One of the best things about points and miles is the ability to travel without having to put too much thought into how much it will cost. Recently, I helped organize a meet-up of travel-hacking women. We all knew of each other through Instagram, but few of us had ever met in person.
We agreed on San Diego as our destination and decided to stay at Andaz San Diego. We chose this hotel because there was a promotion at the time offering 2 elite night credits per night. Since many of us were chasing Hyatt status and had Hyatt free night certificates to use, it seemed like a great choice.
I was able to book flights from Columbus, Ohio to San Diego, California on Southwest using Rapid Rewards points, and I booked the Andaz San Diego using World of Hyatt points (scroll down for details), allowing me to enjoy a weekend away (with a bunch of internet strangers!) for a grand total of $11.20 out of pocket!
In this review, I’ll give you a detailed look at Andaz San Diego, including its location, amenities, dining options, and more.
Located in San Diego’s Gaslamp District, Andaz San Diego is a contemporary boutique hotel in a historic 1913 building. Just 1 mile from the San Diego Convention Center, this hotel is convenient to many of San Diego’s top attractions, including Petco Park and Seaport Village.
I flew into San Diego International Airport (SAN) and took a 15-minute Uber ride to the hotel. Thankfully, I had Uber Cash from The Platinum Card® from American Express. Since I was traveling in December, I had a monthly credit of $35 to use instead of the usual monthly credit of $15, so I didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket for my ride.
Hot Tip: The American Express® Gold Card also offers Uber Cash as a benefit and it can be combined in your Uber account with credits from your Amex Platinum card.
As I mentioned earlier, I booked 3 nights at Andaz San Diego using World of Hyatt points. This Category 4 hotel only costs 15,000 points per night (standard). The cash cost when I booked was $291 (including taxes) per night, giving me 1.9 cents per point in value. We value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, so this was a solid redemption. You can definitely get higher values from Hyatt points, but I had the points in my account and that seemed like a better option than shelling out over $800, so I opted to use my points.
This would be a great place to use the Hyatt Category 1-4 free night certificate that comes with The World of Hyatt Credit Card. I used mine earlier this year at Andaz Savannah, so I didn’t have one available (ironically, my new certificate showed up in my account right after this stay).
If you’ve got free night certificates and can’t find availability at Andaz San Diego or would prefer a larger property, there’s another option close by — Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.
Bottom Line: Andaz San Diego is a Category 4 Hyatt property that costs 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night for a standard award redemption. You can also use a Hyatt Category 1-4 free night certificate at this location.
Elite Benefits and Check-in
My check-in experience was fine but wasn’t overly warm or welcoming. My low-level Discoverist status was mentioned, but I wasn’t offered any upgrades or additional amenities. Additionally, the person who checked me in was going to charge me for the destination fee (more on this later) until I mentioned that it should be waived on award bookings.
The lobby at the Andaz San Diego has an artsy, city-chic vibe with lots of fun artwork and bold colors.
The lobby was also home to 2 friendly giraffe friends who were dressed up for the holiday season. Perfect for an Instagram moment, they even have their own hashtag — #andazgiraffe.
Hot Tip: For a better chance at scoring a room upgrade, you’ll want to earn World of Hyatt elite status. Discoverist status comes automatically with the World of Hyatt card. If you’ve got your sights set high, aim for Globalist status, which comes with great perks like free breakfast and upgrades. While staying at Hyatt hotels helps, you can earn Globalist status just through credit card spending.
Andaz San Diego charges a “Destination Fee” of $30 plus tax per night. Basically, this is a resort fee with a different name since this hotel isn’t a resort. However, you can avoid this fee by booking with points.
Here’s what’s included in the destination fee:
- $10 daily food and beverage credit for The Rooftop by STK or in-room dining
- Nightly wine and beer tasting
- Guest package delivery
- Computer usage
- Sanitizer kit (hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes)
- Hotel-branded tote bag
- A round of sparkling wine at STK Steakhouse with a dinner reservation
- $25 off of $50 at Maceoo (a men’s shirt store next to the hotel)
- A day pass to a private boxing club
- 15% discount at Saffron and Sage Services, a local day spa
- 1-hour kayak or paddleboard rental with Seaforth Boat Rentals
- 10% discount on activities from Old Town Trolley
Bottom Line: The bad news is that Andaz San Diego charges a daily $30 destination fee. The good news is that this fee is waived on award bookings!
For being a relatively small hotel, the fitness center at Andaz San Diego is pretty big. Located on the rooftop level, this bright and airy gym featured elliptical machines, treadmills, a stationary bike, free weights, and a weight machine.
Complimentary Happy Hour Tastings
Each evening you could stop by the lobby for a taste of wine from Fallbrook Vineyard or craft beer from Rough Draft Brewery. Selections rotate seasonally.
Located on the rooftop level right next to a bar and restaurant, the heated pool featured plenty of lounge chairs and a great city view.
There were few covered private cabanas available. To secure one of these cabanas, you either need to book the Cabana Suite or commit to a food and beverage minimum spend. The minimum spend changes seasonally and can be as high as $750.
Complimentary Snacks and Water
During my stay, Andaz San Diego offered guests complimentary bottled water and snacks. That’s the great news. The not-so-great news is that they didn’t do a good job of letting guests know about this perk. I only discovered this halfway through my stay when a few of us were waiting in the lobby for some other friends and the front desk attendant offered us water, cookies, and bagged trail mix.
Andaz San Diego is a pet-friendly hotel. For a fee of $75, you can bring a dog up to 50 pounds or 2 dogs with a combined weight of 75 pounds to stay in your room. The hotel provides pet beds and water bowls upon request, and there are even dog treats available in the lobby.
During my stay, room service was available Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Unfortunately, this information wasn’t communicated to me at check-in and there wasn’t any information about it in my room, so I couldn’t try it out.
Hot Tip: If you’re bringing the whole family, check out these fun things to do in San Diego with kids.
I booked a 1 Queen Bed room for 15,000 points a night. This 315-square-foot room was modern and comfortable.
By the door was a closet with iron and a free tote bag (a reusable grocery bag) to take home.
There was also a minifridge, safe, and Keurig coffee machine.
Across from the entrance, next to the windows, was a nice work desk that had plenty of light and plugs to keep all of your devices charged.
The bed was piled high with thick pillows and offered a restful night’s sleep.
There was only 1 nightstand by the bed, which was fine for this trip since I was by myself, but if you were traveling as a couple, it could be inconvenient. There weren’t any plugs by the nightstand either, so you couldn’t charge your devices by the bed.
The bathroom was really cool — not huge, but it was gorgeous. The floor-to-ceiling dark grey tiles made it feel modern and luxurious, while the glass vanity and stainless steel exposed sink gave it an industrial feel.
By the sink, there were plenty of towels, a hairdryer, and a make-up mirror. There was also a wellness kit with hand sanitizer and alcohol sanitizing wipes.
One of the things I look for the most in a hotel room is a good shower, and this one did not disappoint. The large stand-up shower featured Jonathan Adler bath products in large pump bottles.
The only thing I really didn’t like about my room was the window/view situation. There were nice floor-to-ceiling windows, but unfortunately, they just looked out onto other rooms.
There were sheer curtains and blackout curtains, so if you wanted any privacy you had to use the blackout curtains. Even with the curtains open, there was very little natural light, so the room had a cave-like feeling.
In addition, this area looked down onto an open-air private dining room that’s part of one of the restaurants. There was music and lots of crowd noise that carried all the way up to my room on the fifth floor on Friday and Saturday night.
Food and Beverage
The Rooftop by STK
The Rooftop by STK, located on the rooftop at Andaz San Diego, serves up breakfast/brunch, lunch/dinner, and specialty cocktails, along with incredible views in one of the area’s largest rooftops. In times when the weather is less than ideal, the retractable roof and walls are put in place.
I really enjoyed eating breakfast there each morning. The food for our group never seemed to come out at the same time, but it was delicious. My favorite item was the breakfast sandwich with an over-easy egg, cheese, and bacon served on a pretzel croissant.
STK Steakhouse, located on the lobby level at Andaz San Diego, serves steak and signature sides for happy hour and dinner daily. In addition, brunch is served on the weekends.
As I start to travel more again, I’ve seen many hotels still holding out on reinstating daily housekeeping. As someone who prefers hotels over vacation rentals, it’s something I really miss. Coming back to a made bed and fresh towels is a luxury we used to expect at hotels, but unfortunately, it’s becoming harder to find this perk.
Housekeeping is offered at Andaz San Diego after 3 nights, however several of the people I was traveling with reported the ability to request it upon check-in. I wasn’t offered the option, so I didn’t get any housekeeping services during my 3-night stay.
When I ran out of coffee for the in-room Keurig, I called the front desk to get some more and it was promptly delivered to my room within 10 minutes.
The COVID-19 protocols at the Andaz San Diego included some signage and a few hand sanitizer stations. Daily housekeeping had been suspended as well.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay at Andaz San Diego, although, if I were to stay again, I would call ahead to make sure I could get a room that wasn’t on the interior of the building.
If you’re planning to explore San Diego, and especially if you’ve got a Hyatt free night certificate, this hotel would be a great choice.