Homebase for a San Diego vacation: Manchester Grand Hyatt review

When most families dream of vacationing in San Diego, they picture themselves staying right on the beach. And this option does exist: namely in Coronado or north in Del Mar. But if you plan to spend the majority of your time in the city (and not in the car), you’ll want a downtown hotel by the harbor. I spent three nights at the Manchester Grand Hyatt and was pretty blown away by this perfect home base for a San Diego vacation. Why? Incredible location, luxurious accommodations, and family-friendly amenities, like a 4th floor pool, fire pits ready for s’mores, and full-sized sport courts.

Manchester Grand Hyatt

The Manchester Grand Hyatt stands tall right at the bay’s edge with two massive towers: Harbor Tower and Seaport Tower. Within steps are Harbor Village, the Gaslamp Quarter, and the trolley line to get you wherever you need to go. The rooms are large, the views are stunning, and the laid-back California atmosphere prevails even amid the luxury, making it a great pick for kids. The rooms are newly renovated, with a full renovation of the common areas and lobby scheduled for 2015.


Grand Hyatt

Wow. The windows truly make the rooms at the Grand Hyatt. (Check out the view in the photo above and below!) In my standard level corner room, I had no fewer than three separate floor-to-ceiling windows. I was told I had a city view (as opposed to a bay view), but I think this is a no-bad-seat-in-the-house type of situation: my room looked out over both. Beds are incredibly comfortable, families can snuggle up for a movie on a wide flat-screen TV, you get an iHome docking station, and plenty of plugs for your gadgets. In-room fridges and coffee makers make breakfast easy.

Manchester Grand Hyatt

Rooms are located on both towers, and rooms at level 30 and up are considered Grand Club rooms. They include special elevator access to the Grand Club, a concierge lounge on the 33rd floor of Harbor Tower. What you’ll find there: complimentary breakfast offerings, plus all-day snacks and drinks, including soda, bottled water, and Perrier. In the evenings, cocktails are on the honor-bar system. When I visited in the morning, I was greeted with a full array of healthy breakfast offerings, including yogurt parfaits, homemade oatmeal with all the fixings, danishes and breads, cereal, and egg sandwiches, and in the afternoon, cookies, trail mix, yogurt, and fruit were available. In the evenings, light dinner fare is set out; during our visit, we saw sliders and sushi. Grand Club guests also have access to a private concierge on the 33rd floor.


Grand Hyatt

Families will want to spend significant time at the 4th floor level outdoor pool and hot tub deck, overlooking the bay. The pool is not overly large, but the views and ambiance make up for this. Adjacent is the hot tub, plus a dedicated kids’ space with grass called ‘the backyard’. Toddlers (and their parents) will be happy. Dining services are available at the pool (menus listed throughout the pool deck) and the 24/hour fitness center is located there as well. Also on the pool deck: a fun fire pit perfect for visiting after dinner.

Manchester Grand Hyatt

The Hyatt sport courts sit on the roof over the parking garage, offer city views, and include tennis courts, a basketball court, volleyball court, and shuffleboard space. Tennis rackets can be borrowed in the spa, and basketballs are on-hand at the courts. No need to reserve ahead of time unless you’re visiting in the peak of the summer season.

Camp Hyatt is available to kids 4-12 during the summer season and spring break, and includes activities at the pool deck and in the ‘backyard’ all day long. Sign up ahead of time, or drop in for morning or afternoon sessions. (Expect to pay $30-$40 per session.)

Kin Spa is located on the 3rd floor, and is a great place for a little R&R. I experienced the signature facial, which I chased with some time enjoying the spa-guests-only amenities. As always, my spa tip for parents is this: if you carve out time to book a treatment, plan to stay late or go early to enjoy the solitude and relax!

As with most downtown hotels, there is a parking fee at Manchester Grand Hyatt. Families can valet park for $40/night or self-park for $28/night.

What’s nearby:

Coronado island

Bikes can be rented from the Hyatt for a small charge, and ridden along the Embarcadero or on Coronado Island via ferry (just load the bikes right on). This is a great way to see the city. Want to explore the city from the water instead of by wheel? Steps behind the Grand Hyatt are docks with multiple watercraft rentals, including sailboats and personal watercraft. A tour of the bay on the Hornblower is a more economical choice for families, and will give kids a fun history lesson on the various naval ships dotting the harbor.

The Grand Hyatt is directly adjacent to the trolley line, making it easy for families to park the car and explore the city by foot. You can walk to the Gaslamp Quarter for dinner, and access Seaport Village, the harbor area and marina that sits on the water. This is a great location for spotting sailboats and freight ships.

The U.S.S. Midway is a five minute walk away (or you can take a fun pedicab). In short, families can walk to just about any dining, shopping, and transportation to attractions needed from the Hyatt.


Grand Club

Families have several choices of on-site dining (there are no fewer than nine eating or drinking establishments in the hotel) but none come cheaply. In the Harbor Tower, Sally’s offers steaks and seafood right on the water for a nice night out, and Lael’s is more family-oriented with casual fare and an incredible breakfast buffet. There’s also a sports bar, and Top of the Hyatt where you’ll want to get drinks and raise a toast to your San Diego vacation (provided you have a babysitter). Families will also find plenty of dining within walking distance of the hotel, and there’s 24/hour room service. The above photo depicts offerings at The Grand Club, the best deal in Manchester Grand Hyatt.

Room rates:

At the time of our stay room rates started at $194 with advance booking. Average rate is listed at $229. A Grand Club double room is $269. Is a Club room worth the extra $40 (extending to $70 in peak season) per night? In my opinion, yes, provided you utilize the food offerings. If a family of four eats breakfast there every morning and grabs all their snacks and bottles of water for the day before departing to sightsee, they’ll come out ahead. Plus, it’s great to know that food option is always there, day or night.


Manchester Grand Hyatt is located at 1 Market Place, San Diego. From I-5 N, exit at Front Street (exit 17) toward the Civic Center. Continue straight to Front Street, and then turn right onto W. Market Street and into the main entrance.

As I disclose whenever applicable, I experienced the Manchester Grand Hyatt as a guest of the resort, for the purpose of review.

Photo credit: Amy Whitley, prayitno and drtran.