The swanky Omni has it all
With its sleek décor and unbeatable downtown location
Overview of the hotel
Tall and sleek, with a curved visage that gleams in the sun: first appearances suggest that you'll be in for an elegant treat, and you'd be right. Inside you'll find sunny, open spaces, glossy surfaces, and classy furniture, and the rooms are just as good.
Price and value
With its classy décor and quality amenities, this Omni is a worthy contender amongst the other downtown San Diego hotel offerings. Its location is top-notch, and it's hard to fault its facilities or the quality of service on offer. If extras such as parking or internet fees sting, then sign up for the Omni rewards club to take advantage of some additional freebies.
Location – where is it?
The heart of San Diego's Gaslamp District, with the twin joys of the Padres' Petco Park and the Convention Center virtually at your doorstep. The winking lights and gaudy signs of the myriad dining and shopping establishments on 5th Street beckon, and with Horton Plaza mere minutes away you'll have no shortage of opportunities to run your credit card into the red. The historic trolley that winds through the city clatters by on a regular basis, and trains run nearby—as you'll find out when you're trying to sleep. Clubs, bars, cinemas, and theaters are omnipresent, and the briefest stroll will have you enthralled by a plethora of entertainment offerings.
Rooms – what are the rooms like?
Quietly attractive, with sleek and modern design that doesn't overwhelm, and an approach to décor that cleverly finds the middle ground between plain and adventurous. Lush, lightly patterned carpets beg you to dig your toes into them, and the floor-to-ceiling windows, with views of the Bay, the city's picturesque skyline, or of Petco, are a bright and lively feature that will grab your attention and hold it. The beds are large and plush, with luxuriously thick duvets patterned with tribal-style tones, and pillows that can be tailored according to your preferences, but the chiropractically sensitive should be warned that the mattresses are roughly as yielding as a rock. The overstuffed armchairs with cushy footrests will have you making excuses to stay in, and feel at their best when you're clad in the complimentary fluffy robes, reading the USA Today and sipping on a freshly made cup of coffee. While the CRT television disappoints, it's augmented with myriad gaming devices, and a fridge is available upon request—and at no charge. In-room wi-fi is $9.95, but this cost will be waived if you sign up for the free Omni Hotels Select Guest Rewards System.
The division between bedroom and bathroom is little more than a suggestion, with a frosted glass sliding door deemed to be sufficient privacy—you'll want to make sure you've got your robe at hand before preparing to bathe. The wood-paneled bathrooms are spacious and sleek, although the minimalist approach has also been applied to bench space, and you'll struggle to find room to fit your things. The Institute Swiss toiletries are plentiful, however, with a full range of mini goodies provided for your pampering pleasure.
Unfortunately, soundproofing is an issue, and light sleepers will struggle with the combined cacophony of noisy guests, clunking trains, and the endlessly thudding doof-doof music from the Hard Rock Hotel across the road.
Facilities – what are the facilities like?
Attractive but modest, although the central location of the hotel means that you won't be stuck for things to do. The lobby is sleek and refined, with moody lighting and a careful arrangement of cushy armchairs and couches for all-day nattering, sipping, and munching. If the weather's poor, then indulge in some indoor sight-seeing: this Omni hosts the L Street Fine Art Gallery, which displays a fascinating array of San Diego-themed paintings and pieces.
If watching a game at Petco or seeing the dogged joggers battle the trails around the hotel has inspired you to get moving, visit the hotel's fitness center for a stint of cardio or resistance training. Inside you'll find impressive plethora of treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, and other machines to get you moving quickly. The well-muscled will be disappointed by the quality of the weight machines, although they'll enjoy flexing and posing in front of the large mirrors. The free fruit-infused water is a nice reward for a tough workout.
The pool area is small but inviting, and the rows of sleek white sun loungers are perfect for lazing back with a book whilst sipping on a tasty aperitif or picking at a snacky delight from Omni's Upper Deck. The temperature in the Jacuzzi is akin to those found in volcanic hot springs, so slow and steady is the best approach to take when climbing in.
Service – what's the service like?
Friendly and accommodating, with staff genuinely wanting you to enjoy your time at the hotel. Hiccups are few and far between, and any incidents are graciously dealt with and compensated for with a generous array of vouchers and freebies. In terms of extra fees, you'll find that valet parking will set you back $32 a day, and wi-fi $9.95. Small pets are welcome, but will incur a one-off fee of $50.
Food – what's the food like?
Not bad, given that the main restaurant, McCormick's and Schmick's has two strikes against it from the very beginning: it's in a hotel, and it's part of a chain. The restaurant is a light and breezy affair, with its floor to ceiling windows making for a bright and comfortable environment, and the small square tables arranged in a spacious manner. Lunch times are typically quiet, and the menu reflects this. Still, good picks from the limited choice on offer include the Dungeness Crab and Brie Melt with bay shrimp, cheddar cheese and fries, a deliciously, decadently messy meal, and the Puttanesca Vegetariana is richly infused with an exquisitely tangy tomato and fragrant herb essence. Keep an eye out for Happy Hour, where food and drink prices are drastically slashed, and you'll be able to sample tender cheeseburgers, chicken quesadillas, and pita pizzas all for a few dollars each. The Steamed Manila Clams are a tasty starter to an evening meal, and the Seafood Paella continues the ocean theme nicely. The desserts are the usual fare, and border on bland, so you may wish to head out into the Gaslamp to satisfy your sweet tooth. Service is quick, and with a smile.
The nearby Morsels serves just that: tasty little bits and pieces that go nicely with a cup of tea or coffee. Pastries and desserts are the order of the day, so nibble away as you lounge back on one of the fancy club chairs. During the warm weather months, Omni's Upper Deck is a good pick for poolside eats and libations, and offers a lengthy cocktail list and menu of California-style food that can be eaten out on the pool deck, or indoors while watching the game on one of the large flat-screen TVs.