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The Ultimate Dog Friendly Hotel in Downtown San Diego

  • February 20, 2018
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit
The Ultimate Dog Friendly Hotel in Downtown San Diego

Hotel Solamar, San Diego CA – Dog Friendly | Downtown Gaslamp Location

You’re probably wondering where to stay when you vacation with your dog in San Diego.

In today’s post I’m going to share the best dog friendly boutique hotel for your pupcation as well as all the dog friendly activities you can do during your stay.

Kimpton Hotels is the best Pet Friendly Hotel Brand

From it’s inception Kimpton has been pet friendly. Founded in 1981 they pioneered the Boutique Hotel concept. And among the first to recognize that dogs are family. Their founder Bill Kimpton would bring his miniature collie, Chianti, to work because he knew that dogs lifted spirits.

Kimpton can be found in 60 cities. We never leave our four legged family members at home and have stayed in their San Francisco, Phoenix, Denver, and Santa Barbara properties.

Dog Friendly Staff at the Kimpton Hotel Solamar, San Diego

You know that a hotel is pet friendly when they have a “Director of Pet Relations”. They are the honorary staff of the canine persuasion. They have the ruff task in quality testing all the pet amenities. Their other job duty includes greeting the guests in the lobby and being present over the nightly wine hours.

Hotel Solemar - best dog friendly hotel in San Diego Lobby

Pet Policy

Kimpton made every single property pet friendly because they believe that travel is better with a friend. They never charge a pet fee or get fussy about size. You won’t see restrictions capping dogs at 50 pounds or 75 pounds. In fact they say – if your dog can fit through the door … they can stay. So yes … if you have a big great dane at 125 pounds … yes … they can stay.

Favorite Dog Friendly Boutique Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter

At the Hotel Solamar in San Diego, Molly has the coveted position as Director of Pet Relations. She gets to test the dog beds, and happily welcome the guests.

On the day that we stayed, Molly had the day off but Annie the Boston gave us a nice warm welcome. Annie and all pets of Kimpton employees are allowed to come to work. She watched over our check in made sure we got our welcome treats.

Dog Friendly Welcome at Kimpton Hotel Solamar, San Diego

We said our good byes to Annie and made our way up to our room. I used to work in the hotel business and this was what I used to call the “moment of truth”; That moment when your impressions from the hotel’s website met your expectations at upon entering your room. We’re happy to report that the guest room was all we imagined and more. The first few minutes, Maggie and Orbit explored every square inch of the room. They excitedly jumped up on the bed, looked under it, around the sofa and finally to the bathroom.

Pet Friendly Rooms Hotel Solemar
Amazing bathrooms at Hotel Solmar dog friendly hotel downtown san diego
no pet fee or size restrictions at Hotel Solmar dog friendly hotel downtown san diego

All of the rooms at the Hotel Solamar are spacious at 340 square feet in size. We stayed in a King Spa Corner Guest Room with 1 King Bed. Our room was brightly lit and had a sitting area as well as a work desk. The room felt larger than your standard hotel room and the bathroom was large by normal standards. I didn’t get to try the soaking bathtub but Maggie and Orbit had fun posing by it. Once they settled down we looked over and saw this wonderful welcome greeting from the Kimpton Team. Our room came with the most gorgeous dog bed, water bowls, treats, dog poop bags, a cute little Kimpton Bone stuffed toy, and last but not least pupcakes. Let’s just say the girls were fascinated by the smells of the pupcake and were not very happy I made them wait and take a photo by it first.

Hotel Solamar Welcome Pet Amenity
pet welcome amenity at Hotel Solemar Dog Friendly Hotel gaslamp San Diego
pupcake amenity hotel solemar for dogs

Dog Friendly Evening Yappy (Happy) Hour at Kimpton Hotel Solamar, San Diego

Kimpton recognized right away that people traveling wanted to relax and unwind at the end of each day. Every night Kimpton hosts a complimentary wine hour with light hors d’oevres. The best part … your dog(s) can join you. It was a Friday evening when we stayed and there was a good sized group downstairs. I’d estimate 70 or so people and we saw 5 other dog families.

Potty Breaks

After the wine hour, I took the girls outside for a potty break. There was a patch of grass conveniently out by the side of the hotel. This is always a big concern of mine when I’m traveling solo because the last thing I want to do as an unaccompanied woman is to have to walk far to take the dogs to do their business.

Dog Friendly Room Service at Kimpton Hotel Solamar, San Diego

This pupcation trip was geared towards spending time with my dogs. So I opted to order room service. The menu was from the Jsix restaurant downstairs. I ordered the Jsix burger and chicharrones. The gentleman that answered the phone said it would arrive in 25 minutes and I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived in 15.

Dog Friendly Stores in the Gaslamp

After dinner I decided to take the girls for an evening walk. The Solamar is conveniently located in the heart of the Gaslamp. Practically every store we went inside was dog friendly. We meandered up Fifth Avenue and window shopped at the Urban Outfitters and tried on a few hats at Gorrin Brothers. We capped off the evening by visiting our favorite artist’s studio Tim Cantor.

Saturday Mornings are for Exploring

The sheets are yummy and we slept long and hard.  After a well rested rest, we woke up just after sunrise to explore the area surrounding downtown.

Best dog friendly hotel with not pet fee in downtown san diego

I find the water soothing so I gravitated towards the bay which was just a few blocks away. We started our bay walk down by the Convention Center and made our way up towards the Midway making sure to enjoy the sites in-between.

Dog Friendly Bay Walk downtown San Diego
Kissing Statue Memorial Dog Friendly San Diego
Midway with the dog - bayfront san diego

On the way back we stopped by the Fish market … which was probably the highlight for Maggie and Orbit. The fishermen were showcasing their fresh catch from the day before and were gracious enough to let the two get close to the fish to see and them smell them. After being out for almost two hours we made our way back to the hotel. All in all we walked about 4 miles round trip. We made sure to stop by and take a photo on the bridge leading up the Petco stadium. It was a quiet day since baseball hasn’t officially started. But we’re very proud of our ball park. We also love that they welcome dogs.

Dog friendly Petco stadium

Once Baseball season starts (March 29) you can reserve one of six dog friendly booths to watch the game. Petco and the Padres call this area the Barkyard. And although they limit this to 6 dogs per game (call to make reservations) once a year Petco opens their doors and makes the whole stadium dog friendly. We had the pleasure of attending last year and you can read that article HERE. 

Room Service and The Best French Toast I’ve Ever Had at Kimpton Hotel Solamar, San Diego

After taking photos outside of Petco we made our way back to the hotel. I fed the girls and ordered room service. I’ll have to say the French Toast was the best I’ve ever had. The girls supervised me the whole time.

Breakfast in bed amazing french toast while staying at the dog friendly hotel san diego Hotel Solemar
Breakfast in bed amazing french toast while staying at the dog friendly hotel san diego ca Hotel Solemar

San Diego consistently ranks in the top ten of dog friendly cities in the United States and almost every restaurant with a patio is dog friendly

Although I ordered room service, I wanted to point out that San Diego has arguably the most number of dog friendly restaurants in the whole nation. We have a total of 527 at the last count from you to choose from. Some of our favorites include. You & Yours Distilling Co

Upper East Bar

Rustic Root


A post shared by Rustic Root (@rusticrootsd) on

Garage Kitchen and Bar

Dog Friendly activities beyond the Gaslamp

San Diego traffic is not terribly bad. You can get to most noteworthy locations inside of 30 minutes. Here are a few favorites:

Balboa Park

Located on over 1,200 acres with 16 museums and open spaces, Balboa Park approximately 5 miles away from the hotel. If your four legged friend needs social interaction with other dogs, there’s a fenced in dog park just south of El Prado. Nate’s Point Dog Park is 2.3 acres in size and has drinking fountains and picnic benches. It’s a favorite among the locals.

Best Place to Shop with Your Dog around the Gaslamp District, San Diego Downtown

If you need more retail than what you can find in the Gaslamp, a 15 to 20 minute ride up the freeway can bring you to the Westfield UTC Mall. It’s recently gone through a $500 million renovation and a fantastic place to shop with your pups. And the bonus is there’s plenty of Instagram worthy spots to take photos by. If you’re looking for a more eclectic shopping experience, check out the North Park area. And be sure to stop by Pigment

Favorite Dog Beaches

San Diego is known for their off leash dog beaches. Our favorites include Del Mar Dog Beach, Fiesta Island and Coronado Dog Beach. You can see photos, addresses and reviews by visiting this link.

Stand Up Paddling

With the average temperature hovering around 70 degrees, water activities are almost year round. For the aquatic inclined a fun activity to take your dogs to is Stand Up Paddling. We recommend that you call in advance of your trip to make reservations.

San Diego Dog Friendly Breweries

Known as the capital of craft, San Diego is home to over 130 breweries. An easy way to keep track is to follow @barksandboozesd on Instagram.  Some recommendations include:

Second Chance Beer Company
Bay City Brewing Co
Coronado Beer Company
Barn Brewery
Little Miss Brewing Company

Coffee Culture
For the non beer enthusiasts we round up some of our favorite coffee spots to grab a cuppa with your pup.
Communal Coffee
James Coffee Co
Heartsleeves Coffee

As you can see … San Diego is the ultimate place to bring your dog. Staying at the Hotel Solamar is the perfect launching point to experience San Diego in a day, two or three days.

We want to thank the team at the hotel for sponsoring our mini vacation or pup-cation as we like to call it.

Best Dog Friendly Hotel downtown San Diego with no pet fee
Even the hotel room has the cutest dog bed - pet friendly downtown san diego

If you found this article useful, please share it on your social media or pin it to your dog friendly travel board on Pinterest

Best Dog Friendly Hotel San Diego Gaslamp Downtown
By MaggieLovesOrbit, February 20, 2018
  • 4
  • Melissa Pearce
    February 20, 2018

    Great blog post! I so wish we could travel and stay in this beautiful hotel and explore the local area! So glad you had a nice relaxing time

  • Stephanie
    February 21, 2018

    Frankie and I had a fantastic time in the gaslamp a few years ago. One of our favorite places to stay in San Diego.

  • Irene McHugh
    February 24, 2018

    I can drink wine with my dogs at a hotel where they provide pet beds, pupcakes, and a canine Director of Pet Relations, AND they charge no pet fee? Plus they serve delicious French Toast for the humans! How did I not know about this Shangri-La before? Love it. Also love your comprehensive review that includes ideas for what to do in San Diego near this pet-friendly destination.

  • walkingwiththepack
    February 25, 2018

    What great pictures! I am so excited to get my girls passports sorted so we can start exploring the world.

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