The modern and ecoconscious Kimpton-owned Hotel Solamar (from $249) is located near the Gaslamp Quarter and its accompanying nightlife. Spend a tranquil day getting a mud facial and perfecting the downward dog before going up to the fourth-floor roof deck for drinks at J6Bar.
Amenities are sparse at La Pensione (from $79.99), but that's why its rooms are cheap. Still, expect quality the rooms are unpretentious but comfortable, and many look out on a sweet tiled courtyard below or have a view of the San Diego Bay. The hotel's Little Italy location gives you several bakery options for breakfast and easy access to downtown, the marina, Balboa Park's green spaces and museums, as well as the airport.
Preeminent local architect Graham Downes designed the neo-modernist glass façade of Tower 23 Hotel (from $209) and named it after the lifeguard stand outside. The in-house restaurant JRDN serves fancy surf and turf both traditional (the lobster club sandwich) and creative (their signature dish, a tataki beef–wrapped lobster roll with avocado and black Japanese caviar, is divine).
The Surfer Beach Hotel (from $129) gives you someplace clean and welcoming to sleep when you're not on your board, but little else. Go because it's right on the sand you're a quick paddle from some of the best waves in the country.
Take the ferry or the San Diego-Coronado Bridge out to the island-cum-peninsula on which the Hotel Del Coronado rests (from $300). A Victorian classic, the hotel was the backdrop to Some Like It Hot. You'll pay more for a room with an ocean view.