Long Weekend in… San Diego

Make the most of this California-style beach break

Californians have long known the allure of San Diego's beaches, an easy two-hour drive south of Los Angeles. There’s a long stretch of communities to choose from once you’ve arrived, and each one has its own personality. All of them share the lapping waves and stunning beaches that run from the northern upscale La Jolla, down south to the charming island of Coronado.

Sleep: Pacific Beach is one of the major strands with a fun, eclectic party vibe where everything from

funky to fabulous is available. But there is nothing along the beachfront that screams luxury like the modern contemporary Tower 23 Hotel.

Located at the northern end of the strand, this boutique hotel housing the Tower Bar and JRDN restaurant stands out against all else around, and is the go to place in town. The 44 designer guestrooms and suites all come with a balcony or patio (ask for the Surf Pad if you want an ocean view) fully stocked mini bar, and every high end amenity one could ask for, down to: Serenity beds with memory foam, Egyptian cotton linens, Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and in-room massage and spa services available. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/fensterbme)

Eat & Drink: Entering the Tower 23 Hotel the beach stops and sophistication takes hold. The vibe-y Tower Bar an indoor/outdoor lounge lays out before you. Just beyond is JRDN, Tower23’s restaurant serving California cuisine. At JRDN, watch the sun set outside or sit inside where the wall hues subtly alternate giving off a soothing glow. Wherever you choose to sit, it is all about the food. Executive Chef David Warner is one to watch. His raw bar is fresh and succulent, getting you ready for your inspired main course, which will no doubt keep you enchanted. You can taste passion in Chef Warner’s selection of all-natural meats and seafood from local sustainable and often organic sources. Jake Eckert, the charming dining room manager, puts his knowledge of wines to work in pairing them expertly with the foods.

On the edge of the Gaslamp District, an area that has a New Orleans type of feel, is another notable restaurant Cucina Urbana, a California inspired Italian kitchen and wine shop. Here they offer the choice to buy a wine retail from their long list of Italian inspired varietals to enjoy with your equally mouth-watering dinner.

Play: There is surfing right in front of the hotel and if you didn’t bring your board you can rent one at the shack on the beach. Want to learn from a pro? Surfari Surf School is just down the boardwalk.

Down from Tower 23 about 10 blocks south, and across Mission Boulevard you will find Sail Bay, a beautiful quiet bay with beaches of its own. This sleepy inlet of water houses a Water Sports Rental for kayaks, smaller boats, jet skis, and a variety of other water sport vehicles to explore the various coves.

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