My sweetie wanted to go down to San Diego and visit some relatives for her birthday, and I couldn't stand to put her in just another ho-hum hotel for such a special day. After reading the other reviews here, I decided to take a chance on the Best Western Blue Sea Lodge and I am so glad that I did. I made my reservation online through the location's own website (not the general Best Western one) and the process was very easy. On extremely short notice, I was able to get a room with a full ocean view (keeping in mind this was in February during a bad economy -- I wouldn't expect the same in the summer).
We did make the small mistake of driving into the Pacific Beach area down Garnet Avenue on a Saturday which was somewhat clogged with traffic and typical "beach bum" pedestrians, but I say "small" mistake because it gave us at least an idea of what all was along the area's main drag. For those in a hurry or who don't like traffic, I might recommend approaching the hotel on Grand Avenue or one of the many other smaller streets. However, do be warned that the entire area is a typical California beach town and that all of the streets are relatively narrow and that it's a place where parking spaces are very hard to find (except at one's hotel).
Upon turning onto Pacific Beach Drive from Mission Boulevard, take the little turn area to the left just past the public restrooms that divide traffic and that is just before the street ends at the beach. Right in front of you will be the driving entrance to the hotel where you can park and enter the lobby. Because parking is at a premium in this area, they do charge $12 onto your stay if you do need a space (this is clearly mentioned on their site before making a reservation) -- do be aware that this is not uncommon all through San Diego and not just in Pacific Beach.
We arrived quite early for the listed 4:00 check-in time, but we went in anyway just to check and see if our room was available. There was one couple already being helped at the counter, but a second gentleman working there saw us from the back and almost leaped out to immediately assist us. Both of the counter workers were extremely helpful and courteous. The one helping us said that there were already rooms available and that we could indeed check in early. Rooms with the full ocean view were available on any of the hotel's three floors, and I asked for the third so there would be no foot-stomping above us and we wouldn't be right in the face of the crowds walking by or the people enjoying the beach. After getting checked in and provided with our parking tag (there is even underground parking if desired), the guy helping us at the counter gave us a few tips and we were off to our room.
We were given Room 361 on the far south corner facing the ocean. The room is small but they have made great use of one off-angle corner area where they placed a full-length mirror in order to make it seem larger. I want to stress that my use of the word "small" by no means should imply that the room is uncomfortable. It was extremely clean and well-kept. The only blemish I noticed during the entire trip on the inside was a small tear in the shade on the floor lamp. On the outside patio -- complete with two comfortable chairs and a table on which to sit one's favorite beverage -- any blemishes are due simply to the room's close proximity to the beach (as one can literally feel the very slight edge of the spray from the waves when the ocean reaches high tide).
More on the inside -- the bed was extremely comfortable. There were two extra pillows provided in the closet to add to the three on the bed itself. Especially for those who recognize my avatar, there were plenty of places for our stuff even though the room size is small. The chairs and table were comfortable and sturdy, and the room contained a binder provided by the hotel that contained lots of information on the area. Robes are provided for your use that might look uncomfortable upon first glance, but are actually very cozy and handy.
The bathroom was immaculate and well-stocked with towels. The shower/bathtub is sort of sunken down into the floor which I think made it more accessible to the handicapped. It was a little odd to get into but I think only because I wasn't used to it. I will caution those reading this that it is a little louder than other hotels when somebody next door uses their own shower and might be startling the first time it is heard.
The pool area is very cool because it faces the ocean -- it is well-kept and very clean. The ice machine and soda pop are down on the first floor, but there is an elevator so that's no big deal if you don't want to take the stairs. The soda pop is, as usual, a bit on the expensive side and goes up to $2 if you want a bottle of Minute Maid Lemonade. On that front, you are better off taking the short walk across Pacific Beach Drive into the small strip mall that faces Mission Boulevard where there is a liquor/convenience store or taking a longer but reasonable walk north on Mission to Ralph's grocery store or a 7-Eleven that's further up. There is also a small café/deli in the lobby of the hotel that was fairly full of people on Sunday morning, but we did not eat there.
Most people should find that anything they want is within easy walking distance. I felt very safe even at night and even going down the narrow alleys that split up certain buildings and streets. The beach cannot be any closer. World Famous, The Eggery, and Ocean's Pizza are all basically just across the street, and much more in food, drink, and surf/gift shops are a few short blocks to the north. As mentioned above, parking is hard to get in Pacific Beach, so walking is the best way to go. However, due to the proximity to the ocean, the friendly people, and the relatively slow pace (as opposed to much of the rest of southern California), I don't look at that one bit as being a bad thing.
For what one normally pays anywhere in the southern part of this state for anything with a view, this hotel cannot be beat. Unless you want to make reservations at least six months in advance for the Crystal Pier and pay even more, it is pretty much impossible to get an ocean view any closer to the sea. The patio view and the sound of the waves was worth every hard-earned penny an no other place in San Diego that I have ever stayed in -- all at much higher rates -- was better. Even if I could not get an ocean front view, I would still recommend this hotel for those looking to stay in Pacific Beach.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.