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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - AN­DREW CON­WAY

THEnewki­don­the block is Ho­tel Palo­mar San Diego, a con­tem­po­rary bou­tique ho­tel next to the his­toric Gaslamp Quar­ter in the heart of down­town. Arein­car­na­tion of the former Se Ho­tel, the Palo­mar has a funky ur­ban twist with an in­trigu­ing Art in Mo­tion theme, show­cas­ing a con­tin­u­ously chang­ing gallery.

The cool, min­i­mal­ist lobby is the so­cial hub, the venue for com­pli­men­tary morn­ing cof­fee and evening wine hours. The sig­na­ture restau­rant, Salt­box, is a gas­tro-lounge cater­ing to a young, up­wardly mo­bile crowd. Apool deck and bar of­fers day-to-night re­lax­ation and the Se Spa has a calm­ing Asian aes­thetic.

There are 183 gue­strooms, in­clud­ing 17 sky­line suites, all with Frette bed linen, iPod/ MP3­player dock­ing sta­tions and Wi-Fi. Most of the rooms fea­ture bal­conies. From $US165. More: hotel­palo­mar-sandiego.com. Best craft beer: San Diego has be­come the craft beer cap­i­tal of Amer­ica in re­cent years and boasts sev­eral award-win­ning brew­eries and brew-pubs. Hamil­tons Tav­ern in South Park is the old­est beer es­tab­lish­ment in the city, serv­ing an out­stand­ing se­lec­tion of real ales and craft beers for more than 75 years. More: hamil­ton­stav­ern.com. Best sports ac­tion: Be sure to take in a base­ball game at Petco Park, home to the beloved Padres, who carry the weight of the city’s pride (and ex­pec­ta­tions) each sea­son. If you’re not in town dur­ing the Ma­jor League Base­ball sea­son, which typ­i­cally runs from April to Oc­to­ber, a be­hind- the- scenes tour of Petco Park of­fers a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into the game. More: sandiego.padres.mlb.com. Best cock­tails: Its lo­ca­tion next to the San Diego Con­ven­tion Cen­tre may not be all that salu­bri­ous but the Hil­ton San Diego Bayfront makes keynote cock­tails at sun­down. Take a seat on the out­door waterfront ter­race of Odysea bar, pair the rock shrimp ce­viche with ar­guably the best cos­mopoli­tan cock­tail on the US west coast, and set­tle in for a sun­set to re­mem­ber. More: hil­ton.com. Best din­ing: The restau­rant scene here is siz­zling, with a brigade of tal­ented young chefs re­defin­ing So­Cal cuisine. Two of the best are the al­ways-busy Sear­sucker in the Gaslamp Quar­ter ( where Top Chef fi­nal­ist Brian Malarkey and his team cre­ate mas­ter­ful ‘‘new Amer­i­can cuisine’’) and Bankers Hill (on 4th Av­enue), which de­liv­ers stel­lar food, craft beers and high-oc­tane cock­tails in an edgy space. More: sear­sucker.com; banker­shillsd.com. Best rooftop pool: When evening turns to late night, San Diego moves seam­lessly from restau­rant to rooftop, in­vari­ably at one of the sexy pool bars perched atop the city’s best ho­tels. With its splashy pool, swing chairs, fire pits, pri­vate ca­banas and panoramic sky­line views, Ivy Rooftop at An­daz San Diego in the Gaslamp Quar­ter turns So­Cal into So­Cool, at­tract­ing a fash­ion-for­ward crowd that knows the dif­fer­ence be­tween a caipir­inha and a caipiroska. More: sandiego.an­daz.hy­att.com.

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