Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina vs Hilton San Diego Bayfront

See how Hilton’s and Marriott’s amenities, on-site and off-site activities, rooms, pools, and more stack up at two of our team’s favorite Embarcadero hotels.
Jess Tucker
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Marriott Marquis vs Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Marriott Versus Hilton
Lobby Impressions
Bundle & Save
Hotel Pools
Rooms at Each Hotel
Location Comparison
Hotel Amenities
Overall Winner

Highlights

Lobby Comparison
Pool Comparison
Restaurant Comparison
Final Verdict
Lobby Comparison
Pool Comparison
Restaurant Comparison
Final Verdict

Find Your Perfect Bayside Hotel

Convention Center Entrance at the Marriott Marquis San Diego MarinaJacuzzi at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront

No trip to San Diego is complete without exploring the harbor and San Diego Bay, whether you’re heading out on a whale watching cruise or you’re shopping at Seaport Village.

To see and do as much as possible, there’s no better way than booking a hotel in the area. But with so many excellent hotels, it can be hard to choose between them.

Two of our team’s top choices for Embarcadero hotels are the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Using my own first-hand experience as a guest, I’ll share the highlights from each hotel so you can decide where to book your next stay!

The Unconditional Surrender Statue with the USS Midway in the Background
The Unconditional Surrender Statue with the USS Midway in the Background

Staying in San Diego’s Embarcadero

The Hilton Bayfront and Marriott Marquis Marina are far from the only hotels in the Embarcadero neighborhood right along the bay.

For other options around Downtown San Diego’s biggest attractions and hotspots, see our team’s article about the Best Hotels near the Cruise Port and Convention Center.

But if you’d like to compare and contrast these two hotels, read on for the details that make each hotel unique!

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Looking for the Best Bav-view Pool?
While both pools make the cut for my favorite aspects of each hotel, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront’s pool deck area isn’t just great.

Which Hotel Makes the Best First Impression

A hotel’s lobby sets your expectations for what the rest of your stay will be like. See how the lobbies of these two San Diego hotels differ, and what each one has to offer.

Art in the Extensive Lobby at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Art in the Extensive Lobby at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

The Marriott’s Lobby

The warm tones and gilded design of the San Diego Marriott Marquis lobby are immediately inviting. The bilingual front desk staff is always happy to help, and comfortable seating provides a place to relax and let go of any travel blues.

The Expansive Hilton San Diego Bayfront
The Expansive Hilton San Diego Bayfront

The Lobby at the Hilton

Elegance is the first word that comes to mind when stepping into the lobby of the Hilton Bayfront. The lobby and attached hallways are especially spacious, and tasteful interior decoration rounds out the promising first impression.

Seating Area in the Large Lobby of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Seating Area in the Large Lobby of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

Our Preferred Lobby: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

The inviting yet classy feel of the Marriott’s lobby sets the perfect tone for the rest of the trip, making it our preferred choice. Let’s have a closer look.

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USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
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What attractions are included with a Go City San Diego pass?

Attractions that you can visit with a Go City San Diego pass include:

The San Diego Zoo, Birch Aquarium, SeaWorld, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, Harbor Cruise, USS Midway Museum, the NAT Museum, Whaley House, PETCO Park Tour, iFLY San Diego and many, many more!

Want to save more? Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

A Look at the Hotel Pools

Whether you’re reclining poolside or cooling off in the water, I’m a big believer that the hotel’s pool is an excellent spot to relax at both of these San Diego hotels.

Grassy Area next to the Pool at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Grassy Area next to the Pool at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

The Pool at Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

Hitting the heated outdoor swimming pool at the Marriott Marquis feels like stepping into a tropical paradise. The deck is surrounded by palm trees, providing shade and some privacy while still letting you enjoy the sun.

Grab lunch or a drink at the poolside Tequila Bar & Grille, or cozy up by the fire pits in the evening. Deck chairs and umbrellas line the sides of the pool deck. The large swimming pool is all-ages, with a smaller children’s pool and a whirlpool on either side.

On of the Best Swimming Pools in San Diego at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront
On of the Best Swimming Pools in San Diego at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront’s Pool

Hilton San Diego Bayfront has a heated infinity pool and a jacuzzi. Its pool is a little smaller than the Marriott’s but just as nice.

Not only are there trees and plenty of beach chairs providing ambiance, but you’ll also get to enjoy the incredible view of the ocean right from the pool deck. From the edge of the infinity pool, it looks like it runs right into the San Diego Bay.

The real treat is The Pool Club, a poolside lounge with a bar and kitchen. It features chic design, comfy seating with firepits, and excellent service.

Life Doesnt Get Better Than a Day at the Pool at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Life Doesnt Get Better Than a Day at the Pool at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Which Pool Wins?: Hilton San Diego Bayfront

While both pools make the cut for my favorite aspects of each hotel, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront’s pool deck area isn’t just great - it’s my all-time favorite pool at a San Diego hotel.

Each Hotel’s Rooms and Booking Options

Let’s next have a look at how the hotels’ rooms compare to each other.

Marriott Marquis’ Rooms

All rooms offer a view of either the city or the bay. Options include two double beds or a king bed, with an additional queen sofa bed in the Deluxe Suite. Hospitality suites and rooms on private access floors are also available.

Rooms at Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Hilton San Diego Bayfront has standard rooms, larger suites, and ADA-accessible rooms, which are fitted with king or queen beds. Rooms are bayside or city-side.

For families, cribs, high chairs, and video rentals are available upon request in all rooms. The hotel also offers unique conveniences like laundry and shoe shine services.

Our Choice for Best Rooms: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

The sleek decor and variety of room choices at Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina make for an especially relaxing experience, and the view of the bay is just a bit better.

Featured Hotel
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Conventions
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4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
Stay along the Embarcadero’s waterfront at Marriott Marquis San Diego. From the comfortable rooms to the dining choices, it has everything you need on-site.
Prices Starting at $195
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Comparing the Things to Do Around Both Hotels

Before a Show at the Rady Shell Theater
Before a Show at the Rady Shell Theater

Between the Hilton San Diego Bayfront and the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, there’s the Rady Shell concert venue at Embarcadero Marina Park South, as well as the San Diego Convention Center, home of Comic-Con and other special events.

Both hotels benefit from access to the FRED Shuttle, which operates in the Downtown area as an easy and convenient way to get around.

Here are some additional activities you’ll find around each hotel.

Seaport Village in San Diego
Seaport Village in San Diego

What’s Around Marriott Marquis San Diego?

Having the San Diego Children’s Park and Children’s Museum Park right across the road is an unbeatable convenience for families. A little ways north is Seaport Village, one of the best San Diego malls and a great spot to find unique goods and souvenirs.

Hit the beach via the hotel’s complimentary Coronado Island shuttle, which makes getting to and from the beach a breeze.

The marina district is also closer to both the USS Midway Museum and The New Children’s Museum. Both are part of the All-inclusive version of the Go City San Diego pass, as are attractions like the San Diego Zoo, so use our discount code GVSD5OFF to save when pre-purchasing your pass.

Sunset of the Coronado Bridge Over San Diego Bay
Sunset of the Coronado Bridge Over San Diego Bay

Things to Do by Hilton San Diego Bayfront

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront is closer to Coronado Bridge, which will take you right to Coronado Island and its many beautiful beaches. However, it lacks the complimentary beach shuttle that’s present in Downtown. Don’t forget to rent a surfboard or other gear with a Go City San Diego pass!

Additionally, San Diego Bayfront Park is just a few steps from the hotel. It’s a dog-friendly park with many art installations. Taking a walk or bike ride down the path here at sunset offers some incredible views of the bay.

The Bayfront hotel is also closer to East Village and PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres, which holds daily tours and doubles as a concert venue. It’s easy to reach from the hotel, as you only have to cross the walking bridge.

Harbor Cruise Boat in San Diego Bay
Harbor Cruise Boat in San Diego Bay

Which Location Comes Out on Top?: Tie

The two hotels are less than a mile apart, so most nearby activities and attractions are easily accessible from either hotel. I consider this a tie.

Treat Yourself Without Leaving Hotel Grounds

You don’t have to go far to enjoy yourself at either the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina or the Hilton San Diego Bayfront thanks to an array of amenities, activities, and more.

Coffee Shop and Market at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Coffee Shop and Market at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

A Look at Marriott’s Amenities

Keep busy at the hotel’s 24-hour fitness center, which offers free daily classes, or visit the resort’s private marina, where you can rent a kayak or jet ski. The hotel offers bike rentals and a spa.

On-site dining includes grab-and-go meals at Starbucks and Exchange, plus sit-down meals at Marina Kitchen, Roy’s, and Tequila Bar and Grille. The Bayside Lounge & Bar has Topgolf virtual golfing, and the Marina Kitchen Bar is open for drink service until midnight. Elite Marriott members also get M Club Lounge access.

Sailing your own boat into the marina? The hotel also offers power lines, cable TV, charging service, and even room service right to the boat!

Odysea Restaurant at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Odysea Restaurant at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront

How Hilton’s Amenities Stack Up

Dine at the waterfront lounge Odysea or the new restaurant and bar Hudson & Nash. Pick up something to go at Starbucks or The Cannery Market, and grab dessert at Sweet Treat Frozen Yogurt.

Not only can you rent a bike, but the hotel will even provide you with suggested trails, plus access to a bike station and lockers. The efora spa and the fitness center are open daily.

Tequila bar grill fire pit area, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Tequila bar grill fire pit area, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

The Best On-Site Amenities: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

The range of dining options, private marina access, and fitness classes give Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina the edge over the competition.

Final Comparisons and Tips

Here are a few extra things to know about these San Diego hotels.

Beautiful Tree in Front of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Beautiful Tree in Front of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

Some Additional Considerations for Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

  • Paid on-site parking is available hourly or daily
  • The hotel does not allow pets

Palm Trees and the Tower at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Palm Trees and the Tower at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront

What Else to Know About Hilton San Diego Bayfront

  • There is paid self-parking and valet parking
  • The hotel’s Destination Charge includes a daily $15 food/beverage credit
  • The hotel is pet-friendly

Our Team’s Pick for the Overall Winner

In Front of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina with the Two Towers
In Front of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina with the Two Towers

It’s a close call, but our overall favorite hotel is the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina!

We love the pool area, on-site amenities, and the all-around elevated feel at this hotel from the moment you enter.

Overall Winner: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

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