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Palomar Hotel in downtown San Diego is an over the top vacation experience.

Actually, our penthouse apartment literally was on the top floor overlooking the Coronado Bay and the magnificent hills of San Diego. It was called the Coronado Luxury Flat. 

Our luxury penthouse flat.

The Flat is 1,042 square feet of pure style and pristine beauty.  This  high rise opulence had the uncanny magic to be so artfully decoarted and appointed that we became so comfortable it felt like home. 

Their advertising slogan is  “live like a local.” I wondered how many local San Diegans experience this kind of sophisticated luxury?  WOW!

The lifestyles of the Rich and Famous started when we checked in and met Chuck our Concierge  He was a young handsome gentleman with sandy brown hair, a bright genuine smile and an engaging personality.  He hailed from Boston, but had picked up the laid back surfer San Diego psyche.  He instantaneously had the the knack that made my daughter and myself feel as if we were secret celebrities that needed constant attention and pampering. 

Palomar Hotel's luxurious lobby is like a living room.

My daughter's eyes met mine and we both thought, “oh my.”  He was so gracious, friendly and accommodating it appeared as if this was his home and his only job was to make sure we were happy, safe and enjoyed every minute of our stay.  His wholesome boyish smile mixed with his back East sophistication for the finer sides of life heralded the beginning of our serendipity weekend.

We wavered between feeling like the Royal family being secluded in our private retreat and acting rock star glamorous!  The luxurious amenities, services and decor of the Palomar pandered to both.

Every design feature of our flat was exquisitely appointed.  Celebrities or royalty would be wowed with our accomodations  With two private balconies, a living room complete with a high designed leather couch, comfy throw pillows, a modern edgy pewter top coffee table with a stone ripple design, flat screen television, pewter accented dining table and chairs that were aqua blue like the sea, it reflected the gray hues in the ocean waves, accented with the blue reflections of the sky. 

A luxury suite at the Palomar Hotel San Diego.

Modernly chic and homey because the lighting was phenomenal!  Lighting is the secret to create ambiance and warmth.  Every room held a glow because of the way the lights were appointed in the ceilings and everything was dimmer controlled.  Another WOW!

All rooms are well appointed.

The bedroom had floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the hills of San Diego.  The bed . . . oh the bed . . . white crisp Fete linens with a chocolate brown bolster pillow, cozy blue aqua throw graced the edge of the bed. 

I could have cuddled up with it for a for a luxurious afternoon nap after me massage,  or a well deserved rest when I came home from a day of shopping, sightseeing, or sun bathing. 

The bedroom was serene, embracing peace with dreamy pillow top bed and down filled duvets.  (What was extra special is a hypoallergenic pillow that my daughter really appreciated.)

Feel the rain fall.

The bathroom was our personal spa. 

The rainforest shower felt soothing as the soft pellets of water gently fell over my face and body.  The steam shower cleared my sinuses and  relaxed every muscle in my body.  Stepping out of that bathroom, I felt like I had spent the day in my own private sanctuary.

Did someone Se‘ Spa?  Yes, even though our private bathroom had all the spa amenities, including amazing spa soaps and gels . . . the Palomar’s, Se‘ Spa has the extensive Spa menu of services that took us a world away from our worries. 

My daughter was studying for college finals, and after her treatment felt totally rejuvinated to “crack those books.” I am a manager of a high end retail boutique and after my spa afternoon, my body stopped hurting and my mind was relaxed.  

They have seven different treatment rooms, each with their private steam shower.  One couple who was relaxing with a cup of tea with us in the Silk Lounge bragged about their Moroccan-inspired Rasui steam room that was designed for a mud cleansing ritual, and the Studio Sutra they experienced, with the soaking tub, double steam shower and daybed.  My daughter loved our Swedish massage. 

We left the spa energized, rested and deeply Wowed!

The Se‘ Spa is a world away from the world.

The rooftop pool lounge with their cozy cabanas was the perfect place to extend the relaxing spa feelings. The San Diego sun is always a nourishing treat but on top of a fourteen story building it felt ‘sunsational.”  

Taking a dip in the heated pool extended our spa experience and the poolside juice-infused cocktails were artfully sinful.  At night this intimate space comes alive with sheer magic. The lighted San Diego skyline, salty sea air, and the Palomar’s savory food menu parlay their Rooftop Bar & Lounge into “THE” place to party.  It’s cozy atmospere makes it a great date night or just a place to meet new friends and put the Wow factor back into your life!

Make it a Date Night at the rooftop pool.

But it’s the Saltbox Dining and Drinking that etched it’s signature Wow into our culinary hearts.  It’s at the cutting edge of what’s shaping the restaurant scene across the country.

The sleek style of the Saltbox restaurant is only the backdrop for the ultimate enjoyment of a gastronomic culinary experience.  Their menu is deceptively simple.  Yet the dining experience we had was “off the charts.” 

Saltbox Dining and Drinking culinary experience.

Chef Simon Dolinky with
the author, Janice Wilson.

Their Chef Simon Dolinky was born and raised in Wisconsin which explains why the food tasted like a home cooked meal.  Every creation that came to our table was unconventional and down home delicious.  The hors d’ouevres comprised of flash fried Shishito Pepper with ginger and lemon,  just the right tanginess to get our taste buds awakened while the shrimp ceviche taco served on a crunchy tortilla with mango salsa was so yummy our palates were tingling with anticipation for our entrées. 

His slow cooked Brandt Beef Short Ribs cooked with coconut porter and mango BBQ paired with a ginger mustard coleslaw made us giggle with delight at each bite.  The spicy seafood Cioppina with clams, mussels, shrimp, rouille was an “under the sea” adventure to savor.  The Saltbox serves the right amount of everything.  The seasonings tantalize and satiate.  Every morsel Wowed our taste buds.   Every food craving we could imagine was Wowed! 

Kyra and a Whiskey Sour
with a Mango Delight delightful.

The cocktail list runs the gamut for Prohibition-era classics like Erins‘ Whiskey Sour that features Four Roses bourbon, lemon, sugar, egg white with peanut butter and jelly garnish. 

It reminded me of Sunday afternoons playing cards at my Mom and Dad’s.  This restaurant is a must to visit. 

If there is anyone you would like to Wow, the Saltbox is the place.  More emphatically, this dining experience embraces the lost art of enjoying a meal and being able to let your guard down to laugh, reminisce, and celebrate all the Wow moments in life.  

So next time you want to dine out, “Think Inside the Box, “ to find it.

What was the Wow that made our stay so wonderful?  Was it Chuck our Concierge, the extraordinary decor of our Penthouse apartment, the sensational Spa treatments, the rooftop pool pleasures, the new friends we made at the free wine tasting, or the dining ambiance of the Saltbox?

I believe it was the idea that the Palomar Hotel became our home for four days.  I have always dreamed about living  the luxurious lifestyle of the Rich and Famous.  Thanks to the staff and the Kimpton Palomar Hotel hospitality, my dream came true!  Wow!

Palomar Hotel's gastrp pub for evening meet-ups.

— Feature by Janice Wilson, Jetsetters Magazine Spa and Hotel Editor; photos courtesy of the Palomar Hotel.