Winter Wanderlust: Stay Sunny, San Diego

Kona Kai Resort San Diego

Kona Kai Resort & Marina

Kona Kai Resort & Marina is nestled on Shelter Island in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego. The drive on/off island is just over a mile long and only a few hundred feet wide. Kona Kai Resort lives up to its name—it is a resort, a destination in itself. Though a downtown jaunt is only a short drive where you can wonder around the popular Gaslamp District, it’s easy to spend your entire trip without leaving Shelter Island’s shores. Kona Kai is exquisitely manicured with views of the bay on one side and the marina on the other. Since the island is narrow, rooms on either side of the resort boast great views. All the rooms are comfortable, though not exceptionally spacious. You may want to request one of the newly remodeled rooms with updated furniture and fixtures. The pool is heated so that even in the winter months you can take a dip before dipping in the hot tub. The staff at the poolside bar are friendly and serve up some tasty concoctions (try the Thai Soda).

Now, picture yourself lying on a beach heated by the sun’s rays. Wiggle around a bit to really sink in as the warm sand envelops you. Feels good, right? Now imagine that body-hugging sensation on a massage table. It’s called the Heated Sand Box. With dozens of different treatments, from wraps and scrubs to hot stones and aromatherapy, there’s something to fit every style and level of comfort. The resort’s SpaTerre has all the typical offerings plus some unique and fun variations that just may surprise and delight.

Kona-Kai-Vessel restaurantYou’ll obviously have to eat. If you are in the mood to peruse the boardwalk, you may just stumble on a fantastic shack of a place called Fathom. Take a load off and enjoy local and craft brews like the Peanut Butter Porter from Karl Strauss (heavenly). Even if hotel dining doesn’t usually top your list since you elect for indies, give Vessel a try because it will not disappoint. The menu is a comfort food take on surf and turf. If you love lobster, don’t miss the mac n’ cheese. They don’t skimp. This menu is also very kind to bacon lovers. The clam chowder was brimming with it, as was the cherry-glazed pork chop. Skip the scallops. Opt for the butternut squash ravioli. Done in the traditional sage butter sauce, but every bite sinfully delicious. Even the veggie sides are impressive. They are also open for breakfast, lunch and in-room dining.

Kona Kai San DiegoKona Kai Resort & Marina is a welcome escape from the drab overcast that epitomizes Seattle winters. Put your price watch on San Diego flights, find some time to relax at a cabana encircled pool and get a dose of vitamin D. Don’t miss this tropical oasis that’s just minutes from downtown San Diego.


  1. Relax poolside at Kona Kai and indulge in a signature cocktail—try the Thai Soda.
  2. Sink into new massage experience at SpaTerre, the spa at Kona Kai. It’s called the Heated Sand Box. Just think of warm sand molded around your body then add a massage.
  3. Rent a bike and cruise the Shelter Island boardwalk. If you’re more adventurous, take a turn around Harbor Island too.
  4. Take a thirst brake at Fathom on the bay-side of Shelter Island where you can enjoy a Peanut Butter Porter (yes, you heard that right) from Karl Strauss.


  1. Miss the Bloody Mary bar, serving up a variety of tasty toppings like pickled peppers, olives, bacon, and hot sauces from around the world.
  2. Skip the hotel restaurant, Vessel. It will surprise you with its swanky comfort food inspired menu. Try the Lobster Mac & Cheese or the New England style chowder.
  3. Forget workout gear. The boardwalk is perfect for a morning jog and the resort’s gym is top notch (they even sell membership to the gym—that’s how nice it is).
  4. Miss the $10 million yacht parked outside (like eating at Duke’s on SLU).

KONA KAI RESORT | | Reservations 800-566-2524 |