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The Westgate Hotel
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Reviewed February 7, 2012

I found the Westgate online by accident...which was serendipitous. As it is not part of a chain, the property has its own website, but often does not appear in lists of hotels in downtown San Diego where it is located. Nor is it particularly visible from the street, where the entrance is recessed inside an arcade-like entrance, almost hidden by large urns of tropical plants. Given that the building, built in the 70s, has 19 stories of rooms, a large underground parking garage, a main-level floor of shops, and a second-floor ballroom, this is all the more unsusal.

The hotel is unique in other ways as well. Modeled after an anti-room in the Palace of Versailles, the lobby and adjoining rooms are decorated in a resplendent fashion reminiscent of the great halls of Europe: giant chandeliers, antique furniture uphostered with period tapestries, chinoiserie, grand mirrors and paintings...and huge displays for fresh-cut flowers arranged in over-sized bowls, urns and vases. Even more remarkable, there is no signage whatsoever: no post-card racks, no magazines, no tourist displays--indeed, nothing that would indicate that his is a hotel in a busy urban locale.

Check-in was fast, polite and professional. When I explained that I hoped for plenty of sunlight in my room, the young woman at the desk quietly up-graded me to a higher floor where she assured me there was lots of light and a view as well. Indeed, the room was lovely, once the bell-man ushered me through the small anti-chamber that disquised its entrance. He had appeared curbside when my taxi arrived from the airport, and had spirited my luggage to the row of elevators in the looby where he waited until I had received my key. After showing me around my spacious room, opening the heavy drapes to reveal the stunning view, he disappeared as unobtrusively as he a materialized--all the more astonishing given than he looked like a Thirties moviestar.

The room was large, with pale striped wallpaper, brocade drapery, reproduction Louis X1V furniture, fine bedding, and no artwork other than a gilded mirror. The bathroom, which consisted of two rooms, along with a large closet, almost formed its own "wing," with a long vanity and stool in front of the room-wide mirror. The WC included a sit-down shower large enough for two. The Gilchrist and Soames toiletries were in bottles twice the size of most hotel amenities, and they were replenished daily.

The hotel's turn-down service is excellent--which I found surprising, given that I don't particularly appreciate the ritual. My first night there, I went to bed early, and missed it. My second night, I came home to find the lights in the room dimmed, environmental sounds playing from the radio, the heavy damask quilt and throw pillows removed from the bed and piled neatly on a stool that must have been hidden in the closet, the bed "remade" with down duvet and three sheets, and two discreet chocolates adorning a breakfast menu on the coverlet. The effect was peaceful and relaxing, and most appreciated after a hectic day.

I have never stayed in hotel (and I have stayed in many) where I felt both valued and ignored...in just the right ways. From the moment I arrived, I felt so welcome that I considered myself priveleged; yet, simultaneoulsly, no one approached me during my stay, or interupted me when I worked in my room on the wireless internet, as I did two afternoons Housekeeping was immaculate, but invisible. On the one day when I stayed in all day to work, the head of housekeeping phoned me late in the afternoon to ask if I wanted my room cleaned, and to avail myself of the turn-down service. Somehow, she knew that I had been in my room all day, and had left me alone until she felt obliged to enquire about my wishes.

My wish is to be able to stay here again. The dining-room is one of the loveliest I have seen. The food, judging by the two breakfasts I enjoyed there, was original and delicious, the service, once again, impeccable. The small bar is elegant yet intimate...which perhaps summarizes my experience of the whole hotel, where I stayed for one week. How a property of this size manages to run a complicated facility with such attention to detail amazes me...and makes it very rare in my experience of American hotels. And I paid less than I would have if I had booked a Holiday Inn. Go figure.

My only quibble about my experience is entirely personal. The Saturday night that I visited the bar to listen to live music, almost everyone there was dressed in gowns and tuxedos ... attending the opera, no doubt, which is near-by, or the wedding reception that was being held on the third floor. These patrons all looked appropriately dressed for their surroundings. In my jeans and sweater, I felt so out-of-place that I left which, no doubt, was unecessary. But I wish I had brought some fancy clothes--which I will do next time I visit.

The Westgate is such a fine hotel that it qualifies as a destination in itself.

Room Tip: When you book, make sure that the daily "resort fee" is included in your cost. This allows you wireless access, US telephone calls, admittance to the gym, and to the pool, which was under construction while I was there. Don't be intimidated by the grandeur of the dining-room. The prices on the menu, at least for breakfast, are comparable to near-by restaurants, and the food is far superior--not to mention the service and surroundings.
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank robert43218
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2012

This ornately decorated hotel is in a great location - we walked to Gaslamp Quarter as well as down to the waterfront ,and there is a trolley stop right beside the hotel if this is too much walking for some. Bed was firm and comfortable, shower pressure was awesome, lovely bathroom area, mini-fridge handy, and room quiet. Any staff we spoke to were pleasant, and the room was nicely cleaned and decorated (not our normal taste, but lavish style in keeping with the hotel's theme and fun for a change), with chocolates delivered in the early evening. Yes, we heard some low-level city noise, but, well, it's in the middle of the city, so....no trouble for us. No view from our room, but we were out too much to worry about that.

Big perk: We arrived early in the day and were allowed early check-in by helpful front desk / concierge--- much appreciated (and not expected)! We did not use room service, but the prices seemed quite reasonable. We saw some guests enjoying an afternoon tea complete with harpist.

I was originally not going to recommend this hotel because of the $15 daily resort fees. I am not clear what these fees paid for, exactly.... We were told this covered things like the spa, coffee, wifi, etc.--- yet most of these are normally included in the regular daily rate of hotels 2 star and up (in my experience). I didn't see a particularly luxurious spa area (correct me if I am wrong...) that could justify the fee. Coffee in room was barely passable with normal artificial creamers, etc., although herbal tea was nice touch. It would be better, in my opinion, just to inflate the daily rate so guests were clear from the onset what they were paying per day. Alternatively, the hotel could add more to justify this fee. (I'm not certain if this resort fee applies to all hotel guests or just those who had reduced rates - we booked through Hotwire..)

We likely would not return as we do like a pool/jacuzzi area, and I don't understand what the $15 fee per day pays for. It reads as a bit of a cash grab...

If pool/jacuzzi not important to you, the fee is a non-issue, and you appreciate a lavish decorating style (French, 18th century, I think?) this hotel is recommended for location and friendly staff.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank jojofliessouth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2012

Spent three days in January on an upper floor room, facing East. Since our lower level room was not clean at check in we were upgraded. Nicely appointed, good bed, relaxing furniture. Nice view. Bath, particularly the shower, needed to be updated, with new overhead faucet needed. Interesting how two rooms are reached via foyer room from the hallway. Lots of noise when people across from us opened/closed door. Noisy from street noise and sirens in the night. We ate in the restaurant on Friday night. Surprisingly good. Very expensive daily parking. The hotel was built in the 70's and was opulant in its days.

Room Tip: Hold out for an upper floor room. Save money by parking in a lot across the street. Try the restaurant.
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank burkeohio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2012

I was on business at the Westgate and was pleased with the distance to the convention center; not close, but not so far that it was a problem. The lobby is beautiful and reeks of a long ago Europe; most of the staff was interning from hotel school and it showed.
My room was large, the bathroom was gorgeous and there was actually a bench to sit on in the bath area to apply makeup. The entryway from the room to the outside hall buffered hall noise and was much appreciated.
All of the above would make the Westgate a lovely hotel and a "hope I get to stay here again" type of place.
HOWEVER......what made the Westgate not only special but superior in my mind is the fact that the staff takes the second step.
I had asked for a wake up call ( that is delivered by a human voice with a delightful german accent ) but got up prior and hopped in the shower. Didn't even think twice.
I didn't hear the phone ring and carried on with my toilette until the door knocked somewhat firmly. Grousing to myself for being interupted, I cracked the door and it was a desk attendant that had COME TO THE ROOM TO SEE IF I WAS OK,,,,,,,,What??? you mean someone thought...gosh....is she on the floor? is she oversleeping etc?

Major kudos to the Westgate.......top that Marriott....Westin...Hilton.....

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled on business
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1  Thank BethTulsa_OK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2012

The Westgate is the finest hotel I have ever had the privilege of staying in. It by far exceeded all of my expectations!! The employees were all very polite and accommodating.
Walking distance to the Gaslamp area and PETCO Park.
We had room service for Breakfast and it was very good!
Valet Parking.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank danielle F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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