You might think we are constantly taking relaxing vacations, but the truth is that our trips are usually far from restful. We want to see as much of a destination as possible when we travel and this can lead to exhaustion instead of recharging our batteries. Therefore, we try to fit in a couple of trips near home, to places we have already visited and don’t feel obligated to explore.
After a full travel itinerary in 2013, we both felt overdue for a relaxing weekend getaway and lucky for us, we didn’t have to travel very far to find the perfect spot.
Where to Stay in San Diego on the Beach
Small Town Feel in a Big City
We rarely visit the areas near downtown San Diego because we prefer the small beach towns along the North Coast of the county, so spending time on Shelter Island was new for both of us. Kona Kai Resort is situated on Shelter Island — a neighborhood of Point Loma — just west of downtown San Diego.
The “island” is 1.2 miles, with a single street (Shelter Island Drive) and is connected to the mainland via a causeway. It’s a popular spot to launch boats — especially with boat surfers in search of uncrowded waves — and is known as a destination for luxury yachts because it’s one of the few marinas in San Diego with a deep enough harbor.
As we explored the small surrounding area of the resort, we noticed a large percentage of the people we encountered were locals. It wasn’t uncommon to see runners or couples strolling along the boardwalk of the harbor and we were a little surprised to see locals drinking and enjoying the live music at the Vessel Bar in the evenings.
Kona Kai Resort on Shelter Island
Kona Kai Resort offers rooms with a view of the bay as well as rooms with a view of the Kona Kai Marina. Our favorite part about staying here (besides waking up to a gorgeous harbor view) is that you can step outside of your room and have a bonfire on one of the only private beaches in California. At 8pm on Saturday night, one of the staff members met us at the beach pit, started our fire and brought us all the fixings to make s’mores.
The pool area is large, overlooks the marina and has a ping pong table and giant checkers game. I’m excited for the summer concert series where they host free live shows on their private beach.
Bed and Breakfast Package
What is our second favorite part about the resort? The breakfasts! Every dish on the menu at Vessel Restaurant has a unique flair and meticulous presentation. I don’t usually like when restaurants stray from the typical Huevos Rancheros recipe, but this particular dish was one that I couldn’t help but order two days in a row. Corn tortillas instead of flour, black beans instead of refried and queso fresco — which tastes similar to Oaxaca cheese — equals the perfect combination. The Pulled Pork Benedict with green chili hollandaise was another breakfast favorite of ours.
Sunday brunch is $29 and you have the option to add alcohol ($10 bottomless mimosas or $14 Bloody Mary Bar). In addition to the breakfast menu, you can choose from several lunch dishes, including their popular fish tacos.
The “Bed & Breakfast Package” is $10 per night more than the “Best Flexible Rate” and includes breakfast for up to two adults daily as well as complimentary parking. Breakfast with this package includes tax and gratuity, and the savings works out to be more than $80 for a two-night stay.