Nestled on the southern fringe of the city’s Little Italy, The Best Western Plus Bayside Inn resides amidst much taller and more contemporary properties. It is two short and two long blocks from the waterfront and stumbling distance from the wonderful food and drink offered in Little Italy. The smell on the street will keep you in a constant state of craving! Although in the city with tons of active construction everywhere, the noise was negligible (we were up high, 11th floor) and San Diego is a city that sleeps! After 11PM or so, it was calm and city-serene. Although situated northwest, of the city center, everything felt accessible- even on foot if you like to walk. Seaport Village, bay waterfront, Gaslamp quarter, Little Italy, theaters, restaurants, bars, small, maybe-interesting-to-some museums… all within reasonable reach. If you prefer/require public transportation, the hotel is a block and a half from rail service and a block from an end-of-line hop-on/hop-off stop (I reviewed the exceptional San Diego Hop-on/Hop-off option in another post). The adjacent streets (typical city grid) and properties were clean, well-lit, sensibly structured, and easily navigable. Perhaps most notable is that the hotel is a ten-minute cab ride to beautiful and crazy busy San Diego International Airport, but you rarely hear a plane.
The Hotel Itself:
The building is nothing you want in your selfie backgrounds- plain-Jane, tan, and unassuming with a typical parking-under, rooms-over California format. We only parked during check in process using “guest” spaces which was a nice option and directly adjacent to the lobby. The garage looked tight, but all but big SUVs and school buses would likely negotiate the snug quarters just fine. There is a lobby entrance right off of the garage that felt more like a service entry to a back kitchen or something, but it was functional and saves you another 10 steps to the street-side lobby entrance.
The lobby was small, simple and clean- not awe inspiring but nice, with a small vending area selling drinks and snacks. Common areas were clean, tasteful, modern and appealing, although the stairwells were very dark. The adjacent lounge- essentially a couple of upholstered seating options and small tables, and an equally un-inspiring business center are very small, but they work and the flow is reasonable given the space constraints. The elevator vestibule is also small and at the far end of the narrow “lounge” furniture gauntlet. Elevator cab-call/travel was consistently slow (VERY slow at times). Most of the common areas are tight with luggage, but manageable.
The in-house restaurant, Bayside Bar and Grill, was a little odd- physically detached from the hotel and accessed from the adjacent sidewalk only, and semi-subterranean- below street level. Despite the in-ground configuration, it was relatively bright and felt “fresh.” We ate breakfasts only as it was included in our stay. White table-cloth seating (even for breakfast) was ample with plenty of navigation space even after getting crowded as mornings progressed. Food was predictable and average in quality. Most of the "starchy stuff" was pretty good. Hot and cold drinks were fine as well. Some of the warm foods were closer to room temperature and the eggs... I'm pretty sure they weren't actually eggs. Personally, I would have preferred a few more nutritionally-oriented options. As with other elements of our stay, considering typical plate costs in the city, the value equation was still positive and the polite, professional service went a long way to offset the average food.
Although the room was a bit dated, it was adequately sized and everything was clean and functional. Carpeted rooms always add a little creep factor for me, but we saw no stains or areas for concern. Some of the furniture displayed signs of age and inconsiderate treatment, but nothing was broken or awful. Linens were clean, relatively soft and in good shape. Mattresses too were comfortable (request additional pillows as ours were REALLY squishy). The door to the hallway shut very loudly, as did others on our floor, and the slider to the balcony wasn’t exactly smooth to open/close, but with a little effort, we got a beautiful view from the standing-room-only balcony. his little (by comparison) hotel found a way to offer exceptional views of a tiny, but beautiful, sliver of the bay’s waterfront to patrons like us that spent a little more for a “room with a view.” The view for us was straight down West Ash Street to the water. As a bonus, we got gorgeous sunsets between neighboring towers which also framed the bow-sprit of the Star of India docked (near permanently) along the waterfront.
The Other Stuff:
Front desk staff (and breakfast attendants) were cleanly, and uniformly dressed. They were polite, professional and helpful with our inquiries about things to do/see and best methods by which we could do them. They made all administrative transactions smooth and sensible. They facilitated public transportation options and conveyed themselves as genuinely concerned about the quality of our stay. I also noticed they were patient and calm with more "challenging" patrons. The in-house airport shuttle was really nice- spacious, comfortable, and unexpectedly almost luxurious (ish). The driver was incredibly nice and the whole to/from experience was pleasant and efficient. NOTE: there are limited shuttle hours. If you have an exceptionally early or late flight, you might have to use a cab or third-party driving service.
All-in-all excellent value was provided to us by the Best Western Plus- Bayside in San Diego. In a tough market, packed with glitzy~glossy options, the typically mid-tier Best Western (and similar ilk) was significantly boosted by the quality of the staff and the presentation of the public spaces, despite space constraints. Nice job. less