Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A litttle Pearl in the great oyster of San Diego.

The courtyard and pool, complete with a giant movie screen for "dive in movies" and hammock chairs.

Two weeks ago Sam and I spent a weekend in San Diego with our friends Will and Carmen, and we stayed in the most fun little boutique motel called The Pearl. As they say themselves, "Life is good here, because the livin’ is easy." And they weren't kidding. The place has a vibe that encourages lounging. In our few days there we spent several leisurely cocktail hours by the pool, indulged in nightcaps at the bar, enjoyed an extended brunch with bottomless mimosas on Sunday morning, and relaxed with afternoon rests in the comfy beds in our rooms. The place just begged for us to be relaxed and easy going, and we obliged.

The Pearl's theme is a reimagined classic California hotel atmosphere, with a focus on preserving the spirit of mid-century design alongside a thriving new modernism. They use artwork, furnishings and architecture to create a feeling of hip comfort. I know, I know, it doesn't seem possible that hip can still be comfortable, but it is at The Pearl. When the Pearl revamped the motel a few years ago, they made sure that every single little space had a purpose, either as a tiny lounge for two, a side patio with a Zen fountain, a nook with a blossoming flower, or an eye-level shelf with seashell trinkets. It takes great skill to mold every nook and cranny into something purposeful, but I think the Pearl succeeded. Plus, they incorporate extensive plants and foliage in the decor to add natural beauty and color.

Perhaps the best part of the experience was the price. Amidst the vintage-modern ambiance, we got a smokin' deal. We paid $289 for a two-night package that included $100 of credit at the bar and restaurant, which we gladly indulged in. I drank many tasty cocktails thanks to this bargain, including a plum Tom Collins and a lavender and grapefruit scented prosecco cocktail called a Marie Antoinette. And when all was said and done, even with a few extra drinks on the tab, our rooms still clocked in at less than a hundred bucks a night. It was Motel 6 pricing with big bucks ambiance.

To be fully up front in my review, the rooms do reflected the price to some degree. I would describe them as comfortable and modest, with a purposeful aesthetic created on a budget. Everything was nice and clean and the bed was comfortable, but the carpet was rough and scratchy, the towels were not overly fluffy, and the grout in the shower and tub had seen better days. I am not complaining, because I know that elevating those amenities to the status of a Hilton would drive the price up double what we paid, but I must admit that the ambiance in the public space was so posh that I felt a tinge of surprise every time I entered my room and found it less upscale. Nonetheless, I am not complaining and recommend the place without reservation.

The whole place is a tiny 23 room u-shaped motel surrounding a small kidney-shaped pool. The bar and restaurant spill out from underneath the rooms to take over the poolside deck, making the entire place feel like a living room. The bar and restaurant were open air, with one open wall that pulled the patio to the inside and vice-versa.

Their kitchen, called Restaurant at The Pearl, featured California Coastal cuisine, friendly table service, and stunning interior design (you HAVE to check out the bathroom sinks, even if you don't have to go). One evening we ordered the popcorn shrimp with our cocktails, and it came with my favorite - slivers of fried citrus. Plus, there was hot pickled okra. Weird but good. For brunch I had the Smoked Salmon Hash with salmon, bacon, poached eggs, and a dill lemon creme fraiche. Carmen had the Pearl Burger - at 10:30 a.m. - made of house ground beef with caramelized onions and pommes frites. The frites were good, complete with a garlic alioli. Everything we saw come out of the kitchen smelled great and had beautiful presentation. If we had been staying a little bit longer we certainly would have eaten more meals in.

I loved the hotel. I think you should all book a night. Find them at:
The Pearl Hotel
1410 Rosecrans Street
San Diego, CA 92106

p.s. The day we left they were setting up for an evening wedding, prompting me to wonder if I could plan my own wedding part II here someday. And check it out, look what I found on the website... "OWN A HOTEL FOR A DAY: Who said you can’t have it all? Imagine owning The Pearl Hotel for a day. Yes, you heard it right. With food, beverage and hotel room packages starting at just $9,495.00, you can have up to 150 people join you for a private event at the Pearl. This is the perfect package for corporate events, holiday parties, weddings, birthday parties,anniversaries, family reunions and more." Imagine a one-of-a-kind wedding for $10 grand, including food and drink. It's brilliant. If you live in San Diego I urge you to consider it.

The view from my room. I love the palm tree.

The Pearl's restaurant and bar. Our room was right above the dining area.

The vertical garden at the pool sat right next to the tubular towel rack. It was such a pretty way to add vegetation and color without taking up space.

Check out the vintage rocking patio chairs. You can't find pieces like that these days!

Every room comes with a beta fish. Ours was named Barnaby, and he was feisty.

The Pearl encourages you to sit on the floor with pillows, shag carpet, and board games.

This cherry red retro convertible sat outside for much of our visit. I think it adds some extra authenticity, don't you?


ohmypuddin said...

i'm jealous! this hotel looks so cool!

Miss Amelina said...

RAD. It looks like James Bond should be there.

ohmypuddin said...

I left you some love on my blog!