Mission Bay Resort
San Diego Mission Bay Resort
Mission Bay’s bountiful boating. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)

San Diego Mission Bay Resort is in the center of it all, making it a fine spot from which to see America’s Finest City.

I had known San Diego’s moniker as “America’s Finest City” for decades. It was classy long before Will Farrell’s character Ron Burgundy said so in the film “Anchorman.”  

At 19 years old, I visited and was taken by the perfect year-round climate and the (figuratively) “chill” nature of Southern California’s southernmost major city for a number of reasons.

Visiting San Diego

The Pacific Ocean; the mountains; the downtown skyline over its buzzing Gaslamp Quarter; and Coronado Island (where the Navy Seals train on the beach) and I’d even once seen an NCAA college basketball game between Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina played on an aircraft carrier at Coronado with President Barack Obama courtside. 

San Diego has a world-famous zoo and superstar golf venues such Torrey Pines (where Tiger Woods won many times) and the course at Grand del Mar, plus La Costa, where the PGA Tour also at one time brought champions to the area.

For those who prefer the sea to the land, the sailing reputation off Point Loma with America’s Cup captain Dennis Connor was also appealing and there are few spots as bucolic at the Cove in La Jolla with its underwater park for those who like to snorkel and dive amidst the sea lions. And nearby daredevils take to the air on hang-gliders soaring off the cliff over the nude Black’s Beach.

And there was even the allure of nearby Tijuana, Mexico (though San Diego’s Old Town Historic Park and its neighboring Mexican restaurants and shops feels south of the border without actually crossing or risking Tijuana’s recent dangerous reputation).

The Cove La Jolla
The Cove at nearby La Jolla. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)


La Jolla’s Gliderport
La Jolla’s Gliderport over the Pacific. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)

San Diego Mission Bay Resort

San Diego Mission Bay Resort is in the center of it all, making it a fine spot from which to see America’s Finest City. But once you settle into the waterfront property it won’t be easy to want to leave.

A sign near the valet entrance reads, “We embody the genuine San Diego Way of Life, connecting the active beach lifestyle to the surrounding cultural vibrancy for travelers seeking an effortless elegance.”

This mission statement for Mission Bay Resort seemed accurate to me, whether the travelers mentioned were vacationers or the corporate crowd as the property, with villas and a conference center with plenty of open-air options, seems designed to accommodate both happily.

Swimming and sunning and s’mores at the waterfront firepits are some of the options and the bay, with Sea World on the other side, allowed for sailing and various boating rental options right from the resort’s own marina.

Tennis, basketball, ping pong, shuffleboard, volleyball, lawn games and bicycle, Segway, scooters and other rentals await those who cannot sit still for the live entertainment or float for the poolside movies. There are plenty of waterfront acres for walking and spreading out on the calm Mission Bay beach to relax without the worry of the ocean surf. 

San Diego Mission Bay Resort beach front
A fiesta-feel every day. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)

A San Diego Sense of Place

I especially liked the way Mission Bay Resort’s architecture and theming embraced the “sense of place” – in this case, colorful California…specifically San Diego.

The rooms and suites provided coconut mango shampoo and conditioner which seemed suitable for a property dotted with palm trees shading areas around a free form swimming pool and Jacuzzis with adjacent fire pits.

The Plaza Del Sol patio had festive strings of lights and upscale lounge furniture; Solrisa Mexican poolside stand with its sunset ritual; and the So-Cal vibe in the Mercado.

San Diego Mission Bay Resort
Bayside swimming and sunset. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)

To fit the local theme, I choose huevos rancheros while dining al fresco on the Bayside Patio. And speaking of the business crowd, during my dinner later that day, an otherwise serene sunset setting became slightly surreal when a woman, who was also alone, took a table on the terrace.

She was less alone than I was, though, because as soon as she sat, she ordered two “shots” of Jameson Irish Whiskey and immediately began “Face-timing” through her phone’s camera. She talked into the phone screen, panned it around to show her virtual dining companion the restaurant, and then toasted the fellow with her shots (one for her and one “for him.”)

I suppose it might have been considered oddly romantic were it not for the fact the woman’s voice was louder than it would be if he were physically across the table because she was having trouble hearing him through the phone speaker.

“Do you have any headphones,” she then asked the waiter.


“You know, headphones…for my phone. Do you have any?”

The waiter went above and beyond in considering her request, which was decidedly outside the realm of salt and pepper or well-mannered dining for that matter.

“You know, maybe you sell them in the gift shop? Can you check for me?”

The waiter looked at her phone and happily agreed to attempt to acquire the accessory, which was a testament to the resort’s service level and, in my opinion, patience.

But it’s a modern world we live in now…despite barbaric behavior. 

San Diego Mission Bay Resort
Fireside Splash at Mission Bay Resort. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)

Appropriate “Tech Savvy”

The bit of technology I did like is that upon check-in you could give the resort your phone number and use a texting system to communicate any needs or questions to the front desk.

This eliminated any waiting in line in the lobby or waiting on hold on the phone for simple requests such as more towels or what time the pool opened. The system worked well and the resort checked in on me from time to time with an occasional but not overbearing text message.

The beach-chic rooms and suites are wireless internet equipped. They have been renovated and are dog-friendly for pet-centric families.

San Diego Mission Bay suite
Beach chic in newly renovated rooms and suites. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)


Read more of Michael Patrick’s work at The Travel Tattler, or contact him at [email protected]

Michael Patrick Shiels

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