What’s Up San Diego?

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Andaz San Diego Ivy Rooftop
Andaz San Diego Ivy Rooftop

Andaz San Diego debuted a $1 million transformation of RoofTop600 last year and a soft decor/furnishings ravamp in early 2014, turning what was once a multi-level nightclub into a venue for meetings and events.

The hotel used local designer DAS, which suffused blue and green hues throughout the hotel that represent the nearby Pacific Ocean. Coffee tables and end tables were produced from recycled wood products. A retractable roof allows groups to use the venue when it’s raining. Despite the new furniture, lighting concepts and seating arrangements, the venue still has its signature fire pit that provides a cozy feel to the space.

Being a part of the neighborhood is another part of the Andaz brand, says Rusty Middleton, the property’s general manager, which is why the hotel features its own series of Andaz Salons, or public events that showcase local artists, musicians, chefs and designers, which can also be arranged for groups. Past events include a panel discussion of local DJs, partnering with local chefs and a sake and sushi rolling event.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have a chef on our team who really embraces what he does in the culinary world,” says Middleton, who once planned a special group Top Chef-type event.

In December, the all-outdoor Altitude Sky Lounge at the 306-room San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter, the West Coast’s highest rooftop lounge, expanded to include a new indoor area called City Sights. Cocktail receptions and full-course dinners can be found at the Altitude Sky Lounge with views of Coronado Bridge, downtown and distant beaches.

“I think the fact that it’s so multipurpose and the views offer something unlike other meeting rooms on a traditional meeting level where you’re surrounded by four walls make it standout,” says Jim Durbin, general manager at the property.

In late 2013, the 210-room Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa introduced a mixology boot camp that places groups behind the bar in the hotel’s 31,374 sf of space. The class introduces attendees to San Diego’s local culinary scene by teaching groups how to shake cocktails, cut fruit for garnishes and then, if they’re advanced enough, compete in a contest. Some of the local craft beers serve as ingredients in the mixology class.

Sister property of The Meritage in Napa, the Estancia also has an on-site wine tasting room, featuring wine from the hotel brand’s Napa winery. Similar blind wine tasting and sensory wine tasting programs are available at the property for up to 60 guests.

A $4.8 million revamp of the hotel’s pool, spa and guest rooms that incorporates natural stones, classic carriage lanterns and a gold and navy color palette kicked off in early January.

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