During Comic-Con we stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay (not to be confused with the Holiday Inn Bayside). It’s sort of in walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center (we did it one morning…and I did it again one evening after an incident with the shuttle that deserves its own write-up), but at more than a mile it’s not a distance you’d want to walk with a heavy backpack, or in a costume, or carrying bags, or on a hot afternoon, or after a long day of trudging around the convention center.
It’s located on the bay (of course), near the San Diego Maritime Museum where they have several classic ships permanently anchored and available for tours. If you happen to have an upper-floor room, the views are quite nice. (We were on the second floor, so our view was of the roof of the hotel’s conference center. It’s funny how quickly we got used to the sound of the air conditioner.)
It’s an easy walk to Little Italy (we went out to one of our favorite San Diego restaurants, Indigo Grill, on Wednesday) or the trolley, and on the convention shuttle route.
The rooms were nice, clean and spacious (absolutely huge, compared to the last few places we’ve stayed in San Diego). The bed was comfortable, and they had pillows with two different levels of firmness, so neither of us had any trouble getting to sleep. The hotel restaurant/pub, the Elephant and Castle, is quite good. There’s also a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in one tower, and a deli next door. And for those looking to save money on breakfast, the in-room coffee service is a single-cup disposable-basket setup, so that if you want plain hot water for tea or oatmeal, it won’t taste like coffee! Wireless internet access is complimentary, and easy to set up. Our room had locked doors to adjoining rooms on both sides, so a large group could presumably link together at least three rooms into a suite.
The only annoyances were:
Internet access during the convention was absolutely swamped. Sometimes pages just wouldn’t load, and the Flickr uploader actually gave up several times. This would have been less of a problem if I hadn’t been so determined to post photos and blog during the con, though at least with photos it turned out I could (usually) start them before going to bed and let them run overnight. The one night that it just gave up, I tried when we got up at 6 AM and they posted extremely quickly.
The bathroom had a sliding door that didn’t seal. Like the room at the Omni, it blocked light but not sound or airflow. On the plus side, it was actually big enough that we could brush our teeth at the same time.
Overall, though, we really liked it, and agreed that it would be near the top of our list when it came to hotels on the shuttle route. Though if possible I’d really prefer something close enough that we wouldn’t have to rely on the shuttle or other transportation.
Note (2014): This hotel is now the Wyndham San Diego Bayside.