San Diego Getaway News – Travel
Having fun in San Diego doesn't require a lot of money. At the end of a two hour drive, 70 miles of beautiful beaches, excellent weather, and dozens of inexpensive and entertaining activities await you. On the way, you can stop in beautiful La Jolla and visit the La Jolla Cove, watch the surfers, and stroll the streets of charming shops. Back in your car, twenty minutes later you can arrive at Balboa Park, admire the Spanish Colonial architecture and take advantage of 15 museums, a park tour or a visit to the San Diego Zoo, one of the finest in the country. You can take a short ride to Mission Bay and visit Sea World, an aquatic wonderland featuring trained whales and hands-on exhibits for all the family.
There was so much to do that we decided to stay for the weekend. We found the new, well-situated Ivy Hotel at 600 F Street in the heart of downtown. It is the newly remodeled Maryland Hotel and millions of dollars has created a modern, up-to-the-minute building which affords all the services and refinements evident in any five-star establishment, and some that aren't. We found computers in the lobby with free access to the internet. In our room, We discovered new, comfortable beds and bed linens, comfortable chairs and well-placed lights, spotless bathrooms and cheerful service. We were assigned a personal butler who arrived moments after we settled in, He offered a welcome drink and assistance with anything we wished. The cheerful service of the staff helped make our stay delightful.
After a tour of the famous Gas Lamp Quarter and Seaport Village, the tired and hungry tourists found their way back to the Ivy's restaurant, The Quarter Kitchen. Under the capable aegis of Chef Damon Gordon, you can delight in either their "Tasting Menu" or their regular menu featuring an array of soups, salads, appetizers, Japanese Kobe beef, Main or grilled entrees and desserts. It seems that the most notable, innovative food seems to be coming from hotel kitchens recently. Chef Gordon's menu fit that category perfectly. Trained in some of the finest culinary establishments, he brings a deft hand and quality ingredients to everything he prepares: We gloried in creamy lobster soup, a "Kitchen Sink" salad, crispy popcorn shrimp, Skate Wing and Grilled Sea Bass, both cooked to perfection. Prime steaks, veal and pork chops and rack of lamb are also offered. We had a choice of eight side dishes and ten desserts.
Trying to fit everything in to this weekend getaway, we visited Old Town and walked through their historic buildings, the blacksmith shop, stables, and the oldest schoolhouse in San Diego. This was a startling contrast to the new skyline of downtown San Diego which has become a prime area for gentrification. The condos and office buildings and new hotels with easy access to the harbor, the cruise ships, and Seaport Village make this an excellent getaway, as well as a cleaner, easier way of life than what is offered by its northern neighbor, Los Angeles.
We drove home, refreshed and happy, back to our San Fernando Valley abode, with many lovely memories.
The Ivy Hotel, 600 F. Street, San Deigo 92101; Tel. 619-814-1000; www.ivyhotel.com, Call for rates; Dinner for two; approximately $100 w/o alcohol
www.sandiego.org for all San Diego attractions