The sprawling Best Western Plus Palms Hotel & Marina takes up the entire middle third of Shelter Island. The hotel offers three distinctly different accommodations: Island Palms, Casa Del Mar, and Casa Marina. All three buildings are part of Island Palms Hotel & Marina, but as the hotel expanded, it retained the charm of previous accommodations and added new styles with each expansion. The hotel is secluded enough on this tiny island to appeal to romantics, but families will enjoy the amenities-packed resort hotel too with two pools and convenient access to local attractions. Boating, sailing, and yachting enthusiasts will, of course, appreciate the private marina and rooms with marina and bay views.
Rooms and SuitesIsland Palms rooms and suites are the hotel’s original accommodations. They have an island feel expressed through imported furnishings, a neutral color palette of greys and golds, white plank and beam ceilings, and white plantation shutters. Guests can choose from traditional non-view or marina view rooms with either one King or two Queen beds. Island Palm suites have either one King or two Queen beds too, but they also have a Queen sofa sleeper in a separate living room, a full kitchen, a private patio or balcony, and water views.
Casa Del Mar rooms and suites have a Mediterranean ambiance. This large central building on the property has 310-square-foot water view guest rooms, 450-square-foot junior suites, 600-square-foot one-bedroom suites, and a 1000-square-foot two-story villa. Guest rooms have a King bed and water view. Junior suites have either a King bed and Queen sofa sleeper or two Queen beds, wet bar, and dining table for four. One-bedroom suites have one King bed, a Queen sofa sleeper in the separate living area, two full bathrooms, and a marina view. The two-story villa has two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a Queen sofa sleeper in the living area, a full kitchen, and marina views.
Casa Marina guest rooms have a coastal contemporary flair and come in two options – with or without a view. Rooms have two Queen beds, but water view rooms also have the option of one King bed and a Queen sofa sleeper. These are the newest rooms on the property and feature Hilton Garden Sleep System beds, Herman Miller ergonomic chairs, and multiple input jacks on the desks.
Standard room and suite amenities in all accommodations include 42” flat-screen TV with free HBO, complimentary Wi-Fi, coffee/tea makers, iron and board, hair dryer, work desk with chair, microwave, refrigerator, in-room safe, and complimentary 800 and local calls. All rooms and suites are also ADA accessible. Island Palms suites and the villa in Casa del Mar have full kitchens. Island Palms suites and all rooms and suites in Casa del Mar and Casa Marina have either patios or balconies.
Room Tip: If you have a choice between bay and marina views, the marina views are prettier and more intimate; bay views look across the parking lot, street, and park to the bay. Marina view rooms are also quieter. Casa Marina rooms are the newest on the property, but rooms in Casa del Mar also share a private pool, spa, and patio fireplace on the marina side of the building. Island Palms rooms and suites are the oldest, but are closest to the main hotel amenities.
Best Western Plus Island Palms has a variety of resort-style amenities to spice up your vacation. There are two pools with spas, one located at the Island Palms end of the property, and the other behind Casa del Mar facing the marina; that one includes a poolside fireplace. Lighted tennis courts are at the Casa Marina end of the property; complimentary raquet rentals are provided. Complimentary bike rentals are also available for exploring Shelter Island and Point Loma.
Blue Wave Bar & Grill is the hotel’s casual fine dining restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with amazing views of the marina, Point Loma, and the hotel’s tropical resort-style pool. The menu features California coastal cuisine created by Executive Chef, Christopher Spayde. Enjoy selections from their complete wine list, handcrafted cocktails, or craft beers with your meal. The restaurant is open from early morning until into the evening, including room service. Pre-dinner happy hour is available daily.
The Best Western Plus Island Palms private marina is a convenient amenity for guests who arrive from out of town by sea. Shelter Island Marina is the closest yacht access to the Pacific Ocean in San Diego. Several marina amenities like slips from 20 to 200 feet; water, electric, phone, and cable TV hookups; Wi-Fi; dock carts; nearby marine suppliers and services; dockside room service, and discounted hotel accommodations are available. Hotel guests will also find sport fishing and scuba diving excursions; and speedboat, sailboat, and yacht tours on Shelter Island.
Other hotel amenities include an onsite fitness center, sailing excursions, massage therapy services, customized trip planning, and 24-hour front desk services. Complimentary daily newspapers, free Wi-Fi throughout, an onsite gift shop, dry cleaning service and laundry facilities, banquet and meeting space, express check-in/check-out, and a waterfront walking path are also available to guests.
Tip: There is a $10 per night parking fee at the hotel. It’s pretty reasonable for San Diego parking, but there is also a free lot at the park across the street from the hotel that allows overnight parking. Of course, the hotel will not be responsible for your car if you choose to park across the street.
Shelter Island juts out into beautiful San Diego Bay from the peninsular neighborhood of Point Loma. Shorline Park is across the street from the hotel and runs the length of the island. There is a large children’s playground in the park almost across from the tennis courts. Also in the park, across from Casa del Mar is the Shelter Island Pier where you can do a little fishing or stop in Fathom Bistro, Bait, & Tackle, San Diego’s only tap house over the water.
If you follow the walking path in the park to the farthest southern end, you’ll find the historic Yokohama Friendship Bell and “The Girl in the Red Shoes” statue, both gifts from San Diego’s sister city Yokohama, Japan, representing eternal friendship. The bell is rung on New Year’s Eve and for other special occasions.
Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay is within walking distance in the opposite direction. The 1,400-seat outdoor concert venue draws big name musical and comedic entertainment and is popular with locals. Most events sell out quickly. You can check their website for the current season’s schedule.
Bali Hai restaurant is at the northern end of Shelter Island. The reasonably-priced restaurant serves Polynesian cuisine. You can walk, drive, boat, or sail to the restaurant; they have a dock available for diners who visit by water. Check out the Sunday morning champagne brunch, if you happen to be on the island over a weekend. Bali Hai also has a great happy hour (try the mai tais!) and spectacular San Diego Bay views.
Going off island, Point Loma is an affluent neighborhood with plenty to offer. Historic Liberty Station, a lively revitalized neighborhood within the neighborhood, is on the north end of Point Loma. Cabrillo National Monument, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, and Point Loma tide pools are on its southern tip. The Pacific side of the peninsula features the dramatic sandstone cliffs of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, excellent surfing, and a more laidback ambiance. San Diego International Airport and Downtown San Diego are also minutes away.
Best Western Plus Island Palms often has an Escape Package available that includes free breakfast for two, 20% off lunch and dinner at Blue Wave Bar & Grill, two welcome beverages, and complimentary parking for one car. Check the website for this and other special promotions.