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“Superior location in San Diego” 4 of 5 stars
Review of BEST WESTERN PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina

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BEST WESTERN PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   2051 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego, CA 92106   |  
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Ranked #16 of 270 Hotels in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Ahwatukee, AZ
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“Superior location in San Diego”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

Shelter Island is such a pleasant location, you can't go wrong staying there - in any season. With miles of walking paths, picnic tables & benches everywhere, very little traffic, and lots of great views, you won't spend much time in your hotel room.

Parking: Free with permit from the hotel, well-lit, and close to the room

Buildings: We live in AZ, so we find architectural extremes fascinating... everything looks the same here, and 'historic' buildings are few and far between.The hotel lobby was in a whacky hi-low A-framed woody building that must have been cutting-edge in the late-50's / early 60's. I think there were rooms in that building as well, but our room was in a building down the street - more of a Hollywood-style building from the 30's. Due to the age of the building and proximity to the ocean, it did have a musty smell, but they used fresh-smelling cleaners (smelled like Fantastik), and perhaps carpet freshener in the hallways, and they also opened a door at the end of each hallway so fresh air permeated the building. Pretty much any older building (including homes in that area) have the same smell; locals probably don't even notice. Again, coming from the arid desert, it's probably more obvious to us.

Views: The buildings face the harbor - you see ocean, Coronado Island and the cityscape (breathtaking in every direction). Behind the buildings is a huge Marina with every type of sailing vessel you can imagine. There is a small pier and a small beachfront with fire rings right across the street from the hotel on the harbor side. Walkways are everywhere with grassy areas, benches, picnic tables, and beautiful trees.

Room: We were on the 2nd floor and we couldn't find an elevator, so if stairs are a problem for you, it is worth mentioning when you are at the front desk. The room had white plantation shutters and a cut little balcony with a French door. There was a Night Heron who slept in a tree right outside our balcony during the afternoon - awesome! The room had all the details you'd expect in an older, well-made building - big, thick white baseboards and beefy white wood trim around doors and windows - from an era when wood was cut generously. The walls were covered in a light-colored subtle textured wall-covering - they were spotlessly clean as if they were painted and covered the day before we arrived. The floors were covered in carpet for sound dampening, but you could feel the uneveness and hear some creaking underfoot from what must be the gorgeous, original wood floors. Everything was in great condition, and while a smallish room, it was adequate for us and our belongings. The king bed was a 'real' king and very comfortable, as were the wide range of pillows to chose from. The TV sat on a long, spacious granite counter, leaving plenty of room for a desk and catch-all area. The free WiFi worked perfectly from the room! There was also an easy-to-use laptop safe in the closet (although, you have to actually get into the closet to read the instructions). The room stayed a comfortable temperature throughout our stay and we never heard any heating or AC come on, or had to fool with any controls - that's a bonus!

Bathroom: The bathroom was also quite clean and bright, and fairly spacious with a generous counter area. The floor tiles were giant and travertine-looking; really nice. The bathroom counter, while spacious, looked like it belonged to a different room and a different building - it was done with colorful Spanish tiles with huge grout lines and didn't go with any of the other decor. That being said, it was clean, functional and in great shape - just unexpected. The hot water was plentiful and instant. There were plenty of towels, soaps, etc... Here come my two biggest complaints: (1) The fashionable rain-shower head didn't seem to have any settings other than 'rainfall' - which is not adequate if you have to get shampoo out of a good head of hair. My daughter and I had to rinse under the tub spout. (2) The *only* mirror was on the other side of the deep counter (above the sink), and didn't extend the length of the counter. I have three issues with this - first, I am nearsighted, and wear glasses, so it's nearly impossible to put on eye makeup when there is no mirror I can get up next to. Second, the mirror was only large enough for one person to use at a time, and there was no other mirror anywhere in the room. Third, it was only a half-length mirror and there was no full-length mirror.

Noise: No traffic noise. Outside, you can hear the sea lions bellowing, but not inside. Neighboring room noise was a problem - I think only because of the optional adjoining room doors; that's where the sound seemed to be coming through the most. The neighbors were loudish - 20-something guys, but it didn't last long, so no big. I slept fine without earplugs, which is unusual for me.

Room Tip: If you can't lug yourself and your stuff up stairs, let them know when you check in.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Klamath Falls, Oregon
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013 via mobile

Stayed here even though my conference was at Marriott. Good quite location. Room was updated and nice, very clean and comfortable. I didn't use much of the hotel but for the price this was a great place to stay. Will definitely be back.

  • Stayed January 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
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Seal Beach, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

After reading tons of reviews on hotels near sea world, I kept coming back to this particular hotel. I heard that many of the hotels near sea world or in san diego in general were old and dirty. yikes! But, after reading hundreds of reviews....we chose this place.

It's clean, close, and very friendly! Plus the price was not too bad. I liked it so much, we've stayed here twice in one year so far while visiting sea world. There are two sections of the hotel, older and newer (casa marina). We stayed in the casa marina side with double queen beds both times. the entire room was super clean and very new. We paid about $200/nt.

Traveling with two toddlers, it's important the bathrooms are super clean. especially when giving baths.
Since the bathrooms have been recently renovated, it was nice and new! The room came with a fridge and a coffee maker. The room is quite large for a standard room. Small sitting area and a huge desk/dresser area. Plus there is a patio as well. which is was a nice touch to hang out at night while the kids went to bed early. The first time was great! had a room on the ground floor. The second time, we had a room on the third floor. The bathroom on the third floor was still new, but not as clean and new as the first floor room. Plus, the fridge didn't work. But no big deal. All rooms came with free wifi too!

The beds were different but comfortable. It's some type of air/cushion/foam type mattress. You can adjust the bed firmness. Sheets and bedding were all very clean. My only complaint would be the smell of the towels. Too much bleach.

Didn't really have breakfast at the hotel nor did we hang out at the pool, so I can't comment.

Finally, there is plenty of garage parking near the entrance which is well lit at night. Easy to unload with the kids after a long day at sea world. Free parking.

I will definitely stay here again next time i head down to sea world. A+ and highly recommended.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

It's been several years (and many vacations!) since we stayed at this hotel but it was so wonderful that we just had to give it a big thumbs up, a round of applause, a hearty "good job", a five-star rating and maybe even a little confetti thrown around.

We stayed here for Christmas a few years ago and could not have been happier with our stay. The room itself had a large comfy queen size bed, decent television, great coffee provided with coffee maker, small refrigerator, beautiful decor, a small patio and most importantly, a view of the bay. Oh, how we wasted the hours sitting on the patio watching the ships go by, listening to the seals talk to one another and basking in temperatures in the 75 degree range.

One tip: the restaurants in the area are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas day (just as it should be) but there is a Denny's about 5 minutes away that was open and there are a couple of grocery stores that were open on Christmas Eve. This is where the refrigerator became the most important appliance in the room --- we managed to get a whole pumpkin pie in there!!

The hotel didn't seem to be very crowded and parking was no problem at all. We saw other guests but only as they quickly made their way to their rooms after noticing us gawking from our patio.

Management could not have been more wonderful to us. Not only did they upgrade our room for free, but after hearing our story of devastating illness with a grim prognosis, they gave us rock bottom prices for our room. Truly a nice thing to do and above and beyond what I would have expected after a casual conversation with a front desk woman who turned out to be a hotel manager -- as we found out later.

(And yes, we continue to fight a relentless disease that causes lingering, sometimes permanent, side-effects)

All in all, we would have to say it was it the top 3 of all the hotel we've ever stayed at and would recommend this hotel to anyone who will listen.

Room Tip: View of the bay is definitely worth the extra money if you can find a way to afford it.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 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.
Top Contributor
120 reviews 120 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

My review may be a little confusing. I scoured reviews before deciding on this hotel and which building to reserve a room in. After all that, I think we would have preferred something different than what we did. I booked a marina view room in Casa Marina based on tips here - newer, nicer rooms, and I requested a room on the 2nd or 3rd floor.
When we checked in we were given a room in the main building on the 1st floor. This was related so some confusion in the reservation because I re-booked through Costco to get a better rate. Supposedly it was verfied that the new booking was Casa Marina, but it wasn't. We are a family of four, and everyone (but me) thought the 1st room was fine - even cute with a neat little courtyard outside the door facing the marina. I knew, though, it wasn't what we were supposed to have. The front desk person was able to move us to a 3rd floor Casa Marina room overlooking the bay side (which means looking across the parking lot towards the bay). We kept this until the next day when we were switched to a marina view Casa Marina room.
So, we experienced 3 rooms (sort of). The Casa Marina building does have nicer, newer rooms and it was quiet (our tv remote barely worked, though). However, I think we preferred the bay view side. On the bay side the sun was warm in the morning allowing us to enjoy the balcony as we ate breakfast. There was also more activity to watch on that side. The marina side was quiet and chilly in the morning and I think we all found ourselves missing our sunny balcony.
Because we have kids, the pool was important. From Casa Marina, the closest pool is at the Casa del mar building. Smaller then the main building pool but has a fireplace to sit near. The kids had fun but they really were intrigued more with the pool at the main building. It's bigger and is 8 1/2 feet deep at the deep end. For us, we could have sat on the patio at the Blue Wave restaurant and enjoyed some adult beverages while they swam. The main pool was quite chilly while the pool at Casa Del Mar was warm.
Which brings me back to the first room that we were given. It was very close to the main pool and just had a charm to it that I think we all liked although not as "fancy" as newer Casa Marina. In the end, I think we should have kept that first room to get the best experience from this hotel. I think this is because we were traveling as a family. If just my husband and me, I'd say Casa Marina for sure.
Lastly, though, the first room in the main building had a smell. I'd associate it with an older hotel room. I didn't like it. I could have tolerated it but would have been disappointed in that aspect.
In the end, we enjoyed the hotel and wish we had had a little more time to enjoy it more. The location was convenient for our SD activities.
Nearby Pizza Nova made for a great take out dinner one night. Free parking is also a bonus.

Room Tip: Families may want to request a room near the main building pool. The Bay side is warmer in the morn...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston MA
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

Almost everything about the Island Palms is fantastic!
The room was very comfortable and large.
The pool areas (two of them!) were well maintained and very pretty.
The view of the marina outside was amazing- something going on all the time, but never noisy.
Across the street, the bay with the view of down town San Diego was a great place to sit and people watch or to just take a long walk.
People who worked there were so friendly and helpful- ALL of them.

There are only two things that kept me from a 5 star rating.
First- hotel restaurant could have had a larger menu, and
Second- the hotel lobby needs a tune-up.

But, if you have a chance to stay here- DO SO!!!

Room Tip: The rooms facing the marina in the back of the CASA DEL MAR building have wonderful little patio'...
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  • Stayed January 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
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 BEST WESTERN PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina

Address: 2051 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego, CA 92106
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Diego
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#14 Family Hotel in San Diego
#18 Romantic Hotel in San Diego
#40 Business Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — BEST WESTERN PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina 3*
Number of rooms: 227
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on San Diego's Shelter Island, the Island Palms Hotel and Marina is surrounded by the blue waters of San Diego Bay. Nestled among 6 acres of lush, tropical landscaping, this spectacular setting overlooks our private yacht marina and San Diego's largest yacht basin. Features and amenities include 227 beautifully-appointed guest rooms and suites, 2 heated waterfront pools and spas, waterfront restaurant and bar and over 6,300 square feet of water view meeting space. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel And Marina
Best Western San Diego
San Diego Best Western

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