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“Great hotel with great service!”
Review of The Bristol Hotel

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The Bristol Hotel
Ranked #70 of 278 Hotels in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Tustin, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great hotel with great service!”
Reviewed November 8, 2013

This is my 3rd stay at the Bristol. Girls getaway weekend, and they were most accommodating. We had looked at the restaurant menu on the website and discovered Poutine, but when we got there, it was no longer on the menu. We asked to see the chef, and told him that we had looked forward to having the Poutine. He said he would see what he had in the kitchen and make us something special, which he most certainly did, and it most certainly was!! The staff were all wonderful!! The hotel itself is ideally situated downtown, close to many attractions and public transportation. This is my go to hotel when I'm in San Diego.

Room Tip: Rooms on the east side are quieter, but the west side does have a great view of the harbor.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tina2165
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bristolMGR, General Manager at The Bristol Hotel, responded to this review, November 12, 2013
Dear Tina2165,
Welcome Back! We are pleased to learn that we have your vote of confidence and that you are enjoying your stay(s) at the Bristol Hotel. As you already know, our restaurant, The First Avenue Bar and Grille, has some of the best cuisine in San Diego and I was pleased to read that our Chef gave you special attention and whipped up a special appetizer for you! Our menus do change frequently and we introduce new entrées and food creations on a continuous basis to keep the menu fresh. Unfortunately it took a little longer to switch out our menu on the website and we apologize for that oversight.

On behalf of the Bristol Team, thank you for making this “your go to hotel” when visiting San Diego.

Yours truly,
Gregory T. Rizzi
General Manager
Bristol Hotel
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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English first
Irvine, California
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed November 8, 2013

Just spent 2nights here with five friends. We last visited as a group 11 years ago, they have done a major remodel during that time with nice results. Rooms are well appointed with desk and chairs, small table and two double beds. Only complaint is no fan in the bathroom so it gets very steamy and hot unless you leave the door open a bit. The staff was always friendly, helpful and knowledgeable when we asked about trolleys and things. They were doing major road repairs in front of the hotel, guess that is why we had ear plugs next to our beds! Great bartenders and the chef went out of his way to make us poutine as a snack in the bar one evening when he found out it was still on the website menu but had been taken off the restaurant menu.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Loisshops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bristolMGR, General Manager at The Bristol Hotel, responded to this review, November 12, 2013
Dear Loisshops,
I was greatly pleased to read that you and your girlfriends had a chance to revisit us after 11 years and that you liked our renovations!

Our Chef is very accommodating and I was pleased that he prepared a special batch of Poutine for you! Our bartenders are mixologist experts and they prepare some of the best and newest libations around. I am pleased to report that those “pesky” road repairs are now completed and traffic flow and noise is now back to normal. The city was making emergency repairs to water pipes in the adjacent building.

The Bristol’s reception agents know the area very well and they make very unique and informative suggestions for sightseeing and offsite restaurants.

We enjoyed having your group stay with us and we hope that we will see you back real soon!!

Have a great Thanksgiving!!
Gregory T. Rizzi
General Manager
Bristol Hotel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2013

I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota; my current work is in San Diego, 1350 miles away. I've super-commuted, via United Airlines, to my consulting job in San Diego since July. The first few trips I stayed at a well-known, national brand extended stay hotel. My stays were nice and the staff was polite, but there was a certain sameness and somewhat clinical feel to each of my trips to San Diego... that is until I was introduced to the Bristol Hotel by a co-worker. (Thank you Matt Confer!)

My, my, what a noticeable difference the Bristol's boutique approach to hospitality is from the formulaic chain experience - I definitely got an upgrade. If you want a cool, cozy, elegant, and friendly place to call home in downtown San Diego, the Bristol is it!

Read no further, just book your stay immediately and save yourself the browsing and consideration time.

I've now stayed at the Bristol five times since early September (25 nights) - I think I'm a bit of an expert by now :)

Location: The Bristol is ideally situated in downtown San Diego; everything worth seeing is literally within walking distance or a short cab ride. The Embarcadero is just a few blocks away... a nice broad harbor-front walkway that, if you follow it to the left, will take you to Seaport Village, the yacht marina, and on to the Convention Center. Interested in sampling a diverse shopping experience? Horton Plaza is about a five-minute walk around the corner from the hotel. The Gaslamp District, with its wide array of bars, restaurants, and nightspots lies just on the other side of Horton Plaza a few minutes walk. You won't EVER be bored...

Check-in/Check-out: Painless, polite, and efficient. Christina is the Bristol’s Front Office manager, who is ably assisted by Sayde during the day and Maurice as the night auditor/ front desk assistant.

Rooms: When you're away from home as much as I am, it's nice to enjoy the warm cozy feel of my Bristol Hotel room when I return from work each day. It feels more like a personal pied-a-terre in San Diego rather than the predictable sameness of what you might find at a Westin or Hilton. Viva la difference! Rooms on the west side of the Bristol front 1st Avenue and have a compelling city view. There can occasionally be a little bit of street noise (trolleys, sirens, buses, trash trucks, etc.), however, it's never been an issue for me - as a child I lived in center-city Philadelphia. If you are a light sleeper, courtesy earplugs are on each night stand. If you REALLY need quiet, just ask for an inside room; you’ll have all the quiet you need. The Bristol’s mattresses and bed linens are comfy with plenty of pillows; you'll sleep just fine. The bathrooms are cheery with nice assortment of "green" toiletries and lots of fluffy towels. Interestingly, the toilet has a touch-button system for flushing - one each for light or heavy flushes. Although common in Japan, I've never seen it deployed commercially here before, but it works well. There are fresh cotton robes and slippers in the closet, so kick-back, relax, and stay a while. Also, each room has a self-serve mini-bar and a well-provisioned in-room snack tray for those who get late-night munchies. There's a nice desk with an executive chair on wheels and free high-speed WiFi that works well, so if you need to work, it's no problem to be productive in your room. The in-room courtesy coffee maker features Dark Roast from Seattle's Best. I wasn’t really familiar with that coffee brand until I started staying here, but I've enjoyed it sufficiently that I now buy it for my home use.

Bar and Restaurant: Most hotels have so-so food and drink that's over-priced - not so at the Bristol. Their bar is warm and intimate with a distinct "East Coast" grill feel to it. The bartenders, Jeff (soon moving on to help open the Cheescake Factory store in Escondido), Ryan, and Eric do a great job professionally serving well-made Martini's (I love their Cosmos), decent wines, and some good beers. If you are really adventurous, ask one of them to make you a "Cold Cock" Manhattan. Cold Cock is a brand-new herb-infused American whiskey that Jeff is helping to promote. Although there is a formal Dining Room immediately adjacent, I usually eat my dinner seated at the bar. The food at the Bristol is simply delicious with VERY generous portions; you won't ever go to bed hungry (see pix). Hotel guests get a special half-price deal on several entrees, including a pasta dish, roast chicken, meat loaf, salmon, and flat iron steak. I've tried them all and they're wonderful, however, my personal favorite is the flat iron steak. Be sure to try the bacon-wrapped shrimp or roasted Brussels sprouts as appetizers, they're both quite excellent. If you happen to be staying at the Bristol over a Thursday night, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST try their prime rib special dinner. It includes a very generous slab of tender prime rib cooked to perfection, an individual sized Yorkshire pudding, fresh grilled veggies, a separate crock of scalloped au gratin potatoes, and a ramekin of perfectly made horseradish sauce... yum! This meal is a must; don’t miss it. Savvy local “insiders” come here just to eat, even though they are not hotel guests - I now know why. Lastly, I'm not a big dessert eater, but the desserts in the Bristol's Dining Room are also very delicious and won't disappoint - be sure to try one... and their coffee is very good. The Dining Room opens for breakfast at 6:30 AM and the menu, while limited, is sufficient for anyone's tastes, whether a Continental breakfast or a full, hot-plated American breakfast (see photos) with all the trimmings (TIP: try some of their fresh pico de gallo on your breakfast potatoes).

Events/Catering: I’ve been sufficiently impressed with the food and beverage operation at the Bristol that I’ve suggested my company start using their meeting space for some hosted events. In the last two weeks, we’ve held 2 gatherings here for some high-end folks involved in international trade. Needless-to-say, we’ve been happy with how things were handled and we are now planning to have our Christmas luncheon here. The Bristol is a great venue for everything from family reunions and weddings to formal dinners and banquets. The meeting spaces, while somewhat limited, are very “classy” and understated and can accommodate many different types of functions. Kayleen Webster, a bright, young woman with a great smile and attitude, is their Event Coordinator and she will take good care or your planning and catering needs. Tip: For the right occasion, the Bristol’s ballroom has a VERY SPECIAL feature - it’s roof can be opened up so you and your guests can dine al fresco and you can dance or party “under the stars” quite literally! If I’m not mistaken, I think the Bristol is the ONLY hotel with such a feature on America's West Coast.

Parking: All parking at the Bristol is valet only. It's $26 per day for overnight hotel guests (half that if you are driving a true hybrid like a Prius, which I now request from Hertz when I visit) and validated hourly parking is provided for the dining room and bar patrons. The Bristol's valet attendants are all polite, helpful, and responsive... no complaints whatsoever. Tip: When you are getting ready to leave your room for the day, pick-up the house line, dial 141, give the valet your ticket number, and they’ll have your car in the portico and ready to go when you come down to the lobby. Very cool!

People: At the end of the day, hospitality is generated by a hotel's staff... not the bricks and mortar nor furnishings. The Bristol's staff are just great - cooperative, polite, and caring. From the wait staff to the housekeepers to the maintenance crew, they all work together as a team to provide fine service to their guests. Particular standouts are Ms. Tracey Wood, the Bristol's Sales Manager, and Greg Rizzi, her General Manager (who you MUST take time to introduce yourself to). Tracey was a huge help in getting me to move my account to her hotel - this engaging and charming young woman really "gets" customer service... a rarity today. Her GM, Greg, is a true "old-school" gentleman and a very dedicated veteran hotelier who got his start years ago in New York. Greg has managed some significant properties during the arc of his career and his experience shows in the Bristol's operations. Hospitality doesn't just happen; you must train for it and it needs to become an ingrained “top-down” mindset that ALL staff must embrace daily to generate a successful guest experience. The Bristol's staff really works hard to keep their guests happy and, thankfully, I'm one of them. I would be remiss to not give a special shout out to Jeff, Ryan, and Eric, the principal bartenders at the Bristol - they really shine at their job and work very hard to keep the food and libations well-attended in the bar. And lastly, I must say "thank you" to my waitress in the Dining Room, Christina, who turns my delicious breakfasts (see photos) around each morning in just a few minutes and who keeps my coffee topped-off in a timely fashion.

Conclusion: If you’d like to get away from the more impersonal (some might say sterile) chain hotel experience, the Bristol should be your clear, obvious, and intelligent choice. It’s an intimate, elegant, boutique property with superior food and beverage... and great customer service.

It's my "home away from home" for good reason - you'd better check it out. You’ll be glad you did!

Room Tip: I love Room 811 with it's nice decor and partial harbor view, but you can't have it during o...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SamKephart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bristolMGR, General Manager at The Bristol Hotel, responded to this review, November 8, 2013
Dear Samkephart,
WOW! What a review…I can’t thank you enough. You have indeed identified what the Bristol Hotel is all about! We provide exceptional service, spotless and deluxe accommodations at reasonable rates and we have employees who truly care about our guests and understand what Hospitality is all about.

Thank you for your kind praises and for taking the time to write and identify every aspect of your hotel experience and especially for recognizing our employees by name (including yours truly). I will be sure to pass along your accolades. I know that our employees will be delighted to read your synopsis of your previous stays with us and I am taking the liberty of having your review added to our employee newsletter and blog.

Have a safe journey home and I look forward to thanking you in person.

Yours truly,
Gregory T. Rizzi
General Manager
Bristol Hotel
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garden grove, ca
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed November 3, 2013

This hotel is in the heart of downtown and within walking distance of everything you need. Staff was friendly. Room was clean and suited our needs. The décor was nice - had the boutique feel. I had no complaints and would stay here again.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dani-brian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bristolMGR, General Manager at The Bristol Hotel, responded to this review, November 4, 2013
Dear dani-brian,
Thank you for your nice review and I am glad to read that you enjoyed our central location, walking distance to everything you need, and that you enjoyed the décor and cleanliness of your room.

We look forward to having you as our guest again; hopefully soon!

Yours truly,
Gregory T. Rizzi
General Manager
Bristol Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level 6 Contributor
117 reviews
103 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2013

Stayed at the Bristol early this month. It was a long drive from LA and was looking forward to a relaxing weekeend. Parking is valet only, which is $26. But if you are so inclined, you can drive around the block and look for a spot but watch the street signs! It's easier on a weekend.
The parking valets and front desk are helpful and friendly. The lobby is a hubhub of activity, that day there was a wedding so there were plenty of people, plus the action at the restaurant First Ave Bar and Grille which was very lively. I go up to my room-and it's beautiful and spacious! I love the black and red colors, the bed was very comfortable with a spacious workspace. There was ample furniture to have people over, closet space and nice bathroom.
They were using the environmentally friendly full/half flush but wasn't working quite well but not enough to disrupt the trip-I reported it on my way out because I was only staying one night.
The fridge was a fully stocked mini bar and they have a nicec offeemaker, blowdryer, robes. I saw the other reviews who complained about the noise but my room was quiet-it faced a white wall of the building next door. No view, but at least it was quiet. After I entertained local friends, I slept very soundly on the wonderful bed. The hotel is walking distance to fast food like Wendy's and Chipotle, and also a nice restaurant Tender Greens , all just across the street.
Being in downtown it is close to many restaurants, theaters and San Diego's attractions.
The only other thing on my wish list for this hotel is a pool-they don't have any. But otherwise, it was nice to see a histroic building coverted for adaptive reuse, and reinvented for the boutique of today delivering very good quality service for a great value!

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view!
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Green Features: The full/half flash is a nice touch, just make sure it works!
  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RichieSel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bristolMGR, General Manager at The Bristol Hotel, responded to this review, October 31, 2013
Dear RichieSel,
What a nice review, thank you! As you mentioned, the Bristol Hotel is in a great location in downtown San Diego, near many great food options, which I am glad you enjoyed. I am pleased you found our staff to be friendly and helpful and the room to be spacious, quiet, and to your liking. I hope you enjoyed the mini-fridge and am glad you were able to entertain local friends while you were in town! Next time you stay with us, keep in mind that we do have rooms with spectacular views of the city’s skyline and bay, if you want to request that for your next stay, we will do our best to accommodate you.

On behalf of the Bristol Team, thank you for selecting the Bristol Hotel and we will look forward to your return visit.

Yours truly,
Gregory T. Rizzi
General Manager
Bristol Hotel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Branch, New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2013 via mobile

We stayed two nights at this wonderful hotel. We had a corner room that was nicely appointed. The bathroom was comfortable. The housekeeping was spotless !! The linens were of high quality. Being down town it was accessable to everything. The staff was very friendly and helpful with our questions. We would certainly come back to this hotel.

Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank mo6345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bristolMGR, General Manager at The Bristol Hotel, responded to this review, October 30, 2013
Dear mo6345,
We were pleased to read that you enjoyed a two night stay in your well-appointed, corner room! Our Executive Housekeeper has a great deal of pride in her staff and strives to always provide spotless accommodations- thank you for your acknowledgement of this!

I am also glad you enjoyed the Bristol’s location near all of the major attractions and just walking distance to Horton Plaza for shopping, the convention center, Seaport Village, Petco Park, waterfront and several performing arts venues.

On behalf of the Bristol Team, that you for residing at our boutique hotel!

Yours truly,
Gregory T. Rizzi
General Manager
Bristol Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 28, 2013

I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed my stay at this hotel. I was in town for business, and everyone was absolutely wonderful. The restaurant was excellent, the staff was friendly and the rooms were spacious and clean. Room service was quick and wi-fi was free! The signal strength was excellent which is such a nice surprise. I'm used to poor signals at other establishments but I can say I was never kicked off once. Many excellent restaurants and the mall are within walking distance. Little Italy is less than a mile away. Old Town is a short cab ride away and the staff was very nice about calling cabs for us when needed. This hotel is a gem!

Room Tip: Rooms that don't face 1st Ave might be a better choice to avoid traffic noise
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MissBNV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bristolMGR, General Manager at The Bristol Hotel, responded to this review, October 30, 2013
Dear MissBNV,
It is very rewarding to read reviews that are complimentary and acknowledge our efforts-thank you for a great review! I am so pleased that you enjoyed your business trip to San Diego and you found our staff to be friendly and our rooms to be spacious and clean. Our on-site restaurant, complimentary wifi and central location, walking distance to the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and more, makes the Bristol the perfect place to stay for both business and leisure.
We are overjoyed that you enjoyed your stay and we hope to see you again soon.

Yours truly,
Gregory T. Rizzi
General Manager
Bristol Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Bristol Hotel

Property: The Bristol Hotel
Address: 1055 1st Ave, San Diego, CA 92101-4890
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Diego > Downtown
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#20 Best Value Hotel in San Diego
#24 Green Hotel in San Diego
#27 Business Hotel in San Diego
#42 Romantic Hotel in San Diego
#53 Family Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Bristol Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 102
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Bristol Hotel, a premier boutique hotel in downtown San Diego, offers extreme comfort and friendly service whether your travel is for business or leisure. The Bristol Hotel - a Greystone Hotel - is a fresh take on modern style - our sophisticated atmosphere awaits you in our contemporary lobby and throughout our eclectically styled San Diego hotel rooms. This modern flair continues throughout the lounge and banquet facilities and is sure to be a perfect choice for business, leisure, group functions, meetings and special events. This downtown hotel’s superb location is within blocks of the Gaslamp Quarter, fine dining, world-class shopping at Horton Plaza, the Cruise Ship Terminal, the Convention Center, Petco Park, Theatre District, East Village, Little Italy, San Diego Concourse and the San Diego Bay. This pet-friendly San Diego hotel is only a short drive to any of the many sunny beaches, the San Diego Zoo, and SeaWorld. The Bristol Hotel is one of only seven hotels in San Diego to receive the Green Eco-Leaf Rating and is also a certified member of the California Green Lodging Program. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bristol San Diego

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