Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

With its European flair and impeccable service, The Westgate Hotel is a beloved San Diego institution. Custom built to recreate the Palace of Versailles, it’s filled with treasured antiques and gorgeous furnishings yet is so cozy and welcoming, it remains an integral part of the city’s landscape more than half a century later.

Best of all, the hotel boasts a variety of amenities King Louis XIV couldn’t even have imagined, like the AquaVie Fitness + Wellness Club – a members-only facility to which all guests are given complimentary access. This four-story urban retreat is so much more than a typical hotel gym. Not only does it feature a world class spa but it also offers spin classes on the rooftop terrace along with a Junior-Olympic-sized lap pool, state-of-the-art outdoor fitness equipment and panoramic views of the San Diego skyline.

It’s reason enough to stay at the Westgate for a few nights as a visitor or spend a relaxing day as a local, especially during the holiday season.

As a local myself, I recently treated my mom and daughter-in-law to a girls’ day out at the hotel and wondered why we hadn’t been doing this on a regular basis. We relaxed in our robes, snacking on fruit and trail mix and sipping soothing cups of tea, before our spa treatments – massages and facials that were top-notch – and, afterwards, we moved to the rooftop, where we stretched out on loungers in the beautiful San Diego sunshine. In November. My daughter-in-law took a dip in the pool and remarked more than once that, if she and my son lived here, they would absolutely become members of AquaVie. If that is what it will take to get them to move, I will gift them those memberships myself.

We could easily have spent the afternoon in those lounge chairs but I had booked us for the Westgate’s renowned Afternoon Tea so we showered and headed to the Grand Lobby, where we were warmly greeted and seated on inviting couches laden with fluffy pillows. We had a festive view of the ceiling-high Christmas tree and the harpist, who provided a lovely soundtrack to our tea.

For the next couple of hours, we feasted on tea sandwiches, scones and pastries. Our pots were refreshed as we people-watched and, let me assure you, the Grand Lobby is a fascinating place to do that. There were people dressed for a charity costume ball, a bride posing with her bridal party and a girl celebrating her quinceañera. There was a couple taking selfies on the impressive staircase and some cute little toddlers entertaining themselves and everyone else. All of this was taking place against a magnificent backdrop of French tapestries and crystal chandeliers. It was a magical afternoon.

You really don’t need a reason to spend the day – or night – at the Westgate but the hotel does have some special holiday events coming up that you should check out. There’s the adults-only Winter Wonderland Tea and the kid-friendly Santa’s Story Time Tea. You can even enjoy a 3-course Prix Fixe Christmas Dinner with your family and friends on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

To start 2023 off right, ring in the new year with a complimentary champagne toast at The Westgate Hotel’s Plaza Bar on New Year’s Eve, then head back for brunch and live music on New Year’s Day. Best of all, each guest will receive a complimentary day pass to the AquaVie Fitness + Wellness Club. You can make reservations starting tomorrow, December 1. And you should.

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