One of the side benefits of staying at La Pensione Hotel is that it is located in the heart of San Diego's "Little Italy." Otherwise we may not have discovered this very charming neighborhood, just a few blocks northeast of the harborfront and the Gaslamp District.
Little Italy in San Diego has been an ethnic business and residential community since the 1920's. It claims to be Downtown San Diego’s oldest continuous neighborhood business district. At one time, more than 6,000 Italian families lived in Little Italy and toiled to build San Diego into the center of the world tuna industry.
Today, you will find a wide array of authentic Italian restaurants, many with sidewalk dining areas which create a festive atmosphere. There are also several Italian markets and other businesses. We enjoyed strolling through Little Italy and felt safe walking the streets here at night since there were many people frequenting the restaurants.
Perfect location and great price
We enjoyed our stay in San Diego and the La Pensione Hotel was the perfect location for us...within easy walking distance of the bay area, trolley, great restaurants. The rooms are basic but clean and the price very reasonable. We didn't spend much time in our room during the day, and in the evening we liked having windows that opened. Our room was on the east side, but don't stay here if you are a serious dieter...the aromas from the many restaurants and bakeries that waft up through the window are very tantalizing. We would certainly stay here again and have recommended it to friends who plan to be in the area.
Great simple yet stylish hotel :-)
La Pensione Hotel is a hip, inexpensive hotel in San Diego's "Little Italy" neighborhood. This was our first time at the hotel, but we're glad we stayed here! The hotel was just what we were looking for: fresh design, a new & clean facility, central location and reasonable prices ($75). It fulfilled each category!
My partner had to be in downtown for work, so we decided to stay somewhere fairly close to the city centre. The hotel is within walking distance of downtown (6-8 blocks away), and steps away from the streetcar line, which takes you right to Tiajuana/ Mexican border. Balboa Park is not too far away, a good 30 minute walk via Grape Street & though Banker's Hill. I love to walk & look at the interesting architecture along the way, so I enjoyed it. (For you Architecture buffs out there: The Prado in Balboa Park is just absolutely stunning with Mission/Spanish Revival architecture, as well as a fascinating botanical garden with orchids. Also worth seeing in Balboa Park: the San Diego Zoo--It is amazing!).
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD:
The hotel is smack-dab in the middle of the smart neighborhood of Little Italy. This small neighborhood is filled with hip modern architecture and stylish cafes, salons & restaurants. Being an architect, I loved walking around and looking at the funky buildings. There are some older structures, including a cute row of cottages on Fir Street. For you coffee addicts out there (I'm one of them!) there are several cafes nearby: one adjacent to the lobby of the hotel, one a block down across the street, and one across the street: Zuccaro's...which also makes a simple but satisfying breakfast omelette.
The 4 floor hotel has a small lobby with a fireplace and some interesting historic pictures of San Diego. Beyond the lobby is a quaint courtyard that opens to a cafe on India Street. There is also a very small garage (with an aisle of an incredibly tight turning radius) as well as free street parking on Date St.
The room was standard & small as expected, per other Trip Advisors' reviews. The size & design of the room was totally fine with us as we planned to use our room only for sleeping, to change clothes, shower, and as a jumping-off point to explore the city. The room was fairly basic, nothing luxe about it besides the granite-topped European-style vanity in the entry vestibule. The very basic shower/toilet room was opposite the vanity, and like the room, it was clean. Beyond the entry vestibule was the double bed with very basic linens. This is definitely not the W, but neither is the price! Our room was on the west-facing side of the hotel, with a partial view of the bay, which was pleasant, other interesting buildings, as well as a view of some mechanical equiptment of an adjoining building. The windows were operable, which was great as the air was fresh. The only drawback to being on the west-facing side of the hotel was that it faced the Amtrack tracks a block to the west...and as other reviewers have mentioned...the train's horn would blow at all times of the night as the train crosses some of the city streets (one of our windows was cracked the first night, we made sure to close it for the second night). We didn't mind this too much, since we knew from other reviewers that this was a "given", and we had taken ear plugs just in case it would be a problem. There are also corner rooms that are more spatious & luxurious...one fabulously hip hotel guest that we ran into several times said she was very impressed by her corner room.
something to love,something to hate
I'll never forget "La Pensione". My ex-fiancee a couple of years ago surprised me with a trip to San Diego. Well,when we got to "La Pensione" she was in a foul mood due to the heat. When we walked into the small,but cozy room, she dropped her bags, went to the wall looking for the A/C controls and was flabbergasted when she realized there was no air conditioning. When she called the front desk and was told that no room at the hotel had any airconditioning, she immediately started calling hotels in the area.
We found a room with airconditioning not too far away, but they were no rooms for that night. So we stayed at "La Pensione" that night. THe area is fabulous and we had a nice dinner in German style restaurant nearby. However, at night, we had to leave the window open for ventilation. The noise was attrocious, with a jack-hammer going until 7:00 (no Sh_t) and needless to say, we got little sleep. The next day, we had a very nice breakfast in the coffee shop. My fiancee's humor had not improved and that morning she told me that she thought we needed to split up because we weren't "right"for each other.She was correct, just took some years to convince me. :-)
A great, cute hotel.
This place is near perfect. The rooms ARE small, but who wants to stay inside anyway? The room I had did not have air conditioning, but was cool anyway. It had a ceiling fan and a wall fan. (we went in mid-oct) Was there on the weekend and there were tons of cute coffee shops right next door. The trolley is 3 walkable blocks away! Close to old town and right on the line to go to Tijuana. Enjoy!
I second all the comments on small but stylish rooms, potential noise issues (my room overlooked the courtyard where a group stayed late drinking one night) and the convenience of the neighborhood. However, no one has mentioned how helpful the staff at the desk is. Queries for directions, recommendation and public transportation were all answered politely, quickly and correctly, both by telephone and in person. I would definitely stay here again.
I need an affordable but NICE place to stay
Hi.I am coming out there [S.D] on May 21for 6 nights,so I need to book something very soon.I am interested in a condo or Hotel that is nice w/extras.....but I want to spend no more than maybe $100-$135 a night.Less is o.k and if the place is SUPER special,maybe I can go over my budget.As far as location,we want to hit the scenic/tourist spots,like Mexico,La Jolla,etc....
But the main thing is,it is my anniversary...16 years and our first vacation w/no children and I am hoping to find something a little special.
Any help appreciated!!!!
Re: I need an affordable but NICE place to stay
I have heard great things about La Pensione Hotel. It's located in the Little Italy district of San Diego and is close to downtown, the waterfront, Old Town and Balboa Park (San Diego Zoo).
The website is http://www.lapensionehotel.com and there should be lots of information (rates, amenities, etc.) available for you to make a decision. Fellow VT'er lmkluque has additional information about this hotel.
By the way, will you have a vehicle? Public transportation is not the best here, so a rental would be your best bet.
Re: Re: I need an affordable but NICE place to stay
Yes,we will have a car.
Thanks for the great info! I will be checking it out.
Re: Re: I need an affordable but NICE place to stay
Excellent, and you'll have a great time out here celebrating your anniversary :-)