Relaxing at Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa

The Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa is a tropical resort on Mission Bay (photo by Greg Aragon)

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There are many great sights and sounds that come to mind when thinking about my recent escape to the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa. There are ocean breezes flowing through palm trees; a crystal blue pool, sparkling in the sun; sprawling Tahitian-inspired grounds surrounded by a sandy beach, and ducks – yes ducks.

For some reason, I keep thinking of these little web-footed creatures. Maybe it’s the soothing sounds their feathers made against the water when they swam past our room. The sound was similar to a trickling fountain and went very well with a glass of wine and the sunset on San Diego’s Mission Bay.

My getaway to the Hilton began when a friend and I checked into a comfortable suite at the 357-room resort. The room overlooked Mission Bay and a sandy beach, as well as an ocean-front bike and walking path, and the resort’s sports dock, where Kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, small boats, bikes, and surreys are rented.

The Southern Californian-styled room featured bright and festive hues and came with a large flat screen TV, comfy king bed, lounge chair, office area with Internet, and a big balcony. From the balcony we could scan the beautiful bay, watch kayaks and boats drift past, ducks paddle by and the sun set into the water.

When not in the room, we explored the rest of the four-diamond property. Celebrating 50 years on Missions Bay the resort is a recreational paradise on 18 acres. The resort is about one mile from Sea World, just six miles from the San Diego International Airport and 15 minutes from the Gaslamp District and La Jolla.

One of our favorite hotel spots was the pool area, where we swam in the warm water and relaxed in a big cabana with soft recliners. While lounging here we enjoyed lunch from Fresco’s Grille and Bar, the outdoor pool café, which offers a full menu of grilled favorites, snacks, and refreshing cocktails.

After sitting by the pool I liked working out at the fitness center or hitting tennis balls on one of the resorts championship courts. Next to the tennis and gym is the hotel’s renowned full-service Spa Brezza.

Signature indulgences at the spa include the Tranquility Massage, a gentle, relaxing massage that improves circulation and vitality; the Sacred Stone Massage, an innovative full body rub using warmed basalt stones that helps in achieving a greater sense of relaxation; and the Noble Massage, a personalized experience, where you orchestrate the message exactly how you want it. Your therapist combines Pedisage, Swedish and Deep Tissue techniques focusing on the specific areas of tension in your body as you direct.

For dinner at the hotel, we experienced Acqua California Bistro, a casual waterfront restaurant overlooking Mission Bay. Offering a creative mix of classic traditional dishes with a European twist, Aqua brings together innovative flavors combined with a complete social dining experience. Recipient of the prestigious Wine Spectator Award, Acqua’s extensive wine list boasts more than 3,000 bottles from world class winemakers of the old world and the new world. For the beer enthusiast, guests are treated to a selection of rotating award-winning craft beers.

Our dinner began with Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, with avocado, cucumber, and chili vinaigrette. The menu suggested we pair the appetizer with a Pinot Gris from the Adelsheim vineyard of  Willamette Valley, Oregon. We did and it was amazing.

For the main course, my friend enjoyed grilled filet mignon with cauliflower puree, roasted seasonal vegetables, and port wine reduction. I devoured seared diver scallops and pancetta wrapped jumbo shrimp with lobster potato puree, roasted yellow-red tomatoes, and lobster beurre blanc. We paired our food with Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.

After dinner, we took a moonlit walk along the shore past crackling fire pits and through a park located next to the resort.

The San Diego Hilton Resort and Spa also feature a gift store, coffee shop, a 9,600 sq-ft Garden Pavilion that can accommodate groups up to 1,100, and a 9,600 sq-ft Ballroom, divisible into six separate meeting rooms. The resort is located off the 5 Freeway, at 1775 East Mission Bay Drive San Diego, 92109. For more information, current specials and reservations, call 619-276-4010 or visit:

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Greg Aragon, Writer Greg's Getaway
Greg Aragon is a travel writer from Pasadena, California. For the past 15 years Greg has authored “Greg’s Getaway,” a popular travel column that covers the globe. In the course of writing Greg's Getaway, Greg has traveled to more than 25 countries in search of exciting destinations, people, food, drink and culture. From Alaska to Zermatt, Greg has experienced the thrill and beauty of traveling to the fullest. Along the way he has dog sledded on glaciers, drank with sea captains, danced with hula girls, dined with royalty, sung with street performers, wrestled with pigs, jumped from airplanes, conquered rapids, panned for gold, rode a rhino, slept in trees and much, much more. When not on the road, Greg enjoys strumming his old nylon string guitar and playing basketball.