My girlfriend and I chose this hotel on Hotwire because it was a good deal for what that website claimed was a 3-star hotel. While the newer part of the hotel might be 3-star, the older part that we were in was almost exactly like a motel. I should note that it wasn't horrible, however. Here are some quick bullets:
-Very noisy. We could hear the highway, a baby screaming at 3am, and a group of teenagers running around, among many other things. There were also many noises inside the room, such as the very creeky bed and the toilet that would sometimes seem to flush itself.
-It just looked old. It certainly didn't feel like we were staying in a 3-star hotel. There were odd combinations of pictures, lamps, bedspread, etc. This didn't bug us (we actually got quite a few laughs out of it), but others might be annoyed by that sort of thing.
-No service by the pool. We had intended on sipping some drinks by the pool and hot tub, but there was never anyone in the bar by the pool to make this happen.
-It's in a bit of a weird spot. Getting to the hotel from the south requires a bizarre route that can be a somewhat tricky if you don't know your way around. We figured this out quickly (San Diego was incredibly easy to navigate), but it still was annoying getting back to the hotel from downtown. NOTE: Getting back to the hotel from the north (i.e. La Jolla) is very easy.
-Beaches aren't horribly accessible by foot. We got to Mission Beach by foot, but it requires about a mile walk and the crossing of a busy 4-lane road.
-No Free Wireless Internet. This is one of my biggest pet peeves at hotels. You have to pay $3.95 per day to use their wireless. NOTE: We were never charged (yet, at least) for the two days we used. Perhaps they messed up?
-The bathroom does not have a tub. The shower is one of those small boxes with a glass door. I needed to bend down to get my hair wet, as the showerhead was very low.
-There is no thermostat in the room. Our first night there was pretty cold and we had to keep turning the little AC/Heat unit on and off as we went from freezing to burning up.
-The pool and hot tub were great. The Dana has two pools; we only went in the 'tropical pool' which has a more chilled-out, secluded feel. The pool was very warm, which allowed us to swim even though it was barely 60 degrees (if that) outside.
-The place is right on Mission Bay. If you feel like taking a kayak or paddleboat out on the bay, you can, though it'll cost you quite a bit (which is why we didn't do that).
-The Blue Pearl restaurant on site. We went there once and it was a lot of decent food for a small amount of money.
-You can kind of walk to the beach. It can be a little treacherous crossing the bridge and the highway, but you CAN walk to the beach.
-As far as I know, rates for the rooms in the old section that we are in are pretty cheap (we bought a vacation package which knocked the room rate down to around $90 a night, so I'm not sure what the regular rates are).
If you are a family that is used to noise and are on a tight budget, this is probably an OK place for you. If you're a young couple that wants more amenities within walking distance and fewer annoying distractions, stay downtown or right on a beach.
I think the way to go if you're visiting San Diego is to pick a nice hotel either right downtown or right on the beach. That would cut driving time in half. ALSO, if you DO stay at the Dana, try to get one of their rooms in the new section, which looks a lot nicer than the motel-like room we had.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.