On Location: W San Diego & The Westin Gaslamp


W San Diego’s rooftop lounge

The downtown Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego is a lively entertainment district that covers 16 walkable blocks of Victorian-era buildings, modern skyscrapers, entertainment venues and over 100 restaurants, nightclubs and retail shops. Located only 15 minutes from San Diego International Airport and San Diego Convention Center, the area is extremely convenient logistically. 

Within the Gaslamp, four different Starwood Hotels cater to every imaginable style of group program, from small board retreats to national conventions. On a recent trip, we explored the W San Diego and The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. Also check out our stories from the same trip on The Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina and The U.S. Grant.


The 258-room W San Diego completed a $5 million renovation in June last year, capturing the sensual and sophisticated features of the California Coast. The new design titled “Wild Coast” by Ted Jacobs, vp of design, is described as a San Diego fireside party. The look spreads to the newly renovated Living Room lobby bar, where pod chairs and semi-private couches were added. The space is draped in driftwood sculpture lights, warm draperies and blue coastal furniture.

“Living Room is a great spot to meet in San Diego,” says Laura Gray, director of sales/marketing. “The location is in the middle of the exciting Gaslamp Quarter and relaxed Little Italy. You can enjoy drinks here, then head out and explore.”

The new Kelvin restaurant serves Latin-influenced tapas with fresh, local ingredients. The restaurant walls open into the meeting space creating a multi-venue F&B experience.

“The venue splits perfectly, providing two different environments,” explains Gray. “You can chill in cool, hip Kelvin or the traditional meetings venue right across the way.” The area hosts 180 using the Kelvin patio as prefunction space.

Head upstairs to the new rooftop lounge filled with lights, bonfires and views of the city and San Diego Bay. Be sure to check out the flaming chair fire pit, the main focal point of the hotel. The deck features wood decking and red cabanas.

“We set the trends here in San Diego,” says Gray. “We are constantly coming up with different programs for our group events.” Programs include DJ Labs where groups can lay down a track with a professional DJ, record it and take it home on CD. Other programs include bartender battle classes, fashion events and art events involving the community.

Total meeting space is 2,800 sf.


Last year, The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter completed a $25 million renovation, adding floor-to-ceiling enhancements throughout the entire 450-room property. A major add-on was the chic Pinzimini lobby lounge, catering to groups on a more social scale. Pinzimini is natural meeting place for groups to catch a bite between sessions or mingle afterwards over cocktails at the translucent green glass bar.

The San Diego location is the first to include the fashionable lobby space, combining clean elements of nature with energizing textures, natural woods and stone.

“We’re really trying to focus on social interaction here,” says Keri Robinson, GM. “It’s such an important aspect to meetings. We also try to keep Westin’s trademark wellness experience that parallels with the vibe in San Diego.”

This vibe extends to The Haven, the new earthy check-in kiosk experience. The vertical garden scene is designed to balance the energy in the room, creating a calm and soothing welcome experience. And Westin’s signature white tea scent has been complemented with spa-like musical tones.

The recent renovation enhanced the 35,000 sf of meeting space, including the 5,900-sf San Diego Ballroom and adjoining outdoor Garden Terrace.

Later this year Westin will add The Tangent, a new quick-stop workspace concept. The offering will roll out in more than 40 hotels worldwide, adding a personalized workspace for mobile travelers. The barstool meeting space will be open to the community and available to rent by the hour.