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  • Jennifer Howard

Pendry. The New Luxury

I was given the opportunity to visit Pendry San Diego and there were so many things to love, I'm not sure where to begin. Pendry ushers in a new era of luxury hospitality. Born into the lineage of Montage Hotels & Resorts, the developers of this special property instinctively value flawless service and unrivaled experiences. Each Pendry expresses the unique spirit of its locale, so that discerning guests can discover what makes it special.

Located downtown in the heart of the Historic Gaslamp Quarter, Pendry San Diego is just blocks from the San Diego Convention Center and Petco Park, as well as dozens of bars and eateries, vibrant nightlife, beaches, and shopping. I knew, even as I was approaching the Pendry, that this was going to be a distinctive and unique property, and it did not disappoint.

I was welcomed by the gracious bell / valet staff who were so kind and wonderful (especially as a first point of contact). They assisted with my car, luggage, shared a QR code I simply scan from the room when I am ready for my vehicle, and directed me into the hotel lobby. The foyer is classically beautiful in black and white, rich stone with a perfect fireplace. The reception area is defined by a barrel vault of warm English oak and accented with integrated seating and retail vitrines. It immediately gives a luxury vintage vibe as I check in. The staff have a relaxed yet attentive genuineness about them. I am checked in without delay, and receive information about my accommodations, hotel amenities, the spa and culinary outlets. With glee, I thank the associate, and head up to my perfectly appointed room. The elevators require key access, which allow for more privacy and security.

The Pendry's 317 rooms and suites offer up to 700 square feet of luxurious space outfitted in a blend of California ease. Guest rooms offer custom furnishings, luxurious linens and incredible views of the bay and downtown. I particularly love the ocean-inspired palette and tartan textures that elevate the chic design.

I arrived to a special surprise from the Pendry team. A bottle of sparkling rose, a lovely board filled with fruits, cheese, delicious crackers and natural raw honeycomb, as well as a handwritten note welcoming me to the property. My best friend arrived just in time to enjoy this gorgeous board full of treats.

A bit later, we decided to explore downtown. I found myself to be immediately inspired by San Diego's creative, welcoming culture. Downtown San Diego is a thriving, pedestrian friendly pocket of California where coast meets city. We walked, we shopped, we happened upon a group of relaxed, joyful people having what appeared to be a choreographed roller skate dance party in the middle of the street. They were having such a fun time, as were the rest of us who wished we had a pair of skates. We had dinner that night at Union Kitchen & Tap.

The next morning, we decided to explore the diverse culinary outlets within the Pendry. The Pendry's dining outlets are next level. Featuring a collection of six unique restaurants and bars, and highlighting some of the city's most talented chefs and concepts, Pendry San Diego is a true culinary playground and entertainment hub within the city. Guests can experience modern coastal cuisine at Lionfish; Southern California-driven seasonal fare, boutique shopping and gourmet coffee at Provisional; light bites and poolside drinks at The Pool House; the perfect cocktail at Fifth & Rose; local craft beers at Nason's Beer Hall; and an elevated nightlife experience at Oxford Social Club.

Provisional was our first stop for breakfast. French toast, buttermilk pancakes, steak and eggs, eggs benedict and a grand ostrich egg were on the menu, along with steel cut oatmeal, greek yogurt parfait, fresh pastries and a full espresso bar. Could you ask for anything more? Good food, good mood, seems to be the feeling of Provisional.

Next stop, floor three for the Pendry Spa and Pool House. An outdoor oasis with sweeping city views, the gorgeous rooftop pool and Pool House lounge are not to be missed. Embodying the essence of the Southern California lifestyle. Light, contemporary, and open-air, the indoor/outdoor space is perched above the Gaslamp’s famed 5th Avenue and plays host to relaxed daytime and evening events featuring a signature bar and cocktail experience for poolside guests. We found it to be a relaxing haven in the late morning and early afternoon, with high energy vibes ramping up in the late afternoon.

The evening found us at Fifth & Rose. I was really excited to try some bubbles and bites at this chic cocktail bar. The setting stands out with a black and white palette, crimson details, white candles and fresh roses. The chef invited us to try offerings off of the new menu, including truffle flatbread (so delicious!), shrimp cocktail, caviar and a creme brulee cream puff. Maria, our server, was just the greatest. She shared the history of the hotel and the top shelf specialties offered only at The Pendry.

After reveling in the exceptional culinary offerings of the Pendry, we decided to head back out downtown, where several vendors were having a street fair and selling unique jewelry, crystals, clothing and organic honey. We found our way to The Sugar Factory, a 14,000 square foot famed American brasserie. A Willy Wonka wonderland for grown ups, offering spiked adult beverages made with premium spirits, including Sugar Factory's signature 36-ounce alcohol-infused smoking candy goblets. The environment is also really fun for kids as they have an entire menu of kid friendly confections. Among the favorites: the Lollipop Passion Goblet, the Cookie Monster Insane Milkshake and the King Kong Sundae (with 24 scoops of ice cream, a variety of candy, cookies, giant lollipops and sparklers on top). The entertainment factor in the Sugar Factory is also next level, much like one would find in Vegas.

When we returned to the Pendry, our room had been turned down, lights softened, and beautifully packaged French macarons placed on our pillows. The perfect sweet end to this marvelously sweet day.

The next day, bestie had to head home, and I left promptly for Cardiff State Beach. The Pendry offers a Cadillac ride and drive program and they also include Sector9 skateboard rentals in your nightly resort fee (in case I had wanted to check out either for my day at the beach). I always feel like such a Southern California girl when I am near the coast. Sunglasses, hats, comfy Roxy sandals and sundresses. That endless coastal breeze wafting through my hair. Driving Benzie down PCH with the sunroof open. My soul loves this place.

I think I rested for the first time in a year and a half when I got to Cardiff State Beach. At first, I played in the ocean. You know, a twirl or two or five. I stood in the waves letting them crash upon my legs, and it just felt so good. I breathed deeply in and out. I might have stood in the water for two hours, walking, playing, looking for seashells. I was feeling a deep joy and gratitude that I survived the toughest year, I boldly made a change that feels so aligned, and I am here living out a new way of being. I just wanted to feel that relief, gratitude and joy all day, and I did. I spent the remainder of the afternoon soaking up these good vibes, and people watching. I rested on my gigantic blue and white striped beach towel and just breathed deeply, listening to the waves and seagulls, falling in and out of sleep.

I can tell...I am getting ready to catch my wave.

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