A "five" for the combination of price, quality of accommodations, and location. We were wary of what to expect given the mixed reviews, but our experience was great. We booked a "deluxe king with balcony" for four nights, arriving Oct. 15 (Tuesday) departing Oct. 19 (Saturday). Orbitz had the best rate using a limited-time "save an extra 20%" promotion, at about $90 all-in per night.
Upon arrival we requested a higher-floor room in a quiet location. Our room was 504, on the top floor facing north. There is a lot of noise in the area, with Interstate 5 about a block to the east and the airport less than a mile to the north. Planes pass by so close to the northeast that you can almost see the passengers. I'm pretty noise sensitive, yet slept soundly at night. The sound insulation of the room was excellent, and the AC unit can be set to run on fan-only to provide a little white noise.
The room itself, though not overly large, was well equipped. The mattress and bedding were first rate. The room had a desk and chair, upholstered chair with ottoman, dresser with a flat screen TV, armoire, and wet bar with mini-fridge and microwave underneath. The bathroom had been completely renovated, with attractive new tile and all-new fixtures, including a swing-out makeup mirror. Room cleaning was good, though whoever was doing it didn't give us washclothes after the first day. We called the front desk once and they were brought to us within a few minutes.
The hotel has a restaurant and bar on the fourth floor. There are so many places to choose from nearby that we never tried them, but we did pick up menus. They've got a breakfast buffet for $8 that includes coffee, and a happy hour that's competitive with most local establishments.
We had a car for two nights. The first night we parked right in front of the hotel (got there about 4:30 in the afternoon). It's two hour parking on many of the streets until 6 pm, then overnight until 10 am. The second night was trickier. Street sweeping occurs in the wee hours Wednesday and Thursday mornings, one side one night, the other the next. Cars have to be moved, and ones that aren't are ticketed. We ended up parking a couple of blocks away. As others have noted, the hotel offers parking (I believe it was $22 a night), but it wasn't very hard to find on the street.
The location of the hotel is great - one block up from the heart of Little Italy, a few blocks up from the harbor, and a mile or so walk to the Gaslamp District. The surrounding area seems very safe compared to a lot of urban areas. Even walking back from the Gaslamp District through the heart of downtown one night was fine. There were plenty of people out and about along the way.
Our favorite happy hour spot was just a block downhill from the Porto Vista. Zia's Bistro is an Italian bar/restaurant that one regular described as "the Cheers of Little Italy." I believe it, since after three evenings there we felt like were part of the local crowd. It was like we immediately acquired a group of new friends. The happy hour food and drink prices are a bargain by urban standards and the food quality was excellent.
Back to the hotel - I think they've done a lot with what they've got to work with. Some of the external improvements are superficial, but they've definitely spent money on what matters most, which is the accommodations themselves. All the staff members were pleasant, greeting us every time we came and went. They've got an airport shuttle that runs every half hour, $5 per person, which we used when we departed. There are cheaper places, but from a value perspective this is a great choice.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy an urban hotel experience in Little Italy a with it’s newly remodeled minimalistic rooms Queen and Double Queen rooms the Porto Vista Hotel calls to mind the casual elegance of Europe in the 60’s.Well known for a friendly staff and a locals-favorite restaurant the GlassDoor with amazing views of the city and harbor. Many different room types available to suit all traveler's needs and budget! Our European experience will be just what you need to get you out of the normal hotel experience, both in look and service and at prices that are very hard to find in downtown San Diego. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ascend Collection San Diego
- San Diego Ascend Collection
- San Diego Clarion