Sleek and stylish, the Andaz brings a decided cool factor to San Diego’s hot and happening Gas Lamp quarter.
The heat has been building in San Diego’s Gas Lamp quarter for some time now as trendy shops, restaurants and bars crowd-out the peeling edges of the once down-and-out area. You can now add hotel to that list with the opening last year of San Diego’s Andaz hotel. Located in the heart of the Gas Lamp on F Street in the historic four-story building formerly occupied by the Ivy hotel, the sleek, 159-room Andaz makes a statement that staying in San Diego isn’t just for families or conventioneers anymore.
Far from it. Walk in off the street and a chill, stylish vibe permeates from the pretty and polished staff to sleek surfaces of shiny hardwoods, leather and glass. It’s complemented with a healthy dose of laid-back So-Cal ambiance created by a front desk experience that feels more like a tapas bar where a glass of wine awaits upon check-in and laptops are used to check-in guests.
Wine-lovers will find more to make them happy in the Ivy Wine Bar just off the lobby, where guests and locals gather for daily happy hours that include half-off select wines, and the chance to enjoy tastes, half glasses or full pours from an impressive roster of a rotating wine list including top California and global selections.
Across the lobby, the Quarter Kitchen restaurant is a chic eatery that provides ideal people-watching of the street scene that unfolds each evening thanks to its half-block long bank of floor-to-ceiling windows. Dishes such as the flat iron steak with house-made fries, and roasted, locally sourced chicken with smoked maple glace and charred onions are satisfying, but for us, the big draw here are wonderfully crafted cocktails (our Mojito was dead-on perfect) and an extensive wine list heavy on selections from California and France, with some tasty novelties thrown in for good measure.
Rooms and suites here echo the hotel’s stylish, seductive ambiance with sophisticated touches such as boldly patterned fabrics, dark hardwoods, recessed lighting, leather loveseats and flatscreen TV’s.
But the literal and figurative highpoint of the Andaz has to be the rooftop. By day, it’s a supremely relaxing zen-zone featuring a pool bordered by private cabanas that function as a perfect poolside retreat. By evening, especially Thursday through Saturday, the space transforms into a high-octane party scene that will have you thinking you’ve been airlifted to South Beach (and after a few of mojitos, you might not be able to tell the difference). Even without the mojitos, however, the views of Downtown San Diego are sensational as darkness falls and you take in the spectacle from San Diego’s biggest rooftop lounge.
On these weekend nights, dancers crowd the floor in front of the DJ while those chilling and chatting inevitably find their way to a circular fire pit bordered with cozy seats. There’s even more thump-thump going on downstairs in the hotel’s subterranean Ivy Nightclub, where a younger crowd migrates for some serious grooves as the hours get smaller. Then again, you might just want to stay on the roof and toast your good fortune (with a mojito of course) at having found the perfect spot to enjoy San Diego’s most privileged perch.