Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island
1960 Harbor Island Drive San Diego California 92101 U.S.A. Tel 1 619 291 6700 Fax 1 619 293 0694 Web site: www.hilton.com
The hotel is easy to locate although coming off Highway 405 South there is no indicattion that the Downtown exits relate to San Diego. There are a number of Downtown exits some 20 miles out from San Diego which don't indicate which city they relate to. In any event after sailing past San Diego and ending up on Highway 805 south I doubled back and found downtown San Diego had been the last exit. I went through the Gaslight area and just headed for the airport which is on the coast about 1.5 miles north downtown. You then come to a major turnoff to Harbor Island, swing past two Sheraon hotels and there lies the Hilton. The hotel directly faces the water. With the coastal waterway at the rear it means most rooms have excellent water views. I parked in front and wandered into the reception area just inside the main entrance to the hotel. I was next in line so only had a few seconds to wait. It did take some time for the receptionist to locate my reservation, however from then on things went relatively smoothly. The only hiccup was that the key configuring device was acting up and it was suggested I park my car and come back. I was given a pass to enter and exit the parking area (which I discovered when I got my bill costs $10 a day, this was not mentioned). I accessed one of the two car parks. There is one to the right of the hotel and one to the left. Both are at ground level and open-air. I managed to secure the first bay which meant I only had a few yards to transport luggage. When I returned to reception I was given my key to Room 623 on the sixth floor. There are 9 floors in the building. I opened the door to 623 and the first thing that caught my eye was the marvellous view over the harbor, a full frontal waterview. There was also a small balcony with a table and chair setting for two. The room itself was exceptionally spacious with two queen beds with richly covered patterned bedcoverings, rich timber furniture which comprised an office desk, a TV and drawers cabinet, one bedside table, sculptured bedheads, and there was a richly upholstered armchair with foot stool. A sculptured lamp stand stood watch over the chair, wigth a small glass table to the side. Just to the side of the bathroom was a table with a lit up print above. On this table was a coffeemaker and related amenities and an ice bucket and glassware. The working desk was a good size. It faced a gold framed mirror and comprised a telephone with computer modem and a lamp. There was also a compendium detailing the hotel's facilities and room service menus. The wardrobe had full length mirrors covering the entire sliding walls and had ample hanging space. The bathroom, all done in beige wall coverings and tiles was of good size with plenty of bench space around the basin. A good size steam-free mirror, combined bath and shower, hairdryer and good lighting. The accommodation generally was of good standard and very spacious. After checking in I did some work on the computer. There is no high speed Internet access in the rooms, however I was advised at checkin that it was available on a complimentary basis in the Business Center located near the reception. I opted to use a local ISP via a telephone dial-up from the room. The cost of local calls is 75 cents and at the time of my stay there was no restriction on the length of calls (some hotels are starting to charge a cost of 10 to 15 cents a minute after the first 3 or 5 minutes, although I have not found that anywhere on the West Coast). Later I decided to go for a run. The hotel has a fitness center on the first floor with a good range of treadmills, recombent cycle, upright cycle, stair climber anda dry sauna. The center is open 24 hours a day. I elected to use the outside jogging/walking tracks. There is a pathway around the Island which is absolute waterfront. It is lined with a good area of grass which I used to run on, as opposed to the path (easier on the joints to be running on soft grass rather than a hard surface). That night I visited the Sierra Pacific lounge and restaurant, two separate areas in a different building but accessed internally. The location of these facilities is superb, overlooking the waterway and marina. The bar and lounge area had been set up for makeshift dining tables, and restaurant patrons were being catered for in this area. The adjoining restaurant was not operating, no doubt due to the low demand at the time of year. There were only around 6 or 7 guests in the area and they were dining. The area naturally enough lacked any life so I decided to walk down the road to Tom Ham's Restaurant and Bra which is about 100 yards from the hotel. On entering you are directed upstairs. I tried the bar first which had some life in it. There was a Happy Hour on until 7pm, a TV tuned to a sports channel and appetisers on a table which included hot dishes and other snacks. I had a beer and then went on in to the restaurant. The view is magic. Panoramic views out over the Bay from every picture type window. It is really quite awesome. I ordered a shrimp cocktail as an appetiser and the coconut-coated shrimp with mango sauce as an entree. I also tried a (small) slice of the peanut butter pie. The meal was excellent, well presented and reasonably priced. The service was excellent. It was then back to the hotel to catch up on the days news. I opened the balcony door and gazed out over the water. For a hotel near an airport the quietness surprised me. It was practically impossible to hear any sounds with the door closed, but even with it open there seemed to be not so much activity going on at the airport. The stay at the hotel was faultless, the bill was delivered overnight and the checkout took only seconds before I was on my way again to my next hotel.