Tag Archives: San Diego

Beach, Ski and Hilton Special Hotel Offers

In addition to our easy-to-use tools for finding hotels near wherever you’re going, TheRealPlaces.com frequently creates special offer pages for hotels and hotel + flight packages.  We currently have three options available for travelers, for those who want to visit a beach, visit some snow or visit a Hilton.

Our “Spring Beach Getaway” sale can save you up to 50% on hotels in Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico.  The Florida offers includes savings of up to 30% at the 5-star Gansevoort Miami Beach, while similar savings can be found at 3-star and 4-star accommodations in Mexico and various islands in the Caribbean.

If you’re more interested in spending some time on skis or a snowboard, the Winter Vacation Sale makes it a great time to save on trips to Colorado, Lake Tahoe, Utah, Wyoming or Canada.  For that trip north of the border, consider the Fairmont Chateau Whistler or Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – two memorably spectacular hotels in memorably spectacular locations.  (You can save even more if you book your flight and hotel together!)

Finally, the Hilton Vacation sale has offers to save 20% to 40% at Hilton hotels all over the world.  “City Escapes” include 5-star and 4-star Hilton hotels in New York, London, Miami, Phoenix and San Diego.  Also on sale are “Beach Getaways” in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Bahamas – even the 5-star Hilton Maldives Irufushi Resort and Spa in the Indian Ocean.

Westin Gaslamp Quarter Renovation in San Diego

Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter Bi-Level Suite

San Diego’s Westin Gaslamp Quarter is one of Westin’s first hotels to get the chain’s new “For A Better You” design.  As part of a $25 million renovation of the hotel the 450 guestrooms and suites have been given a top-to-bottom redesign.  The new look reflects the current trend toward “clean, contemporary” lines, with a neutral color palette, varied textures, wood and stone.  Of course, there’s also an “eco-friendly” aspect of the renovation including energy-efficient lighting and solar shades.

Other guest room amenities include a specially designed table that transforms to hold a room service tray or laptop, new roomier closets with shelves, a luggage rack that also acts as a bench and Westin’s “Heavenly Mirror” with an illuminated frosted border.

The Westin Gaslamp Quarter has eight suites including three “Bi-Level Suites” on the hotel’s top floors.  The multi-level suites have living and dining areas below plus bedroom and bathroom upstairs.   For the ultimate guest experience, try the “Westin Renewal Suite” with a water feature, LED candles, butler’s pantry, oversized master bathroom and an infinity spa tub.  Adjacent guestrooms can be added to the suite to expand to two or three bedrooms.

Still to come as part of the $25 million renovation are upgrades of the hotel’s ballroom and meeting space (coming in late 2011) and a complete redesign of the public areas (scheduled for 2012).

The Westin San Diego is near the heart of downtown San Diego and is less than a mile from the San Diego Cruise terminal and about 2.5 miles from San Diego International Airport.

TheRealPlaces.com includes a guide to more hotels near the San Diego Gaslamp district

Time For Some Amusement…Parks

Now that Memorial Day 2011 is behind us, it means that the major amusement parks in the United States are open from coast to coast.  And from roller coaster to roller coaster.  If you need to travel to get there or if you’d like to spend more than a day exploring a particular park, you’ll probably need a place to stay.  TheRealPlaces.com has guides to hotels closest to all of the most popular theme parks in the country.

Coaster enthusiasts know all about Cedar Point Amusement Park on the shores of Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio.  Building upon (arguably) the world’s best collection of rollercoasters, Cedar Point adds the 300-foot tall “WindSeeker” swing ride in 2011.  Hot dog enthusiasts might be interested in the new “Pink’s”, an outlet of the famous stand in Hollywood.

If you’re into wet fun, you won’t find many water parks better than the Schlitterbahn family of parks found in Texas and Kansas.  The Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark continues to grow toward maturity (it’s a relative baby, opening in 2009), with six new surfing and tubing attractions coming in 2011.

The SeaWorld parks in Florida, California and Texas continue to be popular theme parks, with an educational side.  They’re all premiering a new “Shamu” killer whale show in 2011 called “One Ocean”.   SeaWorld San Diego is also busy putting the finishing touches on “Turtle Reef”, a 300,000 gallon aquarium scheduled to open this summer.  And if you’re looking for the ultimate in interactive experiences with sea creatures, you should take a look at the very special Discovery Cove, located next door to SeaWorld Orlando.

Busch Gardens in Virginia is often called one of the world’s most beautiful theme parks and it offers an interesting contrast to the history found in nearby Williamsburg.  The greenery found here (lots and lots and lots of trees!) add beauty, a respite from the heat and occasional excitement (“We’re not going to hit that tree…are we???”)  This year’s thrilling addition is “Mach Tower” – a 240-foot drop from high above the park.  If you want to do a double-feature of Virginia amusement parks, Kings Dominion is a short drive north of Richmond, about an hour and a half away from Williamsburg.  Their “Intimidator 305” coaster debuted in 2010 with a 305 foot peak and speeds of more than 90 miles per hour!

Our guide to hotels near major U.S. amusement parks also includes the usual suspects – places with “Disney” or “Six Flags” in their names.  So, get out there and ride those coasters…or those teacups.

Winter Visits To San Diego

As the temperatures drop over the next few months and you start thinking about how nice it would be to spend a few days somewhere warmer, you might want to consider a visit to San Diego.  Now, we’re not talking about Hawaii-like temperatures, but the average temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s through January and February may very well still be a lot better than wherever you are.

If there are kids involved in your getaway – and even if there aren’t – then one obvious San Diego attraction is SeaWorld.  Located in the Mission Bay area a short distance north of San Diego International Airport and a few miles northwest of downtown San Diego, SeaWorld San Diego has offered a mix of education and entertainment for over 40 years.    Have a “Dolphin Encounter” from poolside or get wet with the animals at the “Dolphin Interaction Program” or the “Beluga Interaction Program”.   There’s also a nice collection of water-based rides and five shows starring “Shamu”, sea lions, dolphins and more.  The latest addition to the schedule of shows is Blue Horizons, a mix of fantasy, dolphins, whales, birds, divers and aerialists.  TheRealPlaces has information about hotels near SeaWorld San Diego, including over 15 of them within two miles of the fun.

About an hour’s drive along the Pacific Coast north of San Diego is Carlsbad, home of Legoland.  It’s the first Legoland to be built in the United States and features over 60 rides, shows and attractions – many of them based on the famous Lego building blocks.  Adjacent to the main park is Legoland Water Park, which includes the unique “Build-A-Raft River” where kids can customize their rafts with soft Lego bricks.  Also next door to Legoland is the Sea Life Aquarium, another opportunity to get some educational value out of your vacation dollars. 

Back to the south, if you’re looking for something a little more “upscale” for your vacation, the San Diego area is home to three 5-star hotelsThe Grand Del Mar is a world-class resort in the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.  It’s definitely an “away from it all” kind of place, designed to give you the feel of a Mediterranean estate.   Andaz San Diego also offers some serious luxury, but in a very different setting right in the heart of downtown San Diego.  The Andaz is a “boutique” hotel located in the Gaslamp Quarter District, which puts you within a reasonable drive of all the major attractions with the added benefit of thenearby San Diego nightlife.  The U.S. Grant San Diego is also downtown and provides a more classic style of 5-star luxury.  The hotel was built in 1910 by Ulysses Grant Jr., son of the Civil War general and U.S. president. 

Additional attractions in San Diego include Belmont Amusement Park (the beachfront home of the “Giant Dipper” wood roller coaster), Petco Park – home of the San Diego Padres baseball team and Qualcomm Stadium – home of the San Diego Chargers and San Diego State University football teams.  Located on the waterfront at the western edge of downtown San Diego, the San Diego Cruise Ship Terminal is the stepping off point for cruises all over the Pacific.

San Diego Becomes More Radiant

Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance of the Seas today arrived in its new seasonal homeport of San Diego to offer West Coast vacationers more options for cruises to Mexico. Radiance of the Seas will embark on a total of 29 Mexican Riviera cruises from San Diego, ranging from four- to 12-night itineraries. In addition, vacationers also can choose a 13-night Ultimate Alaska itinerary sailing on May 8, 2010.

Radiance of the Seas begins the season with 12 short cruises from San Diego, four- and five-night itineraries with calls at Cabo San Lucas and, on the longer itinerary, Ensenada. Vacationers can choose among 15 longer sailings starting in November, ranging from nine- to 11-night roundtrip itineraries that include ports of call such as Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada, Huatulco, Ixtapa (Zihuatanejo), Manzanillo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta.

A special nine-night Thanksgiving cruise, sailing on November 21, 2009, will feature a call at Manzanillo on Thanksgiving Day, the cruise line’s first return to the port since 1999. Holiday revelers also can choose a 12-night holiday cruise departing December 21, 2009, when guests will celebrate Christmas and herald in the New Year onboard on the same cruise.

Find best deals on Radiance of the Seas cruises – and many more Royal Caribbean cruise ships – in the Cruise section of TheRealPlaces.com.