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“Lovely Retreat” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

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Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   3999 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109   |  
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Ranked #26 of 271 Hotels in San Diego
aina_at_marlintravel
1 review
“Lovely Retreat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2008

My sister and I just got back after a 5-night stay at the Catamaran. I just want to say that the staff, grounds, service, food and spa treatment were far above average. We thoroughly enjoyed all services supplied by the resort. The hotel is right on Mission Beach and across the street and one block away from the ocean. The bus stop is right in front of the hotel and easy to follow instructions are available at the front desk on how to get to main attractions, ie, Zoo, Balboa park, Gaslamp area. Great rejuvanating holiday.

  • Liked — the pond in front of our room with the ducks, swans, morning doves, hibiscus flowers, palms etc. etc.
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Scottsdale, AZ
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2008

What a location! Mission Bay on one side, Mission Beach on the other. We've tried other Mission Bay hotels and this location is the best. The hotel has a nifty bar with a built-in aquarium, but we were driven away by the dated "piano bar" entertainment. The trio meant well, but they should retire. Fun activities: we got free tickets on the Bahia Belle cocktail cruise departing every night at 10 with an outstanding two-person band. At night the hotel puts on a brief fireworks show on the bay. And what looks like a great luau on Friday (we didn't attend). Nice beach chair/towel service on the beach (bay side). For an older hotel that gets lots of traffic, the common areas were in decent shape. Lots of ducks and goldfish, two black swans, tropical birds on display. Not so great: Our "garden" room was in the multi-story tower, with a view of the laundry facilities and parking garage. Great: The mattress on our king-size bed was firm; the sheets of high quality. The room A/C unit was noisy, but it worked. The desk and free wi-fi allowed us to get in a day's work. Best thing about this room: a spotless, well-lit bathroom! So rare, so appreciated. The large white tiles are beautifully grouted and sealed; no dirt or sticky spots.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Unattractive view from room window
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Grand Rapids, MI
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2008

My Mexican honeymoon was canceled at the last minute, due to the tropical storms! My husband and I wanted a relaxing beachy vacation, so we decided (within one day) to go to San Diego - guaranteed good weather, beaches, things to do during the day and night! We've been to LA and San Francisco together, and knew we liked Cali. Everyone loves San Diego, right?

We contacted a friend who lives in Ocean Beach, and he suggested the Catamaran. We went online and read the reviews briefly, and decided to go....it was such a last minute trip that many hotels were sold out for Labor Day weekend...Catamaran was not. My husband contacted the hotel directly, and they gave us a fantastic rate ($143 for weekday nights, $229 weekends) which we were quite surprised to pay...booking online was considerably more money. We arrived and were wowed by the lobby and gardens...our room was not ready, so we sat behind the resort on the Mission Bay beach and relaxed. Pool was nice, and there is a pool bar, but it was filled with kids. A little noisy. We discovered that there is a ban on alcohol on all Pacific Beach (PB) beaches, including resort property beaches....we aren't alcoholics, but had been thinking about sipping drinks beachside ever since the 4 hour plane ride started...so we were disappointed. We were told by hotel officials and some servers/bartenders in the area that if you are caught drinking on the beach, you'll be ticketed on the spot. We didn't try it. We did pay $12 dollars each to rent a cheap sand chair, which seemed ridiculous...but they don't comb the beaches for seaweed, etc. in PB, so we were glad we had a chair. On Mission Bay, I suggest renting a paddle boat or kayak - the water is beautiful and very calm...so relaxing!

When our room was ready, we were so disappointed. Our "partial ocean and bay view" room in the tower (26th floor - two from the top) had a view of a huge parking lot....if you strained your head over the balcony, you could see the ocean on one side and the bay on the other...our room was terribly dated - big mirrored closet door that didn't slide well at all, old carpet and sliding glass door, cheap plastic furniture on the balcony, TINY bathroom (not lying - smaller than any NYC hotel we've stayed in!) and tired furniture/linens. MUCH in need of updating. You can tell that the hotel is trying to update somewhat....there was a flat-screen TV in the room, an iPod dock, cute silver bath accessories...but the shower!!! The head was situated so low on the wall that it was comical. I'm 5'7 and it was even with my neck....my 6'5 husband literally showered on his knees!!! Shower really needed updating in general - it was old and dingy....it was clean but just tired, like the room.

We were trying to make the best of our situation, so we asked for a room upgrade to the bay view side of the tower- this has a much better view if you're on the 6th floor or above....but exact same room. They moved us and also comped our valet parking for the week, which was great. We knew we had a ridiculously cheap rate, so we kept that in mind. The Catamaran is NOT luxury...the rooms that were right on the bay seemed a lot better (two story buildings) for location, but we were told by the front desk that the rooms in those buildings were not updated like the tower rooms supposedly were. Those are the rooms you see pictured on the website.

After one night in the area, we realized that you get what you pay for...if you stay here, you are definitely not in San Diego - you're in "PB" as the locals call it...Pacific Beach. It is quiet and reminds me of a LA's Hermosa Beach or a Florida gulf-coast town...the surfers are everywhere, and you definitely don't feel like you're in a very touristy area...very low key. Great restaurants. Go to Gringos (Mexican restaurant) just north of the resort, about a 5-10 min. walk. It's awesome!!! We also liked "World Famous" right on the beach, for breakfast and dinner...it is a little older, but food is great. We had a great lunch at the "Pacific Beach Alehouse" - super food and awesome servers!! I would not waste your $ at the hotel's breakfast buffet - it's WAY overpriced for what it is!!! Just ok food.

After two nights, we decided to go to a different hotel that was closer to San Diego. We stayed at the Coronado Marriott Resort and Spa on Coronado Island...it was beautiful. Coronado is just lovely, and we had fun at the Hotel Del, on the beaches, and at the fantastic restaurants that overlooked downtown San Diego. We took water taxis to the city at night, saw a Padres game, and sat at the luxurious pool where servers brought us lunch and drinks to our chairs! It's more expensive, but I think it's completely worth it. There were a lot of families there, too, as well as couples like us. When the hotel heard it was our honeymoon, they upgraded our room type and left champagne and choc-covered strawberries in our room!!! Nice touch.

Bottom line - stay on Coronado or downtown SD - I would never stay at the Catamaran again - not until they upgrade the rooms.

  • Liked — Location on Bay with a short walk to Pacific Ocean
  • Disliked — Rooms
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Milan, Italy
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2008

I was in doubt as whether to give 3 or 4 stars to this hotel, because it excels in some points but may use some renovation.
Arrival: the lobby is marvelous. With the cascade, foliage and lake, really nice. Coi fishes require a lot of care, so it gives you a measure of how well it has to be maintained in order for the fishes to grow, and they seemed in good shape. The girls at the reception and all other services were extremely friendly and all of our small issues were well attended. A+
Room: The room was facing the garden, basically it faced a palm tree but it was ok, it provided good shade and kept the place cooler. All amenities were available in the room. Bathroom was ok. But we had to move some furniture (my little one tends to fall from the bed so we always need to create some barriers around his side of the bed) and we noticed that behind furniture the vacuum cleaner had not been used in quite a while. Daily cleaning was done, but from time to time you have to dust behind the beds too!! That took some points off. Also rooms start being worn out a bit, although this is not a big issue in my opinion.
Premises: very nice. We did not use the pool as kids liked the beach (see previous review for details), it was clean and calm (at least in the morning). Overall it is all well kept and clean.
We had breakfast at the restaurant and it was fine. We were away most of the day so you may want to refer to other reviews for local activities.
I have to add that it is well located, in 15 minutes (driving) you can reach almost anything, which was the main reason of picking this hotel instead of the Coronado Loews. We did not regret the choice. It is placed in a friendly neighborhood too.

  • Liked — Beautiful premises, good location
  • Disliked — Rooms could be cleaned better
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Los Angeles
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2008

Loved the location..we stayed in a ground floor room with direct access to the beach. Lovely grounds with lush plantlife and lots of birds and ducks. It was also very quiet. Didn't love the restaurant.......slow service and very pricey, luckily there is a lot of great food within walking distance. The only real downer was how our room looked, very outdated and shabby and not worth $400 plus dollars a night. It also had what we think was black mold on the air vents and that is really scary because mold can be very dangerous to your health. I actually came down with pneumonia(in July!!!) two weeks later...coincidence or not? The room really could use a thorough cleaning top to bottom. Overall, we had a nice time but wouldn't stay there again.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — The room
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2008

We booked this hotel after reading reviews last year, then, just before we went read some bad reviews and were somewhat concerned. We need not have worried, this is an excellent place.
The location is fantastic, with the calm waters of the bay just outside the hotel for the little kids, and the white water fun of the ocean 50 yards way for the older kids. We had a high room in the tower overlooking the bay which could not have been bettered. The views were fantastic. However if you are on the other side of the tower request a room above level 5 or you will get a great view into the multi-story car park. Grounds were excellent, staff were great, housekeeping particularly so. Room was clean, beds were fine, bathroom was fine. Air con unit was in an odd location right by the head of the bed so difficault to use at night, and was really in need of changing for a more modern unit. That said it worked fine. Free internet access was good. Hotel restaurant was under used, probably because it was so over priced. Expect to pay for car parking. Staff friendly and helpful. Pool nice but water was dirty. Restaurants in the area catered more for the surfer community of 20-30 age range, although there were some family restaurants around. Travel to La Jolla for more up market places. Would recommend the Mission cafe, about 200 yards south of the hotel for an excellent breakfast. Be prepared to queue at weekends. Overall great place, stay there!

  • Liked — location
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Oakville,Ontario
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2008

We just got back from a one week stay at the Catamaran. The loaction is good, grounds are very well maintained but the rooms are in need of considerable updating. We booked a studio as we wanted a kitchen with appliances in order to prepare breakfasts and some lunches. The original room they provided was nothing like the picture we saw on their web site (it was much smaller with no sitting area and pull out sofa) so we asked for a room change. The staff was very accomodating and promptly gave us a larger room. The room itself was dated but relatively clean (although there was some mold in the bathtub). The kitchen appliances are at least 20 years old and are not in the greatest condition. This is a good family spot but I would not recommend this hotel for a romantic getaway. To be fair, this is a 3 star hotel and not the Del Coronado, but unless you get a discounted price off of their posted rates, you will be overpaying for what you get. Overall ratings:
Staff: A
Accomodations: C-
Cleanliness (rooms): C-
Beach Area: A

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Outdated rooms
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Address: 3999 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Diego
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Spa Hotel in San Diego
#7 On the Beach Hotel in San Diego
#8 Luxury Hotel in San Diego
#55 Family Hotel in San Diego
#71 Romantic Hotel in San Diego
#96 Business Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 315
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our HOT Tip: Like the Catamaran Resort on Face Book and save up to 15% off the best available rates. The Catamaran’s 313 rooms and suites are spacious and tastefully appointed with their own balcony or patio. Mission Bay, the world’s largest aquatic park, is at your doorstep and the enticing waves of the Pacific Ocean are just 100 yards away. Enjoy marvelous views of the California coastline or stunning city skyline from every part of our beach resort. In San Diego, activities and local attractions are never far away. Visit the world famous San Diego Zoo, historic Old Town, and SeaWorld. Whether staying at the Catamaran Resort for pleasure or business, you’ll experience San Diego, one of Southern California’s most exciting cities, in all its fascinating and colorful detail. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Catamaran Hotel Mission Bay
Catamaran Resort & Spa San Diego
Catamaran Resort San Diego
Catamaran San Diego

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