros with bacon and eggs. The second morning, my family enjoyed blueberry pancakes with breakfast sausage and potatoes. I loved the selections on the third morning of our stay--Quiche Lorraine, breakfast sausage, and diced potatoes. Besides these main food features, they served constants such as muffins, toast, English muffins, cereal, orange juice, and coffee. The seating in the restaurant faces gorgeous panoramic views of the marina and there is also an outdoor patio where my family sat each morning. What could be more relaxing than feasting on scrumptious food while breathing in the fresh ocean air and overlooking a beautiful marina? The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner and my kids especially liked the resortís food, even more so than next doorís Humphreys by the Bay where we ate one night (see review here). They offer a kidís menu and, for the adults, seafood specials, various steaks, burgers, pastas, and salads are available.
The resort also has a small gift shop, a workout room , a pool and a hot tub. Although the pool is fairly small, it is heated and sits right above the marina so guests can enjoy the view while they swim or sit by the pool. My kids enjoyed playing pool games in the early evening along with some other kids they met in the pool. At night, the marina is all aglow with lights and it is one of the most magical pool views I have yet seen.
As Shelter Island is only ten minutes from downtown San Diego, this resort situates its guests near all of the major family-friendly attractions that San Diego has to offer. Guests of this resort are literally less than fifteen or twenty minutes from Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, the Cabrillo Monument, the Pt. Loma Lighthouse and tidepools, Old Town, and Seaport Village. The resort is also near the San Diego airport, Spanish Landing, Horton Plaza, and Liberty Station--a converted Naval Training Center with shopping and restaurants, including the Corvette Diner (see review here). It was only about ten minutes from the resort to The San Diego Maritime Museum so one day of our stay we took the kids to see this fleet and they explored the Star of India and other ships. On another day, we cruised over to nearby Belmont Park, a fun amusement park on Mission Beach, which now offers Laser Tag (see review here). Being at this resort really makes it accessible to visit such attractions as you feel that they are right at your finger-tips. The front desk can arrange rental car reservations and the hotel also offers complimentary airport shuttle service to make things very convenient.
The San Diego Bay Club and Marina is one of those well-kept secrets that locals enjoy when they want a taste of the bay and to just get away for a few days. This is a special resort that offers an unusual blend of tranquility simultaneous with San Diego excitement.