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“Spectacular and Super Romantic” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages

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Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages
4500 Ocean Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109 (Pacific Beach)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #20 of 268 hotels in San Diego
Thousand Oaks, California
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Spectacular and Super Romantic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

We stayed in cottage "B" May 20 & 21 (and in Cottage 11 on May 19 because "B" was not available) for our 19th wedding anniversary. It was our first trip here. Like others, we booked about eight months in advance. We had been looking at the website for years, but did not know anyone who had been here before. The check in was extremely easy and pleasant, and we drove slowly to our one-bedroom cottage (unit 11) within minutes of arriving. The cottage (unit 11) can only be described as adorable, with blue and white nautical decor. There is a futon couch in the living room with a small table and chairs, and a flat screen TV that gets cable (but no premium channels). The kitchen is small but adequate, with a full fridge, a stove, microwave and sink. They have plates, silverware, paper towels, etc. The bathroom was small but fine, with a single sink and a shower (no tub). They had a blow dryer so you don't have to bring one. The bedroom was small with a full or queen bed (not sure which) but the bed was extraordinarily comfortable.
Of course, the reason you are there is the view. The room has a deck area with two lounge chairs (and cushions), a table with chairs and umbrella, and a stunning view of the beach and ocean. Number 11 is back behind the shoreline, so you have the beach next to the room, and the ocean in front of it most of the time (depending on the tide). This side of the pier is the east, and the sun rises on this side (and you cannot see the sunset as well from your deck).
As far as food goes, we did not want to eat in a restaurant when we had such an incredible view, so we walked down Garnet and turned left at the second street and got huge hoagie sandwiches from the Greek Place, brought them back to the room and sat at the table and watched the beach and the ocean while we ate. The food was really good. On Sunday the beach was very crowded, and it was fun to people watch. The pier is open to the public and there is a lot of foot traffic during the day, but it is locked and very private at night.
On May 20 we moved to cottage "B." I don't know what to say other than it is the most incredible view I have ever seen. You simply can't get that view in a hotel on the beach. I admit that I have never stayed in an over-water bungalow in Tahiti, but this is the closest thing to it in California! It was unlike anything I have been in before and sets my new standard for the greatest ocean view ever. There is a difference between having a view of the versus being on the ocean. With unit B, you are on, above, and all around the ocean. A mere "ocean view" will likely never suffice now in the future. B is a studio, but it is very large and airy (actually larger than the one bedroom cottage 11). The deck is private, although you can see the people on the public portion of the pier and they can see you during the day. The room was just perfect. If you are looking for 5 star amenities, this is not the place. There is no marble or granite, but again, it is just perfect. The bed was fine (it seemed larger than in cottage 11) and it has a full kitchen, living room with couch and coffee table, a small table with chairs by the window, and a separate bathroom with double sinks. The entire ocean side of the room is glass from floor to ceiling.
We went to Kono's for breakfast (it is the corner of Ocean and Garnet - right across the street from the hotel) and it has its own outdoor dining area, but that is nothing compared to the view from the room, so we got our breakfast to go. We simply did not want to be away from the deck. Like cottage 11, the deck has two lounge chairs, and a table with umbrella and four chairs. The view is all water. It is very romantic, and very special. One night we went to pick up a movie at a nearby Ralph's (Red Box) and noticed that they had fresh sushi that looked fantastic, so we ended up getting it and eating in front of our deck and watching the sunset. It was great!
We brought our dvd player and HDMI cable and hooked it up to the TV (the original remote is present so you can change inputs) so that we could watch movies at night after it got dark. There are tons of bars within walking distance if you are interested in night life.
They have two-bedroom cottages as well if you have a family and want to bring the kids. The beach is right there, but for us, this place was just perfect for a romantic getaway without the kids. We already booked it for next year at the same time for our 20th anniversary.

Room Tip: Choose cottage "a" or "b" for the best view.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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173 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
Date | Rating
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English first
Huntington Beach, California, USA
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2013

The front office employees are so very helpful. One would think sleeping in a beautiful cottage on a pier over the ocean would be like camping in style. Nope. ... WiFi, morning wakeup calls, kitchens with all you need. Even cable! Love!

Room Tip: South was nice but if you like to watch the surfers, reserve north. Plus the sunsets on that side.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2013

We stayed here for 3 nights after Coachella festival and it was simply amazing. The Cottage was gbeautiful, the setting is amazing and the staff were fantastic and so helpful. We cant wait to go back!!

Room Tip: We had cottage 3 (1 bed) which is south side so you get the sun all day, plus you get an extra large...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Georgetown, Texas
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

OK. I've stayed at some of the world's best hotels and I am in love with this one. These cottages are literally built on a giant pier that extends from Pacific Beach out into the Pacific ocean. It's very unique to actually sleep over the ocean -- feeling the gentle sway of the pier and hearing the crashing sound of the surf.

After you check-in, you're given access to drive your car (very slowly) onto the pier and park right in front of your cottage. The rooms are quintessential beach cottage with nice wood floors. As we walked in, we found the screened door open and the sound of the waves immediately drawing you out onto your own private deck which is over the water overlooking the beach. It's truly a unique perspective to observe the beach from the water side. I could sit outside on the deck for hours at a time just watching the surfers and listening the sounds of the surf. Just be careful not to drop your cell phone. If it falls between the gaps in the wood then kiss it good bye because it's a 50 foot drop to the crashing waves below. In addition oto the living room with a sofa-bed, the cottage also has a separate bedroom which is quaint and comfortable. I cracked the screened window at night just so we could hear the waves all night. Attached to both the bedroom and the living room/kitchen is a nice bathroom with a walk-in shower.

We could think of no complaints about this property. We found ourselves wishing for another day so we could just do nothing but sit in the cottage and relax.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sonoma, California
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

Things I thought while staying at Crystal Piers
1) wow this pier is really old. These waves are crashing very hard. Is my car going to fall through?? No seriously those boards look a bit worn...
2) omg is it an earthquake. Why is my bed moving???
The crystal pier cottages are very clean and cute. Situated right on the pier above the ocean they are rare. Sleeping on a pier in California??? This is the only way. The fun part about this hotel is truly the fear of will I see my car in the morning and is that wave going to be the one that does us in. My son and I loved it for that reason coupled with the unbeatable beach location. You literally are sleeping above some really sizable waves in California. Surfers are all over the water and the people watching is great. I was concerned about safety based on other reviews but have to say I felt very safe there and i am a huge chicken scared of my own shadow. San Diego is a bar town at night so I can say I would not want to stroll around the town past 9 with my 9 year old . Mostly because bar towns = sloppy drunks= I don't want to step in vomit. For late night beach strolling with kids Corona del Mar is really the best. But there was no reason to stroll because we had a great time listening to the waves and laughing every time the cottage moved. Great fun! Will do it again and again and again. The front office was very nice. We actually left a kite when we checked out (did not want to bring home) and they called to see if they should send to us. Rare very rare.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

First of all, I am born and raised in Southern California and have stay in many beach front hotels over the years up and down the coast. This BY FAR was the best one ever. We stayed in Cottage E. we had a private patio over the water. We looked down through the slats in the pier on our patio and saw water. Pretty neat. We walked to Mister Sushi for dinner, about a mile walk on Garnet (awesome as well!) it is pricey but u get what u pay for and it's pretty amazing! Staff is friendly and pier becomes private after sunset, which is also a perk. It may be busy during the day but very peaceful and all u hear is waves at night!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Clemente, CA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

I would definitely recommend the cottages over the water, especially the 6 farthest out on the pier. Of course, they're the most $$. But they have private decks (how the bldgs are turned) while the other pier cottages' decks are all in a line.

We had unit E, but A & B are the last out and are studios for 2 with a clear view to the end of the pier from their decks. Not quite as private, but I'd like to try one of them next time.
It was like playing house. The bath was great, with double sinks. The kitchen sink was tiny, but did the job. Well, I did the job when we didn't eat out. Mini stove/oven & fridge. The best thing: since it was a one bedroom Queen (plus futon/couch in living room for 2 more) I assumed there would be no ocean view from bed as is true with lots of beach rentals. Wrong! It was terriffic, with it's own glass door to your deck and a window. The deck had a table with umbrella & chairs & 2 lounges.

These are old, but very clean and nicely refurbished. And did I say Cute? The windows & doors are new vinyl double pane. Being March, I expected it to be cold inside, as we keep a window open. Amazingly I guess being over the water (warmer than air temp at night) plus the new windows - we were snug as bugs. The only downside was the surf was up at night....It took a bit getting used to but still, we did wake up a couple times....but it was worth it for the experience and we loved the surf in the daytime. I thought the views in both directions were great. It's just that one is dawn & warmer in the am, the other is sunset.

One treat was stumbling on their Farmers Market! I never saw such fresh and wonderful veggies. & greens. Most if not all grown locally - inland a bit - forget where. And a real fisherman selling his catch. And crepes made before your eyes. You can feast on what they offer there. I think it was Wednesday - check with the office. Just a few blocks down Garnett on the right. We wanted good coffee, and were directed in a circle to a "permanent" kiosk beyond the market and it was 2 blocks back to our cottage. Wish we'd known that - lattes every day.

If you have tatoos, you will be very comfy in most nearby Pacific Beach eateries. The others we didn't find. We're old folk now, so chose the following:
This was hubby's birthday, so we ate at The Catamaran Hotel which is nearby, but on the bay. It is in walking distance, or drive a few blocks east. Really special for any meal. Breakfast or lunch on the bay...awesome. We also stopped at Paradise Point on the way down for lunch on their patio at the Barefoot Bar & Grill - or really splurge and eat at Baleen for dinner. Either one is another bay view and a short drive (3 or 4 miles?). Walk around the grounds (44 tropical acres on an island in Mission Bay) if you are new to the place. Or if you aren't. We have stayed here and it is like no other place, too.

What a great trip!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages

Address: 4500 Ocean Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109
Location: United States > California > San Diego > Pacific Beach
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
#10 Family Hotel in San Diego
#21 Romantic Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Also Known As:
Crystal Pier Hotel And Cottages
Crystal Pier San Diego
Crystal Pier Hotel San Diego
San Diego Crystal Pier

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