Since I am a night owl (or some would say, a Vampire:), I decided it would be better to drive down to San Diego late at night and go to Washington Dental, in Tijuana, early in the morning rather than to try to wake up early enough to drive from Los Angeles at dark thirty (i.e. 6:30am). So after making that decision with my fellow night owl friend who needed to go to replace a filling, I hunted for a hotel and offered a bid of $70 a night on Priceline for a four star, and I got the Manchester Grand Hyatt, right next to the convention center! The rooms normally go for about $200 a night, so even with the mandatory $24 self parking fee, this was a bargain.

Since we arrived around 3 am, no one was around to check us in until we called the main number and told them we were at the front desk, but during normal hours, the impressive lobby is full of conventioneers and vacationers.

If you get a room in the older tower, some of the furnishings still have not been renovated, but everything is clean and comfortable. They provide bathrobes, a small coffee maker, and there is even a mini fridge in the room that is empty so you can store your drinks or food.

Towels are soft and big enough to warrant the four star rating, and they even have toothpaste as one of the complimentary toiletries.

The rooms in the Seaport Tower are modernized with flat screen tv’s and updated decor, and views like this:

but I had a hard time sleeping with the noise from the train that kept going until 3 am, even from the 21st floor. I would opt for the older tower which faces Coronado Island. The views are equally spectacular; you can see Coronado Island on a clear day.

The rooftop bar also has incredible vistas, especially on clear nights when you can see the lights of Coronado twinkling like stars across the bay. For a large chain, the staff, from Tiffany at the front desk, to the security guard, were welcoming, friendly, and helpful. If not for Priceline, I might never have tried this Grand Dame of a corporate chain hotel, but like all good surprises, what is inside is better than the outside.