Family vacations

Omni Hotel – San Diego (4/5 “family friendly” stars)

By far San Diego is one of our top picks for “family friendly” cities in the USA, and the Omni is a great choice for those wanting to stay in town – and especially for those who want to catch a Padres baseball game.

First off, the sheer size and location (I think it is one of the biggest hotels in the city) will place you in awe – or at least give you comfort that you may never lose sight of your hotel if you are wandering the city core. It is located walking distance from the convention centre, Gaslamp district, and it is located right next door to the Padres Stadium.

Secondly, your kids get a cute little backpack with toys! Included in their backpack is a hacky sack, magnifying glass, frisbee, crayons etc… I used this backpack later in the trip to fill it with $1 store items to keep my two year old entertained on the flight home. She still has it in her toy chest! What a great idea to help you entertain the kids while you get orientated, and unpacked, and automatically, as a parent, wins points.

Thirdly, if you want to see a Padres game it actually has a “skybridge” which allows you to enter Petco stadium through the hotel and not have to line up with the masses. Great advantage when you have kids. For us it was great because I could quickly run up to the room with the baby in the 6th inning to put her to bed, while Jeff stayed with our toddler to watch the full game.

Fourthly, the rooms are nice and from our hotel room we had lots to watch outside on the balcony as the kids had a nap mid-day. I didn’t feel I was trapped inside aching to have my kids wakeup so we could get out of cramped quarters.

Fifthly, the little restaurant next door “Tin Fish” had awesome fish tacos. We grabbed some while the kids were sleeping and I could have eaten there every day.

Finally, they brought a fridge in for us which is a great parent feature for us since our daughter is addicted to her Cheerios when she gets up at 6am!

It does have a pool; however, it was a little cold when we were there so did not use it…and there was a private party occurring when we were trying to view it so I cannot provide a report.

But there are some negatives:

(1) The parking is pricy! Approximately $35 a day – which was within the higher end of parking at other hotels we stayed at. You have to factor that into the cost of your stay.

(2) What the heck? Who puts in shutter blinds in the bathrooms that my 2 year old can play peek-a-boo during awkward times? Definite design flaw. There is no bathroom privacy which can be both embarrassing and frustrating if you have kids that are light sleepers and you want to take a shower after they are in bed or even have to brush your teeth.

(3) You are right next to the train tracks, so it can be noisy. To be honest, it didn’t bother us, but if you are a really light sleeper or have one with you – it could be a problem. They do provide ear plugs.

(4) Most importantly, the price point. You are paying for a 4 star hotel – so prices can range, depending on the season and time of week, from $110 to over $300 a night. We lucked out and stayed at this hotel for a little over $100 from Priceline. However, when you factor in parking it can be pricey.

I would rate this hotel a 4/5 for its family friendly service and its location. While it is pricey for families, think about trying to go to a Padres game from a hotel that is further out…finding parking, lugging a bunch of kids supplies and clothing, the whole family leaving if one child needs to go to bed, packing the kids in the car, lining up with the rest of the crowd to go through security etc… We have all been there, and sometimes it is worth the extra money for the sanity.