I’ve been a longtime fan of Montage and have been lucky enough to visit several Montage spas. I am always impressed by their elegance, talented practitioners, sense of place, and spectacular services. When the company announced the launch of Pendry Hotels in 2014, I was excited to learn more about the wellness aspect of the brand that was founded with a mission of marrying the culture of service for which Montage is known with an inspired, fashion-forward, and design-driven approach to hospitality. I recently got to experience Pendry San Diego, located in the city’s popular Gaslamp District, and I’m happy to report that their goal was achieved and exceeded.
I stayed in a lovely Deluxe One Bedroom Suite, and the design is California cool with an urban flair. I particularly liked the surf and coastal California photography that adorned the walls. The room was also fully outfitted with state-of-the-art technology, including a Bluetooth-enabled speaker and a TV that let me to stream my favorite apps, which allowed me to enjoy my own entertainment in my downtime. While the minibar certainly had its fair share of candy, sweets, and boozy beverages, it also had healthy options like jumbo roasted almonds, dark chocolate-covered cherries from Next Organics, fruit juices, and waters for those looking to make healthier choices. I also quite enjoyed the beautifully fragrant custom bath amenities by MiN New York, which are available in full, refillable sizes. They are also available for purchase if you are so inclined. This eco-friendly approach is one that I appreciate to help reduce the waste of small, individual soaps, shampoos, and more that are found at many hotels and resorts. The Momento scent, a blend of absinthe, bergamot, lemon, tarragon, lavender, rose, jasmine, verbena, and patchouli, was particularly beguiling. Two other options for guests to enjoy in-room are Hyperice devices and Taylor guitars, which are complimentary to use throughout the stay, providing muscle relief and music therapy from the comfort of your hotel room.
The airy fitness area is another enticing area of the property. While I was there, masks were required, and air filtration systems were found throughout, so I felt safe. I also liked the wide array of options. I’m a Peloton owner, so I was excited to see a bike there. They also had an all-inclusive Technogym bike, which offers on-demand classes and workouts, so I took the opportunity to try something new. Another intriguing new piece of equipment I hadn’t yet tried was the Technogym HIIT Treadmill, which has a non-motorized belt that moves only as fast as you do, which was an interesting (and challenging) new take on a treadmill workout. The gym is also outfitted with other options like TRX bands, free weights, and more.
Beyond the fitness area, the adjacent pool area, called The Pool House, is pretty scene-y and decidedly less Zen later in the day. However, it is a soothing place for yoga, stretching, and swimming in the morning. My room overlooked the pool, and by afternoon, the pool chairs and pool were full, and the music was pumping, so if you want to get a chair or do a quiet poolside workout, get there early.
Pendry also takes advantage of its beautiful location by offering unique active experiences that take guests off-site to exercise as part of a new partnership with Adventure IO, a proprietary mobile platform offering exclusive adventure experiences led by professional athletes and local experts. Options include the Downtown San Diego Express Run, a guided running tour through downtown led by San Diego local Iman Wilkerson, founder of Step x Step Run Co. and a lululemon ambassador; Surfing with Pro Shaper, during which pro surfboard shaper Chris Clark, owner of Shaper Studios and lululemon ambassador will bring a custom handmade shaper board from his collection to guide guests through a private session on the best local beaches; Yoga + Wellness with Jano Galindo, a personal yoga session on the rooftop pool deck; and Fish & Surf with Salty Crew, a San Diego sea outing with World Surf League legend Damien Hobgood and Salty Crew Captain Kody Kessell, who will show guests the city’s best surfing and deep-sea fishing spots during a full day on the water.
I found the intimate Spa Pendry to be a lovely retreat that combined indoor and outdoor experiences beautifully. During COVID, when indoor treatments were prohibited in California, Pendry pivoted and created an outdoor oasis with plants, outdoor massage tables, and cozy open-air places to relax. When I was there, indoor spa services were back on the menu, but the outdoor spaces continue to provide a wonderful place to relax before and after treatments or to enjoy an alfresco massage.
I also appreciated that there are areas in the spa where guests can enjoy self-guided wellness experiences, including the steam room where you can create a custom aromatherapy experience with a spritz of European Spa Source Eucalyptus Mist and a serene room with zero-gravity recliners and Hypervolt massagers.
I went indoors for my service but felt extremely safe, thanks to the in-room air filter and a therapist who remained masked throughout my service. I experienced the fantastic Head to Toe Glow ($370, 2 hours). This incredible experience included a softening full-body exfoliation, a hydrating aromatic body souffle wrap, and a Hydrate + Regenerate Facial. It was a magical way to experience whole-body healing, and my therapist, Coco, one of the original members of the Pendry San Diego spa team, was absolutely fabulous.
According to spa director Cherie Rodriguez, another popular service is the Urban Green Coffee + Lime Detox, which includes an agave fiber brushing and bamboo charcoal, coffee, and citrus exfoliation to stimulate, purify, and tone the body followed by a mud wrap and massage. Pendry is a hip hotel filled with guests who like to have a good time, so it’s an ideal way to detox after a day of indulging.
I love a spa that offers a sense of place, and the selection of retail products and offerings was fun and thoughtful, with selections from California-based companies or featuring ingredients inspired by the local area. Highlighted brands include Hyperice, Knesko Skin, Lola’s Apothecary, Nectar Essences, NuFace, Osea, Pirette, Raen, Sanitas, Set & Stones Jewelry, Simply Curated, Sun Bum, and The Beauty of Hope Candles. It’s a well curated and effective retail selection that provides homecare and gift options that are ideal for a range of guests.
Food & Beverage
The hotel has several dining and drinking outlets that appeal to guests, locals, and other San Diego visitors who want to get a glimpse of the Pendry world. I dined at the divine Provisional Kitchen, Café, and Mercantile. I loved this whimsical restaurant-market hybrid both for its stunning design and its delicious menu filled with options made from fresh, local ingredients. I was lucky enough to sample a few different dishes, and my favorites included the Snake River Farms Wagyu Skirt Steak, made with black garlic and pine nut chile oil and served with wood-roasted cauliflower, and the Shrimp Tortellini, made with wild shrimp, saffron butter sauce, green garlic, and pea tendril salad. The culinary team is also accommodating to food requests and happy to create custom dishes that appeal to those who need to avoid things like gluten and nuts or who might be vegan or vegetarian.
The other fine dining option is Lionfish, which specializes in modern coastal cuisine and features seasonal, local ingredients. While I didn’t have a chance to dine there, I loved the gorgeous menu as well as the fact that the restaurant has been recognized as an Ocean Friendly restaurant by the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and has implemented proper recycling practices.
The hotel is also home to a few fun places to imbibe, including Nason’s Beer Hall and Fifth & Rose, which offers delicious and creative craft cocktails, some of which, like the lemongrass- and Thai basil-infused High Tide, include wellness-inspired ingredients. And while overindulging is certainly not considered a particularly healthy endeavor, raising a glass to the blissful experience offered by Pendry San Diego is an activity that shouldn’t be missed.