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“Bells and whistles but uncomfortable”

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The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina
Ranked #115 of 279 Hotels in San Diego
Chicago
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Bells and whistles but uncomfortable”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2012

Let me start by saying that the staff at this hotel is very accommodating -- though young. They are welcoming and eager to help; however, even the best staff can't make up for what adds up to a very strange hotel experience.

First, the area is geared to a very young crowd -- think Spring Break on Padre Island. Lots of drinking establishments with young patrons screaming and yelling. Remember that old beer smell in the frat house? It wafts out from every bar around here.

Second, the noise level is uncomfortable. I actually found earplugs waiting on my pillow when I first entered the room -- not promising.

Third, there is a mild odor of "old house" in the entire building. Not sure if this is intentional (a cleaning product or incense?) but it made me feel like I was touring a crusty old museum.

Fourth, the room (I stayed on the 5th floor on the Penthouse level) could not be less welcoming. Concrete floors, stainless steel countertops, multiple "cool" electronic gadgets (including the lights) that I had to struggle to figure out how to work (nobody came to the room with me, which is fine -- preferred, actually -- in a "normal" room, but not here). Intriguing Lavazza coffee machine, but nobody bothered to tell me how to turn it on (luckily, Starbucks across the street). No reading lamps beside the bed. Plugs hidden low (had to move the bedside table) to plug in my phone (I like to have it nearby when traveling). Nice city view, but the windows were filthy.

On the plus side, the room was meticulously clean and I liked the high ceilings. The bed was also very comfortable and I slept quite well once I got over the noise outside.

Basically, if you're under 30 and in San Diego to party, then this is the best hotel ever. If you're not -- and you're here on business, like me -- then head to one of the dependable standbys (Marriott or Hilton) nearby and with water views instead of bar views.

Room Tip: Go for the highest floor -- as far from the bar on the first floor as possible!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank PartyOfFive_ChicagO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cbrooks227, Guest Relations Manager at The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina, responded to this review, November 11, 2012
Greeting and Thank you for the helpful review – we value all feedback in the spirit or continued improvement. I am very happy to hear that you found the staff as accommodating as you did. As for the street noise, this is an issue we are very aware of and are taking the step to fix. I am happy to announce that all rooms will be retrofitted with city windows by early 2013. We have been previously unable to make these modifications due to historical restrictions. As for the rooms themselves, the smell that you experienced comes from the brickwork, dating to 1890 and original to the building. The design of the rooms is that which is minimal, the design actually helps to maintain the cleanliness standards we stress at the Keating. I like to think that this helps you enjoy the room yourself, rather than all the previous guests, including hair and skin cells that can not be vacuumed from carpeting. The stark appearance may be shocking at first, but warms up quickly as you make yourself at home. I am currently researching bedside lamps for all stanzas, currently these are only offered in our suites. I am would love for you to give us the opportunity to improve on the areas we can that you mentioned, our focus for this upcoming year is to bring a true balance to the business and pleasure aspects of staying at the Keating Hotel.
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732 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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rancho santa fe
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2012

I am a very experienced traveler and I understand the wide variety of hotel product in the marketplace. Although I typically stay in big brand hotels, I do enjoy experimenting with boutique properties. By in large, I have never had a bad experience until now!

My wife and I booked a room at The Keating Hotel in the Gas Lamp district in San Diego to celebrate my 50th birthday. We arrived at the hotel around 1pm. Our room was not ready but they said they would call around 5 when the room was ready. That was no big deal. But when we finally entered our room, we noticed a distinct mildew/ mold odor that consumed the room. The windows to the exterior were also caked in dirt. Not a "they have not been washed in a while" dirty but more like "they have not been washed in years" kind of dirty. After sitting in the room for a couple of minutes we decided to complain about the odor. Their answer was fabreeze. That did not do the trick. They offered to move us to another room but that room had the same mildew/ mould aroma as the first. So 20 minutes after checking in, we are checking out. I asked management for consideration/ refund given the circumstances and they said no. We occupied the room for 30 minutes tops and they charged us full charge for our stay. There is a bright side to this story, I was able to book a renovated view room on a high floor at the Manchester Hyatt a few blocks away for less and the room smelled fresh and clean!

Room Tip: Check the odor of your room before you check in!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank rich r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cbrooks227, Guest Relations Manager at The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina, responded to this review, November 11, 2012
It is unfortunate that we were your first bad experience, however, lets be honest. First, you and your wife did not arrive together; she arrived hours in advance of you. Second, we attempted several times to make her happy, including showing several rooms, all which had a different scent (orange cleaner, mold, body odor, cleaning products, the list went on). Upon viewing the upgraded suites available, your wife had no problems with smells, only prices. We offered discounts as low as 50% for the suites but she did not want to splurge for the extra amenities (the bathtub in particular). After several hours in the room alone, you arrived and chose to leave. No refund was granted as your wife did occupy the room making it unable to be rented for the evening. Every possible effort was made on our part, but nothing seemed to satisfy. Any ways, I am glad that you were able to have an enjoy able evening at a hotel that may have been a better fit.
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Travelers are raving about these San Diego hotels

Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 28, 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed here over his birthday to meet my cousins for a fun night downtown! I find it easiest to list the benefits and negatives....

Pros-
1. Location - Great! Downtown close to everything!
2. Price - Very budget friendly for a high quality room.
3. Room - We were upgraded to the top floor, very open and spacious room. No carpet, and a really comfortable bed!
4. Amenities - WOW. Very nice upgraded features.
5. Bathroom/Shower - Private toilet area, and cool rain shower head, but open!! My boyfriend enjoyed his view from the bed haha! :)
6. Customer Service - We were greeted outside, by the front desk agent, can't remember her name but she was stellar!!! The valet gentleman was nice too and carried our bags to our room! Unfortunately we did not have any cash on us and felt like real jerk-faces for stiffing him at our door. We later pulled out $20 from the bank to say Thank you and Sorry
7. The hotel does have earplugs if you feel the room is too loud, nice complimentary item.
8. A gentleman came and delivered cookies, coffee packets and a room service breakfast ordering menu at night. My boyfriend devoured the cookies and decided we had to stay there again just for those :)

Cons-
These weren't really issues for us, I'm really just giving our thoughts on the top gripes I read!

1. I guess people complain its noisy, but to be honest I live on a busy street in Las Vegas and it was comforting, sounded like home to me! The garbage truck in the morning may wake people up, but we were already awake...it was like 8.
2. A lot of people on here complained about the shower and to be truthful I would not stay in the room with a friend or family, as you are slightly visible to someone on the bed haha :) Like I said though, my boyfriend thoroughly enjoyed it as is and didn't bother me.
3. I noticed a lot of complaints about the valet parking. It's a city, expect to pay for parking, at least it's not 75 a night (NYC). We had no trouble, waited maybe 5 minutes for the car, was returned in perfect order no bumps bruises or scratches :)

Overall a GREAT STAY!!! Thanks again The Keating!!!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Zanbenz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cbrooks227, Guest Relations Manager at The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina, responded to this review, October 3, 2012
Dear Rachel H-
Thank you so much for this great review! I’m glad to hear you and your boyfriend enjoyed your stay at The Keating Hotel. Thank you for your kind words which I have shared with my entire staff. Great customer service is something we pride ourselves in. We strive to make sure our guests feel at home while they are staying with us, and it’s great to hear our efforts didn’t go unnoticed. You pretty much said it all, and well said might I add. All I can say is THANK YOU for this wonderful review! We look forward to the opportunity of welcoming you back the next time you are in the San Diego area.

Christos Brooks
Director of Standards and Operations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 24, 2012

just got back from San Diego, me and my girlfriend statyed here at The Keating the design is very modern which is super cool to have since its something very different from the regular hotels that we've stasyed at in the past. the staff is super friendly and they remember who you are. I want to give a personal shout out to Ariel at the Keating because she was very awesome. there is a little street noise but let be real people you're in downtown San Diego what do you expect.. I read other reviews about the keating before I book it and a lot of people were saying the street noise was so loud i think those statments were crap. all in all the stay and the service was great!! i will stay here again and although the staff asked if I was proposing ( I didn't) but it doesn't mean I wont be next time.. :) to all the staff at the Keating THANK YOU for an awesome stay

W D of Arizona

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank will D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cbrooks227, Guest Relations Manager at The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina, responded to this review, October 3, 2012
Dear Will D.-

Thank you for taking the time to write this wonderful review. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay with us and thank you for choosing us to spend your special getaway weekend with. Ariel is amazing, and I’m glad she was extremely helpful during your stay. We look forward to getting the opportunity to welcome you back. (and hopefully for that special occasion we were anticipating!)

Christos Brooks
Director of Standards and Operations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
32 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2012

Wow. This is in a historic building with a design makeover by Pininfarina (designers of Ferrari and Maserati, to name a couple). The interior carpeting is deep red, while our room had the same tones along with brighter red and cream. The room has a modern look while being enhanced by the old world brick charm of its age.

About our particular room: We were in a suite on the top floor (PH level) with a multi view of the city towards the heart of Gaslamp quarter and out towards the ocean. There's a CA King bed, walk-in type open shower, separate toilet room, desk, sitting area, storage and a small twin-size settee. Every room features an espresso machine with Lavazza coffee (complimentary) and a mini refrigerator stocked with liquor, soda, juice and water. There's also some snacks, all for purchase.

The design from front desk to room and hallways is amazing. However, the only con here is that there the windows are old single-paned and it sounds like they are always cracked open because you can hear the activities in the district. We happen to be here Labor Day weekend so were stuck with partying after partying down below, including an all-night event at a nearby nightclub. This was the only issue we had with noise, but managed to get our sleep in the night.

Staff is friendly, for the most part, especially Brittany and another Latina gal (didn't catch her name) and the graveyard guy who became a familiar face first thing in the morning for my early-bird self.

The hotel is situated within walking distance of everything from a multitude of cuisines to gift shops. The price is more than reasonable and prepare for valet-only parking at $32 per night (not bad). There's fresh cookies daily and pastries on occasional mornings. The elevator is slow, which is perfect for me since I tend to get dizzy in most elevators but this one didn't give me that effect.

A definite recommendation if one wants to be situated at the heart of all the happenings, but would say this is more for the younger adults in the 20 to 30-somethings who like the night life.

We love the design and appreciate the historical value of the building.

Room Tip: Valet-only parking, no pool, no fitness center but in the center of everything in the Gaslamp Distri...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ChiqueTrendz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cbrooks227, Guest Relations Manager at The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina, responded to this review, September 5, 2012
Thank you so much for the positive feedback! I am very pleased to hear that you enjoyed your time at the Keating Hotel and found our in-room amenities to your liking. I will be sure to pass on your thanks and kind words to Brentney, Cindy, and Carlos - we pride ourselves on service above all else and I am very happy that they are providing quality care to our guests. We look forward to your next stay, please contact me directly for an reservation needs you may have. Thanks again, until next time!
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Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2012

The Keating is in the heart of The Gas Lamp district on "F" Street. I stayed with my daughtr while touring colleges & she was so impressed that her mom picked such a hip boutique hotel.
We fell in love with the beds, the furniture & the Nespresso machine for comp expressos & even steamed milk! The daily cookies are delcious. Room service delivered their promise of 7 minutes. I timed them & they did it!
The hotel is in a historical building & the windows cannot be sound proofed, but they even supply ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. Another detail not missed! Location is outstanding.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank yvonnedetert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cbrooks227, Manager at The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina, responded to this review, November 11, 2012
Glad you enjoyed your stay! It is always nice to hear the positive feedback and how guests do appreciate what we at the Keating are trying to accomplish. Please contact us directly for your next visit for a complimentary upgrade as a thank you for taking the time to share your experience.
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Southern California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2012

I pre-paid $299 towards a stay at The Keating, and they refuse to allow me get the full value of the $299 when staying at the hotel for one night. The room rate is $199, and they told me I had to lose the pre-paid difference. The $299 originally included many things like a 2 night stay, dinner, breakfast, champagne, and internet. All I asked for was a single night at $199 and maybe breakfast/parking to make up for the $100 I was losing. They refused and told me that their policy was to not only make me eat the difference as the money was for room only. They also said they told anyone else (and referred to many) who called they had to forfeit any value difference as well.

This is a hotel that is more concerned with keeping pre-paid money than working with customers to get their fair value. This is poor management and bad customer relations. With so many options in San Diego...I am sure anyone reading this can find better customer relations at a name brand hotel or even a better run boutique. If you do stay here, just make sure you get what you paid for cause once they have your money....its a done deal.

Needless to say we did not stay here. So we cannot comment on the hotel location, rooms or cleanliness, etc. We simply will never stay at a place that refuses to honor the full value a customer pre pays by working with them to achieve that.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
67 Thank fishtale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cbrooks227, Front Office Manager at The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina, responded to this review, August 14, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us; we value all feedback in the spirit of continued improvement. Throughout the year, we offer exclusive packages as an invitation for guests to experience both the Keating Hotel and MerK Bistro. These packages are available directly with your Personal Concierge and sometimes through discounted travel sites; to ensure fairness for all guest purchasing these vouchers, restrictions do apply, including an expiration date (typically 6-9 months from date of purchase).

We understand situations arise that may complicate your travel plans and do not want anyone to miss the opportunity to experience the Keating; our policy is to redeem all package vouchers for their face value as a credit towards room and tax on a future stay after the expiration date has passed. Again, this policy is to ensure that all guests receive uniform service and treatment.

Should you reconsider, we would love to have you as a guest. Please contact me directly and I will assist will applying the $299 credit to your reservation.

Thank you,

Christos Brooks
Standards & Operations Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina

Property: The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina
Address: 432 F St, San Diego, CA 92101-6118
Location: United States > California > San Diego
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#23 Spa Hotel in San Diego
#37 Luxury Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina 4*
Number of rooms: 35
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
San Diego’s first true luxury boutique hotel that transformed the Gaslamp District from bland to chic. Situated in a building dated from 1890, The Keating is Pininfarina’s first hotel creation -world-renowned master designer behind Ferrari and Maserati. The result is a rare fusion of past and future. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Keating Hotel San Diego
Keating San Diego

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