Rancho Bernardo Inn = Luxury from the ’70s

March 3, 2011

When I helped to boot up our California practice several years ago, I spent a huge amount of time flying back and forth from San Diego.  I’ve probably been to the city 20 times over the years if you count all of the conferences.  My favorite place to stay is the Estancia in La Jolla (just north of San Diego).  I’ve stayed at some of the crappy hotels on hotel circle and some of the new conference behemoths in the city as well.

I am here for a conference called Hotel Technology Next Generation.  Last time I gave a keynote for the HTNG guys it was in Lausanne, Switzerland and I swear that the suite I got at the Beau-Rivage Palace was in a James Bond movie.  Anyway, I was wondering how they would top that one.  The hotel guys like to roll out the red carpet for each other, so doing a keynote for them can be a good thing indeed.

The answer is to change the scale orthogonally.  I had high hopes for the Rancho Bernardo Inn, but I must admit some amount of disappointment, especially with the bathrooms.  Maybe it’s that I think golf is a massive waste of both time and way too much of planet earth’s surface?

To show you what I mean by luxury from the ’70s, here is a picture of the bathroom. You can see the “Speaker Boehner” memorial tanning light in the ceiling. As if tanning with UV lightbulb rays directly is a good idea?! Orange was big in the ’70s I guess.  The furniture in the room has that ’70s feel to it as well.

I have two copies of the exact same bathroom design in my suite since the sitting room has one copy of its own. The post-it note stuck to the mirror says “Everything looks better after a trip to the Spa”…that would be wishful thinking. In any case, I am happy to report that the water pressure in the shower goes all the way to firehose level. I think I lost an ear in the shower this morning. Invigorating. And quite possibly dangerous.

I do have a very spacious suite with a sitting room and a huge, nicely appointed bed. Here are some pictures.  The property itself is very pretty and feels like Disney.  (You may recall how I feel about Disney.)

I was very pleased to have a couple of bottles of wine and a cheese plate arrive shortly after I did. I’m not sure whose idea they were, the HTNG guys or the hotel management, but I do appreciate the sentiment. They were a perfect snack in lieu of yet another meal on the east–>west run.

In the end the Rancho Berrnardo squeeks by with a three showerhead rating. The Estancia continues to be my top San Diego pick.

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