Del Mar Motel on the Beach offers the only beachfront accommodations in the affluent Del Mar neighborhood. The property sits perpendicular to one of San Diego’s most desirable stretches of beach. The motel’s beach cottage style beckons back to the mid-1940s when it was first built. Don’t expect a boutique hotel version of its former self – it is a true budget beach motel, so if you go in with the proper perspective, this place will provide the nostalgic summer vacation of your dreams. The motel was updated in 2002, but didn’t stray far from its original beach cottage charm. That said, the quaint 43-room Del Mar Motel caught the attention of USA Today in their 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, naming it among the “10 Best Budget Hotels” in San Diego. This motel will be best appreciated by families looking to create summer beach vacation memories, solo travelers with a beach life addiction, and couples looking for a low-key romantic getaway.
Rooms and SuitesGuests at Del Mar Motel can choose from five styles of rooms. Since the motel sits perpendicular to the beach, few rooms offer full ocean views. The king bed ocean view rooms accommodate two guests and are on the second floor, and two queen bed ocean view rooms accommodate four guests and are on the first floor. Most other king rooms, two queen rooms, and ADA accessible king rooms have at least partial ocean views with windows that slant toward the ocean.
Rooms are unfussy and spacious. Walls are light neutrals adorned with tropical artwork, dark carpets are monochromatic, white plantation shutters cover the windows, and ceiling fans whir overhead. Furnishings in the rooms are white cottage-style and include a combination dresser and entertainment center, bedside tables, table and chairs, and desk and chair. Beds are dressed in tropical patterns.
Room amenities include cable TV with HBO, air conditioning, ceiling fan, complimentary Wi-Fi, refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker with complimentary coffee, iron and board, hair dryer, and eco-friendly spa products.
A one-bedroom beach bungalow is next door and may be reserved for a more private experience. It has a king bed, electric fireplace, and a large, modern bathroom with a luxurious two-person jetted bathtub. There are two extra-long twin beds built into a corner of the living area, plus a sofa bed. It also features a contemporary kitchen with a center island, hardwood floors, high ceilings, and French doors leading to a furnished private patio with a gas barbecue grill and outdoor shower. The wide wraparound porch is draped in wisteria, and an adjacent private parking lot accommodates six cars. Guests are invited to use all the amenities available to Del Mar Motel guests including beach gear and the sundeck. (The bungalow is not on the beach.)
Note: Del Mar Motel rooms are undergoing another facelift as of 2015 – 2016. The motel purchased all new beds in 2015. Renovations include updated room décor, flat screen TVs, and renovated bathrooms. Some guests recommend getting a room as close to the west end of the motel as possible if you aren’t able to spring for an ocean-facing room. Street and train noises may disturb some guests at the east end of the motel.
The beachfront sun deck with Adirondack chairs and umbrellas is arguably one of the best amenities at Del Mar Motel on the Beach. A glass partition is all that separates you from the sand and a beautiful San Diego ocean sunset. There is also a comfortable large stone patio along the north side of the motel that has teakwood tables with umbrellas, picnic tables and benches, and barbecue grills – a good place to have a family barbecue or relax with your favorite beverages. Keep in mind that Del Mar Motel on the Beach is a smoke-free property.
Other motel amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property; complimentary beach gear (chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards, and beach toys), an outdoor beach shower, on-site pay laundry facilities, complimentary parking, free use of fax and copy machines, local phone calls, and cribs and rollaways.
Note: Free parking is an anomaly in San Diego, so complimentary parking is a valuable amenity. That said, the Del Mar Motel lot may not be able to accommodate all hotel guests during high season. There is street parking, as well as a municipal lot next door that is free for overnight. As everywhere in San Diego, parking can be a challenge.
Also, note that the City of Del Mar prohibits smoking and drinking on beaches.
There are a number of popular restaurants near the hotel, but one you won’t want to miss is Jake’s Del Mar, which is two doors down from the motel. They serve seafood, steak, wine, and killer views in a relaxed atmosphere with daily specials and buzzing happy hours. Sbicca is another Del Mar favorite. The New American bistro features California cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients and is a Gold Medallion Recipient for “Best Neighborhood Restaurant” from the California Restaurant Association – their wraparound outdoor patio is a bonus. If it’s swanky you’re looking for, Pacifica Del Mar was listed among “Best Waterfront Restaurants in San Diego” by Zagat. They serve seafood, steak, and pasta in a dramatic setting.
If you’re outdoorsy, walk south along the beach past Jake’s to Powerhouse and Seagrove beachfront parks, or take a nature hike through Torrey Pines State Park for panoramic views. You can also rent bikes and join the throngs of bikers crisscrossing Del Mar, or leap from a cliff on a tandem parasailing or hang-gliding adventure at Torrey Pines Gliderport. Torrey Pines Golf Course is the nearest public course if you’re itching to play a few rounds where PGA pros battle it out each January in the Farmer’s Invitational.
Two blocks up the hill behind Powerhouse Park is Del Mar Plaza, which has more than 30 shops and boutiques. You’ll find a wide variety of offerings such as fine jewelry, interesting home décor, artwork and collectibles, and trendy fashions. Be sure to also peruse the businesses all along this six-block shopping and dining hub of Del Mar. When you need a break, Pacifica Del Mar Breeze Café is located on the top floor of the Del Mar Plaza and provides one of the most affordable ocean-view dining experiences you’ll find in Old Del Mar.
The biggest attraction in Del Mar, of course, is the Del Mar Race Track opened by Bing Crosby in 1937, and where Sea Biscuit beat Ligaroti by a nose the next year, putting Del Mar on the map. Del Mar racing season begins in mid-July. In June, before racing season begins, summer kicks off with the Del Mar Fair; the three-week event draws over a million people every year. If you’re here in the fall, the Fairgrounds host Scream Zone on Halloween. Holiday of Lights is on display at the fairgrounds in December. The famous racetrack and popular fairgrounds are within walking distance of Del Mar Motel on the Beach.
Check the Del Mar Motel on the Beach website for current Manager Specials and Motel Packages. There is often a Romance Special for couples available on the site. Guests can also visit the website to apply for group rates; once confirmed, you’ll receive a group rate code for your group’s room reservations.