With enough rooms for a medium-sized motel, but the feel of a small inn, La Pensione Hotel (606 W. Date St., 800/232-4683, www.lapensionehotel.com, $100–110) prides itself on offering the best value in the best location in downtown San Diego. The exterior blends the look of a Mediterranean home with the Spanish Colonial Revival style of Southern California.
Inside, each room has one queen-sized bed, unusual photographic wall art, and a clean bathroom. It’s not posh or plush, but you’ll find comfort.
The hotel is located in Little Italy, within easy walking distance of great restaurants and cafés, and only blocks from the Gaslamp Quarter. The staff can help you with taxis and public transit, making it possible to avoid driving.
La Pensione does not have as many off-street parking spots as they do rooms, so parking is limited during the high season. And if you’re bringing your kids, be aware that trundle beds and such are not available, and the hotel requests that only two people stay in any one room.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition