The Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel celebrates its grand opening

ATLANTA, GA (January, 2009) John Portman & Associates, Inc. (PORTMAN) is pleased to join Phelps Development, Portman Holdings, Joseph Wong Design Associates, and Hilton Hotels Corporation in announcing the grand opening of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel in San Diego, CA. Maximizing waterfront views to create a memorable experience, the city’s newest convention hotel will play a prominent role in attracting additional tourism, large meetings and conventions to San Diego.

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel consists of 1190 rooms, including 30 luxury suites and a secured access Executive level. It offers 165,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including 6,500 square feet of pre-function space, a 34,000-square foot grand ballroom, a 24,000-square foot junior ballroom and 32 additional meeting rooms. Recreational facilities include “Spa Aquazul,” a swimming pool, and a health club. The complex is connected to a 2,000 space parking structure, also designed by John Portman & Associates, that serves hotel guests as well as Petco Park and the San Diego Convention Center.

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel sits on a former shipyard, and the overall design highlights the hotel’s relationship to the water. The site includes a 4.3 acre public park that is controlled by the hotel. The park lawn space is intentionally kept open, allowing flexibility for special events, informal gatherings, and viewing of the bay. Two million dollars of public art is housed in the hotel and on the grounds. “Wind Palms” by Ned Khan consists of seven large stainless steel sculptures within the park that embody the area as they are manipulated by wind and light. “Reverie” by Nance O’Banion includes twenty-six art benches placed throughout the park.

The great expanse of the waterfront park flows into the hotel at its base and terraces up to the hotel entrance and into all of the major public spaces of the hotel. This provides a waterfront experience far different from any of the other hotels in the city, one in which both the San Diego citizen or the hotel guest will immediately feel welcome and relaxed.

Surprisingly intimate for a convention hotel, a unique experience begins for the visitor at the hotel’s entrance when they encounter the porte cochere. The cantilevered trellis draws guests up the entry ramp terminating in stunning bay views upon arrival. The elevation of the entrance also emphasizes the hotel’s surroundings. Inside, the lobby core is a feature point of the hotel and becomes the gathering spot where guests can easily access the registration desk, lounges and meeting spaces. Back-lighting along the lobby core illuminates abstract images “Light Flight Blue” and “Light Flight Gold” by artist Norie Sato. Viento de Mar, or “Wind of the Sea” by John Portman, is an original suspended sculpture that gives an impression of movement with varying light patterns to further create a dynamic yet intimate atmosphere in the lobby. The hotel highlights its environment by orienting all public spaces to the water. Guestrooms and meeting rooms alike enjoy spectacular Bay and city views. The colors selected for the interior also reflect the hotel’s setting.

In addition to its distinctive design elements, the hotel features “Vela,” the hotel’s signature restaurant serving “global coastal” cuisine while offering impressive views of the San Diego Bay. “Odysea, A Liquid Adventure,” a cocktail bar located by the Bay, offers a unique selection of refreshments. Sports fans can also look forward to the addition of “Fox Sports Grill,” due to open in March of 2009.