San Diego is Southern California at its most concentrated. A laid-back, eternally sunny city where one never runs out of options for great seafood restaurants, historic locales, lush parks, and reliable margaritas. Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa is perfectly positioned on Mission Bay, allowing for leisurely strolls and spirited bike rides along the waterfront, past egret-filled marshes and the scrum jockeying to enter Sea World and into legendarily surf-washed neighborhoods like Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. When not on the road seeking out fresh oysters and uni, ENTRÉE decamped into this stately, Spanish-influenced spread known for its Southeast Asian spa, Mantra, and signature waterside restaurant, Acqua. Our standard room stood out with its leather headboard, crisp black and white color scheme, and a small patio aside a grassy backyard. A more notable view sits a hundred or so feet behind the resort, where a bayside bike rental station provides guests the chance to ride a circuit of many miles circling Mission Bay and its adjacent neighborhoods. At night, the waterside lit up with firepits from the patio at Acqua. While the inside was a rather bright family zone, this outdoor expanse is a more romantic perch to enjoy the cooking of chef Hermann Schafer, a veteran of many of Switzerland’s multi-Michelin-starred properties. Schafer merges the region’s seafood with its similarly renowned farmers markets, creating elegant dishes like pancetta-wrapped diver scallops with truffle essence and chanterelles and cognac-brushed linguini brimming with mussels, shrimp, and lobster reduction. Schafer’s native Austrian plates were among our favorites, as we savored a luscious pork loin hammered and breaded Vienna-style and a comforting spatzle accompanying our sensational steak and Sazerac. This bayside Hilton is a perfect perch for anyone looking to more fully orient themselves in San Diego and for returning devotees seeking a spacious room, waterfront activities right outside their door, and an impeccable meal showcasing the county’s best. Also an ideal spot for weddings and meetings. Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa and Acqua, 1775 East Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109, 619-276-4010; http://www.sandiegohilton.com/.
San Diego’s Hilton Resort & Spa has it all