San Diego = Good

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Meeting planners all know that every destination has its pros and cons,  The art of choosing a destination and venue that fits your group (and their particular hot buttons) is a process of weighing those pros and cons to determine what is most appropriate. I have been to San Diego many times, and after this most recent trip, once again have concluded… San Diego has a lot of pros and not many cons. Now that I am thinking about it… unless you want a snow skiing destination, not many cons at all (if any).

Part of my job is to gather information about “things” of interest to planners and post it in the Meeting Resource Library. If you are looking for ideas, check there first, and keep checking because it keeps growing.

Obviously, there are a zillion great “things” in Greater San Diego and I will keep adding to the Library over time, but rather than bore you with a ridiculously long list of possibilities, I will start with these four, all worth noting from my recent trip, and purposefully chosen to be unique Greater San Diego experiences…

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La Valencia, La Jolla, CA

This historic 114-room landmark boutique hotel, keeps getting better. The next major addition, the transformation of a circa 1905 on-property bungalow into a 3500 square-foot spa. Add that to its prime location on La Jolla’s Prospect Street, it’s fantastic ocean views over La Jolla Cove, beautiful gardens and a great pool, and 4,000 square feet of meeting space. Perfect for a board meeting or small incentive. My kind of place.

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Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado, CA

The Del is a synonym for iconic. Approaching its 130th anniversary (!) this 28-acre resort is located on what is arguably one of the best beaches in San Diego and offers 679 guestrooms, 78 oceanfront cottages and villas, 65,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space, and just about everything else. There is a reason it is an icon.

Many (many) group activities are available, including a sailing regatta (right from the property), surfing lessons, or, because they are iconic, anything else you want to create.



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The Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA

I have been to the Lodge a few times over the years, and my reaction this trip was the same… bummer, now I have to re-decorate again. Whether or not you are familiar with the unique turn-of-the-last century Craftsmen style, you will often find yourself saying ooh and ah as you walk around and examine the details. So for that alone, it’s a special place…

Add to that… it’s a 170-room AAA Five-Diamond resort & spa with 20k square feet of indoor and outdoor function space located on the Torrey Pines Golf Course just a few minutes drive from downtown La Jolla… and that is all good.

Couple of off-property ideas… the hotel owner also owns the Evans Garage filled with antique and vintage automobiles and a great place for an off-site event. Also consider private events at the local “Lions, Tigers and Bears Sanctuary” or take your group on a kayaking tour of the 7 Caves, or go snorkeling on a Leopard Shark Encounter… or a lot of other things. :)

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Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA

My most important take-away after visiting this 287-room resort located 29 miles northeast of the San Diego airport?  Every staff member we interacted with was super friendly and helpful… my compliments to the GM and the HR department. I will remember. :) Add in 80,000 square feet of meeting space, championship golf, a great Spa, beautiful gardens… and a whole bunch of other cool stuff and you should add it to your consideration set.

A zillion team building possibilities. One I liked (because I used to have this huge organic garden and now I live in a flat on Russian Hill in SF and miss having a garden and a dog) is when their chef takes your group out into his huge organic garden, helps your folks pick the freshest ingredients, and then take them back to create “something”… which can be a lot of different things depending upon the season, the size of your group and how much time you have.

So… an extremely tiny slice of what is available in San Diego. I will keep adding ideas to the Resource Library over time so keep checking it… not only for San Diego but for everywhere… and click on everything.

Also, if you are a qualified meeting planner and have not yet signed up for the 17th Annual All Things Meetings Silicon Valley Reception & Trade Show scheduled for Wednesday, July 25, 2018, 5:30-8pm at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, you should consider it as it will feature over 125 exhibitors plus food, wine and prizes. It will also be good. :)


Please enjoy some photos from my trip - Neil Cramer Photography


You an view more of Neil's photos at



Donna Cohen

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