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  • Writer's pictureKathy Condon

Road Trip to San Diego from Palm Springs

A large whale sculpture welcoming me in front of Sheraton Hotel after my Road trip to San Diego
Whale Sculpture in front of San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Marina Photo by Kathy Condon

When you are invited to go to San Diego and stay in a fabulous hotel, how would any red-blooded travel writer respond? Yes, of course.

I love it when my calendar is open, and an invitation like this comes along. I accepted this kind invitation from Ballantines Public Relations. The invitation was for a two-night stay at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Marina to see some of the refurbished areas. The others are expected to be completed in August 2024 and cost $100 million.

Preparation for the Road Trip to San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Marina

With the itinerary in hand, I knew what to pack in my carry-on, which has been getting quite the workout lately. About 15 years ago, on the advice of flight attendants, I bought a Kirkland Signature Brand, and it is still going strong.

It has been a while since I was in San Diego, so I got out the map and decided how to go. I am not a fan of freeways, so I always look for country roads that slant toward my destination. This time, it was apparent that going through Temecula would work well. So, the turnoff on Highway 10 out of Palm Springs was in Banning, Route 243 South. Then, take Highway 15 from Temecula to continue the trip to San Diego.

Road Trip to San Diego First Stop

I enjoy this leg because it's scenic as you drive over the mountains. The land flattens at the base of the mountains, but you can see our majestic mountains in any direction. Shortly after Winchester, Winchester Farm Market is usually a stop, especially since I learned they now carry Julian Pies, my favorite apple pie because it is much like my mom used to make.

A stop on road trip to San Diego was the Altisima Winery. Kathy with back to view of valley. She is sitting at a table.
Kathy Condon at Altisima Winery in Temecula Photo by Kathy Condon

This route also allowed me the perfect opportunity to arrange a luncheon date with Norma Marlowe of Visit Temecula, who suggested we have lunch at the Altisima Winery. Thus, I met her at the appointed time and immediately fell in love with the location. The view, high above other prominent wineries, made the trip there alone worth it. Plus, the food and wine were superb.

Drive on Highway 15 from Temecula to San Diego Harbor

Leaving Temecula, it is easy to get on Highway 15. Soon, I marveled at the wildflowers blooming on the hills near the roadside. I learned the blue was wild lilacs, while the California Poppy's orange colors couldn't help one get a bit distracted, for they were so bright. I still wish I had pulled over someplace and captured one of the colorful hillsides in a photo.

Checking in at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina

Located on Harbor Island, this gigantic hotel looms large on the waterfront. Since the refurbishing is happening, there is a circuitous route to the registration desk, but the signage leaves no doubt about where you head to the temporary registration desk. Check-in went smoothly.

A room with TV on left, coffee table, and sofa. Windows in background reveal a patio and view.
San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Marina Suite Photo by Kathy Condon

My Suite

My newly refurbished suite on the 7th floor felt so fresh and inviting. The king-size bed was hidden behind a partition. Frankly, it was great to see a different hotel room configuration. The area where you walk in includes a lovely sofa, a contemporary coffee table, and a TV set mounted on the wall. (By the way, there was also a TV on the other side of the partition, so you could still watch television while lounging in bed.)

The dining table was set near the patio window, so you have a fabulous view of the Marina any time of year. The weather was gorgeous. I often went out on the patio. I drank my coffee there, and the sunsets were beautiful, which made me watch the time so I could go out there to see the sun's reflection in the water.

The bathroom had all the needed amenities, including lovely lotions, shampoos, and conditioners. The shower was fabulous, causing me to take a much longer one than usual.

A wide view of Sheraton restaurant. A tree with light and tables with people sitting about the area
Rumosa Restaurant at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Marina Photo by Kathy Condon

Rumosa Restaurant with Floor-to-Ceiling Windows

Chef Sesar Oceguera creates unique cuisine by combining Baja, Mexico's vibrant and bold flavors, with reimagined all-American classic food called Cali-Baja. So, look for unusual twists on food served all day at the Rumosa.

Lovely dividers and contemporary art installations, along with trees illuminated with lights, help visitors feel they are entering a unique space at any time of day.

Lobby is a Gathering Place

With lovely lounge areas, this is the perfect place to wait for friends or meet colleagues. Nearby is a Starbucks if you want to grab a cup of coffee.

A picture of a sign for the MarinaMarket and Cafe.
The MarinaMarket and Cafe Right Off the Hotel Main Lobby Photo by Kathy Condon

Even more impressive is the MarinaMarket and Cafe. This large space has fresh pastries but, more importantly, a variety of snacks, including wine and an assortment of non-alcoholic drinks. You can find a unique souvenir for your dog sitter or your grandchildren. Grab a stylish hoodie if you thought it would be much warmer here than it is, especially in the evenings.  

Meeting Space

There is a large assortment of meeting rooms. The flexible panels are adjustable to accommodate any conference or retreat of any size. The wide hallways allow for spontaneous conversations without blocking the flow of traffic.

Sheraton San Diego Staff Gave Us a Special Treat

One rarely gets to cruise on an upscale yacht in San Diego Harbor. We were told to assemble in the lobby and were led down to the Marina, where we boarded the Nerissa, operated under the watchful eye of Zolna Yachts.

When we arrived, we were handed a mimosa, and lovely guitar music played in the background. We toured the yacht to see where our perch would be for the cruise on the San Diego Harbor on this glorious, cloudless day.

Large white yacht is moored at a dock surrounded with other small boats.
Nerissa Yacht We Boarded for a Cruise in San Diego Harbor Photo by Kathy Condon

Soon, we were off, sailing by hundreds of boats moored in the area. Before we knew it, the captain took us up close and personal to one of the gigantic aircraft carriers docked in the area. The enormity of those carriers quickly became apparent. I heard they were like a city. Now I understand why that label is probably very accurate.

The San Diego landscape loomed large before us. Docked was a Disney cruise ship. It's fun to see the Mickey Ears on the upper deck, no mistaking its allegiance.

Fortunately, I was able to stay for another day. I walked to the end of Harbor Island. I passed another Sheraton hotel, which was part of the extended refurbishing project. Sheraton San Diego's presence is immense on this island. Its location is an easy drive to downtown and allows any visitor to explore the abundant attractions in the area easily.

It was a delight to experience this grand hotel and be on the inside know, to learn about the renovations still being completed. The pools are being reconfigured. I can hardly wait to experience something like the ameba-shaped pool and the cozy firepits in the future.

Road Trip Back to Palm Springs

Since I was so comfy in my room the last morning, I ended up with a late start home. So, I had to hightail it home. Alas, no stop in Temecula on the way home for an appointment awaited me. I anticipated it to be a three-hour drive. Since it was a Friday, I felt fortunate I made it home with nary one slow traffic stop.

 A suggestion: if you are asked to go somewhere, go. You will stretch your brain and, more than likely, your outlook on the world, for you will see things from a different perspective. The road trip to San Diego was a terrific getaway. I have always appreciated these trips because they make one realize how much there is to experience in the world.

Sunset over the marina. Sun reflecting in the water and railing of the patio in the foreground.
Sunset from the patio of the San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Marina Photo by Kathy Condon

If you are planning a trip to San Diego, I suggest you strongly consider making a reservation at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Marina. Relaxation is strongly encouraged, and rooms with patios invite you to stop and take in the beauty of sunrises and sunsets over San Diego Harbor.

Kathy Condon wearing white shirt and gold beads.
Kathy Condon Journalist and Travel Writer

Kathy Condon is a journalist, travel writer, and award-winning author. Her niche is luxury experiences and writing about communities living in the shadow of larger cities.


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Mar 25
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Packing my bags and heading to San Diego Sheraton!!

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