Travel

The Best Summer Staycations In Southern California: Featuring Kona Kai Resort & Spa In San Diego

By LA Pulse Mag Team

“The Best Summer Staycations In Southern California” is a weekly series highlighting best local getaways in Southern California. Ditch the LAX traffic and explore the best hidden gems all within three hours of Los Angeles. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or aiming to explore new cities with your family or friends, each week we will be featuring our top picks of favorite staycations you should know about. What’s your pick for local getaways? Feel free to let us know yours in the comments.


Welcome to San Diego: The city of serene beaches, perfect weather, and laid back attitudes. Widely known as “America’s Finest City”, it’s a must-visit during summer time and no stay is complete in San Diego without a visit to the iconic Kona Kai Resort & Spa, a Noble House Resort. Nestled near Point Loma on Shelter Island, the luxury resort hotel offers spectacular views near Point Loma Hillside or San Diego Bay. Whether you’re looking for an incredible weekend getaway, a local family vacation or an epic girl’s trip, the casual luxury of Kona Kai will make sure your stay feels like a vacation worth remembering.

Photos courtesy of Kona Kai Resort & Spa.

Photos courtesy of Kona Kai Resort & Spa.

The Property 

Tucked away in San Diego’s historic Shelter Island, Kona Kai Resort & Spa, is an iconic property with island-inspired style. The resort features 41 new luxurious suites and recently-renovated guest rooms, along with the award-winning Spa Terre, Vessel Restaurant & Bar, two pools and a gorgeous private sand beach (one of the few in California). From the lush tropical gardens, to tall, swaying palm trees dotting the property and the relaxing bay and marina views, you’ll find yourself completely immersed in what feels like your own personal island retreat.

Personal Recommendation: What really set apart this hotel is the Vessel Restaurant! Executive Chef Roy incorporates local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients to create a menu filled with must-try items. Delicious food along with an incredible view is truly one of my favorite things in life and the Vessel’s 360 views of the marina along with the Seafood Poke and Lobster Quesadilla was definitely a highlight. Recently, the Vessel Restaurant received OpenTable’s “Diner’s Choice Award” so know that you’re in for a treat when you make a visit!

Note: Happy Hour is served daily from 2:00PM-5:30PM.

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The Amenities

The beautiful thing about this property is that it combines California-chic elegance with the comfort of home. From the reception desk to the valet, each person was kind and cheerful which set the tone for an incredible stay. I was lucky enough to stay in one of their Marina View Guest Room and boy, do I recommend that! Not only did I have a private patio with an incredible balcony view of the marina, but the space was so large and airy, it felt like a summer home. Kona Kai offers incredible amenities including: 

  • Resort Pool & Paloma Adult Pool

  • Beach & Pool Cabanas

  • The Kona Kai Beach 

  • The award-winning SpaTerra & Fitness Center

  • Action Water Sport Rentals 

  • Kona Kai Marina 

Personally, I would recommend pampering yourself with a special trip to the award-winning SpaTerra, the signature spa of Noble House Hotels & Resorts. The 7,020 square foot spa and fitness area includes their exclusive heated alpha-quartz sand bed, which provides physical and mental relaxation along with stimulating the metabolism. Another highlight includes the lineup of events, such as daily Fitness Classes including Yoga and Meditation, Live Music at Vessel Restaurant and Friday evening movie screenings at the pool! Check out the Events Calendar to see upcoming activities at the resort.

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Things To Do

Honestly, staying at Kona Kai is like staying at your own tropical island retreat! This is one of those special hotels where you don’t have to leave to have a relaxing staycation. Kona Kai literally has it all.

If you’re aiming to explore local San Diego flavor, the hotel offers beach cruisers to give resort guests a chance to enjoy the town while getting fresh air and exercise. The first hour is complementary and helmets and locks are provided with each bike. 

In addition to lounging poolside at the Paloma Adult Pool, which offers Tiki Bar service complete with spiked snow cones and comfy lounge chairs, you can also enjoy the private beach from the comfort of your own cabana. Beach and Pool Cabana rentals each come with a flat screen TV, Wi-Fi, bottled waters and comfortable seating up to eight guests. Be sure to make reservations in advance online.

During the afternoon, visitor can also enjoy water activities including paddle boarding, kayaking and jet-skiing. Be sure to visit the hotel’s Action Sports Rentals Desk to get all set.

There are also nightly bonfires that made the experience unique. What’s better than enjoying a beautiful sunset? Enjoying it with s’mores by a bonfire with friends and family. S’more kits are available for purchase throughout the resort. 

For an evening night-in, the resort offers Friday Night Flix, a weekly movie night featuring family-friendly flicks. Cozy blankets, fresh popcorn and juice included.

Should you decide to leave your beachside sanctuary, there are plenty of places to visit nearby including San Diego’s La Jolla Cova, and top family attractions such as San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.

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The Staff

Our experience at Kona Kai was defined by the amazing service we received from the moment we checked in to our dining experience and poolside service, everyone was incredibly kind and cheerful no matter what their position at Kona Kai. I’m not the only one who thinks so! As a  Conde Nast’s “Top Reader’s Choice”, Kona Kai is known for impeccable hospitality and a favorite destination to visit.

To book a night at Kona Kai, click here

Thank you to Kona Kai Spa & Resort for hosting me during my stay in San Diego. As always, the content and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.