Our Stay at Kings Inn San Diego

We recently went on an overnight trip to San Diego. Summer was about halfway over and we hadn’t been on a good road trip in about two years (Thanks Covid!). I was feeling kind of restless, so I decided that we needed to get away.

It was the middle of July and anywhere inland was hot, so we decided to stay coastal. Since we’re planning a full on road trip in Northern California for next month (if Covid numbers stay relatively low), we decided to go south.

We ended up at Kings Inn San Diego.

The plan was to drive down to San Diego in the morning, spend the afternoon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to see the historic buildings, then spend the night in a reasonably priced hotel. Then we’d spend the next day down at the Embarcadero or somewhere else near the bay and drive home after the evening rush hour. Daniel came down with a cold while we were there, so we went home instead of sight seeing on the second day, but we still spent the night at Kings Inn. Thankfully his cold was just a cold, and not Covid, and he was feeling much better after the stuffy nose went away a couple of days after we got home.

The Location

Kings Inn is located in Mission Valley on Hotel Circle Drive right off Highway 8, just east of Interstate 5. It is close to most of San Diego’s best attractions, including Sea World, Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, and Old Town.

Map of San Diego with Kings Inn
Map courtesy Kings Inn San Diego

Kings Inn San Diego is very easy to find. Just look for the big purple sign with the crown on it. It’s hard to miss, and you can even see it from the freeway.

Large sign in front of the Kings Inn in San Diego, California. It is purple and shaped like a crown at the top.

The Hotel

Kings Inn San Diego is a budget hotel that was built as a Motor Inn in the 1950s. It is privately owned, so it’s not a chain. The owners have recently remodeled it with an updated and modern version of the wildly popular Mid Century Modern style. The hotel has aqua colors throughout the rooms and lush, tropical landscaping that make it seem like you are in a tropical oasis instead of in the middle of one of America’s largest cities.

Kings Inn San Diego exterior

The lobby is decorated with a modern, coastal vibe. It sports the original rock wall and dark wood staircase from the 1950s which have been accented with white walls with wave-like textures. The furniture includes wood tables and blue sofas that would fit in on the set of Mad Men and look very comfortable. Add some ocean accents like sea shells, pillows with surf motifs, and hanging lamps reminicent of the 1960s, and you’ve got the makings for a very modern and very cool take on the Mid Century Modern style of decorating.

Kings Inn San Diego hotel lobby

The lobby also has a small snack shop and the front desk. In the age of Covid, the Kings Inn has installed plexiglass barriers on the counters and there is a sign on the front door stating that the lobby is only open for checking in and checking out.  You can also go in to take care of other business like getting beach towels or assitance from the hotel staff.  But you can’t hang out in the lobby until Covid is more under control.

Glowing Hotel Parking sign

The Kings Inn also has other amenities. They offer free wifi and local calls, and there is a gym and a laundry room on the first floor. Parking is free, and there is plenty of it. However, if you get back to the hotel later in the evening like we did you might not be able to find parking close to your room.  We ended up having to park on the opposite side of the hotel near the lobby. It wasn’t a very far walk, but it wasn’t the super close spot we had when we left earlier in the evening.

The Room

Kings Inn San Diego hotel room with two queen size beds

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the room as the Kings Inn San Diego, although the lobby should have given me a clue. We were in a Poolside Deluxe Room with Two Beds.  The two beds were queen size beds with a night stand between them. The beds and the pillows were comfortable and I was able to get a good night’s sleep. The room really was poolside too. It was just a few steps from our room door to the pool gate. Daniel loved being so close to the pool.

Kings Inn San Diego Media Dresser and Sitting Area

Across from the beds was a “media dresser.”  It is a dresser with two good-sized drawers and a cute retro mini fridge. It had a flat screen tv on top. Next to the dresser was a small table with two chairs and a cute retro-looking lamp.

Kings Inn San Diego Bathroom
Kings Inn San Diego hotel sink area

The bathroom consisted of a small dressing area that did not have a door separating it from the main room and a tiny bathroom with a toilet and a shower, which did have a door.

Kings Inn San Diego Bathroom


Kings Inn San Diego Bathroom

The tub and toilet were clean, the water pressure was strong, and there was enough hot water for all of us to take a shower.

The Pool

Kings Inn San Diego has a very nice pool area. It is in the middle of the hotel and is landscaped nicely with tropical plants. The pool is shaped like a jelly bean and has plenty of chairs and tables for sitting and sunbathing.  If you need a pool towel they are available at the front desk.

Kings Inn San Diego hotel pool at night

Daniel had fun swimming in the pool. The temperature was very nice for swimming.  They had a collection of pool noodles and toys for kids to use while swimming there. I thought it was a nice touch since many people don’t bring pool toys with them on vacation.

Kings Inn San Diego Pool

One thing I really liked about the pool is that there are two ADA chair lifts to help disabled guests in and out of the pool and jacuzzi.  There is one lift for the pool and a second one for the jacuzzi. I thought that this was a great way to ensure that disabled people can use the pool without having to struggle to get in or out.

Hotel poolside patio

Next to the pool is a very nice sitting area. It is decorated in a tiki bar theme and is a great place to eat outside or socialize with some drinks on a nice afternoon or evening.  The sitting area was full of people talking and having fun on the night we stayed at the hote. It looked like they were having a lot of fun.


The Restaurants

Kings Inn San Diego has not one, but two restaurants. They are both themed and are a convenient way to eat well while staying at the hotel, especially if you don’t have a car to drive off property.

Waffle Spot coffee cup Kings Inn San Diego

The Waffle Spot is the place to go for breakfast. They are open in the morning and early afternoon and serve breakfast and lunch. Their specialty is waffles, which are very good. The prices are reasonable, comparable to other sit-down restaurants. We ate at the Waffle Spot, and we really enjoyed it. The decor is whimsical with murals of their breakfast-themed characters and coloring pages colored by children who have eaten at the restaurant on the walls. The upholstery is pink and purple, which adds to the ambiance and charm of the restaurant.

The second restaurant at Kings Inn San Diego is The Amigo Spot, which is open for dinner.  They serve Mexican food, which is as reasonably-priced as the food at the Waffle Spot.

Skeleton statue at The Amigo Spot Kings Inn San Diego

The decor at The Amigo Spot is not as whimsical as the Waffle Spot, but it is nicely decorated with colorful furniture and decorations, and even a fun Day of the Dead sugar skull type statue.

Restaurant check in sign at Kings Inn San Diego

With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging, the Kings Inn San Diego has some protocols in place to keep everyone safe at their restaurants. Usually, you will enter the restaurants through the hotel’s lobby. If people have to wait for thier table, they would wait in the lobby. There are now signs pointing guests to the new restaurant check-in location.

Check-in area for Waffle Spot and Amigo Spot restaurants at Kings Inn San Diego

Now, the check-in area is through the door to The Amigo Spot, which is located behind the lobby on the east side of the hotel. People check in with the hostess who will seat them if there is an available table. If there isn’t a table ready, the guests will be placed in a virtual queue and asked to wait outside. When their table is ready the hostess will send them a text message that they can come and be seated inside the restaurant. This could change as Covid numbers and case rates change, so be sure to check with Kings Inn San Diego for current policies.

Outside check-in area for Kings Inn San Diego restaurants
Kings Inn San Diego restaurant Covid policies posted on the door

The restaurants’ current Covid policies and operating hours are posted on and around the door. They also have hand sanitizer there so guests can easily clean their hands on their way into the restaurant.


Why We Like Kings Inn San Diego

We really enjoyed our stay at Kings Inn San Diego. We loved the retro vibe that was also modern. The modern take on Mid Century Modern decor was a welcome change from the generic hotels we have stayed at previously.

The room was nicely decorated and clean. The retro-looking mini fridge was a nice touch. We loved that the room had central air instead of a window a/c unit. The room was a tad on the small side, but was a good size for a short stay; especially since the beds were so comfortable. We loved that our room was right next to the pool and that there was plenty of free parking near our room.

Daniel had a great time swimming in the pool and was so happy to have pool toys to play with. I was glad there were pool noodles there to help Daniel stay afloat. It made helping him swim much easier on me.

The restaurants had good, reasonable-priced food and the staff was friendly and helpful. The temporary Covid entrance was a bit confusing at first, but I liked the virtual queue that allowed us to wait outside and socially distance ourselves from the other groups waiting.

Overall, the Kings Inn San Diego is a great budget hotel. Room rates are not super high, and with the fun atmosphere and good restaurants, it is a good value. We definitely got our money’s worth from this hotel stay. I can’t wait to stay there again.

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Kings Inn San Diego Collage

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