Originally Posted by SDCAL
As someone who lives downtown, I couln't disagree with you more. Something like a JW Marriott or Mandarin Oriental would do fine with a bay view location after the embarcadero project is complete and that area becomes landscaped and visitor friendly. I encounter lots of international travelers downtown, and we seem to be headed in the right direction with the direct Japan airways flight in December. I'm not saying downtown San Diego should be a Mecca for super-luxury hotels, but to say one big high-end name can't make it on a prime bay-front location is selling dt sd short IMO. You mention Rancho Santa Fe, who the hell goes there for vacation? Isn't that primarily an exclusive residential enclave? I would see bay front downtown as a better prospect than rsf for a large luxury hotel.
The condo market downtown did sink pretty low and remains bleak for the mot part, but the one area that seems to have retained high values are the bay font luxury units like @ the grand at Santa Fe place towers. The price for prime waterfront condos downtown is comparable to luxury conos in major urban areas that support luxury hotels.
The current lane field plan calls for a Hilton garden inn and a Homewood Suites. I just stayed at a Hilton garden inn in the bay area on a business trip and it was a huge step down fom even Embassy Suites. To suggest these two low-grade business park type hotels are appropriate for some of the most expensive undeveloped waterfront real estate on the West Coast is absurd and an insult to this city.
Notice that everything you just said in your first paragraph (upgrades to downtown infrastructure, more international flights) are remedies to what I said needs to happen before we get anything more than another holiday inn. hahaha. So, nice try but you essentially proved my point. Downtown, currently, is not ready for the big time spenders.
And yes, Bosa's towers along the bayfront are expensive, and desirable places for second home buyers and retirees. But I don't see how that translates to a Ritz Carlton or a Mandarin Oriental being put up. The concept of "if you build it, they will come" cannot be applied to hoteliers, you need to have a viable attraction. And while San Diego has plenty of nice, middle income, and some nice high income locales, most of those either won't attract large swaths of high clientele (we have no times square, iconic structures, world famous "need to see before you die" places) or they aren't downtown (aka La Jolla, Coronado, beaches, RSF, RB, Torrey Pines). Why else do you think our most high end hoteliers are outside of downtown?
And I'm not selling the city short, I'm just looking at reality. Downtown San Diego is not a developed luxury market, and like I said, its going to need to see some key, fundamental changes to take place at the micro level before it can start attracting 5 star hotels, and big spending fat cats.
And keep in mind, we do quite well with the middle/upper middle market. It's done wonders for the economy, but don't be surprised when a Hilton is being built on the bayfront. Downtown isn't Manhattan, South Beach, or even La Jolla. It's nice, pleasant, pricey... but not 5 Star. That will take a decade or two more of maturity in the markets, and, again, changes to the dynamics of the area.