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On a weekend trip to San Diego, my husband and I decided to stay at an Airbnb in Little Italy, a particularly vibrant part of San Diego’s larger downtown area.

The mat in front of the door read ‘More Joy’…that phrase set the tone for our weekend escape. As I opened the door, a beautiful fragrance greeted us…this was going to be a great trip.

A view out the floor-to-ceiling window in the art-filled loft; All photos by Richard Bilow; courtesy of ETG

The accommodations were beyond my expectations. A huge picture window and towering ceilings welcomed us as we entered the art-filled loft. Views in several directions from various locations in the unit made this property feel extra spacious, no matter where you were.

A sleek kitchen greeted us with a table just across from it. To the left of the entry door was a small room with a stacked washer and dryer ready for use. Everything needed for a short or long-term stay was included.

Continuing into the room, there was a hip modern living space with a balcony to the right. Drinking wine on the balcony, while watching the sunset approach the shoreline, became our nightly routine. Then we would move to the front door landing for a full sunset drop with an unobstructed view of the gorgeous San Diego waterfront. It was the best seat in the city.

Wine on the balcony, a great place to end the day

Plants were scattered throughout the space to balance the modern vibe, and there was a huge ultra HD flat screen TV.

Upstairs, the loft area featured a cozy bed with amazing pillows. At first glance, when I saw how large and puffy the pillows were I thought…darn, I should have brought my own, these look too big. But I was wrong. The pillow molded to my head, creating the perfect cradle to ease my tired brain for a soothing sound slumber. I had a glorious sleep both nights!

The bathroom, with its large tall picture window overlooking the bay, was filled with light. There was a state-of-the-art bidet toilet which opened automatically when you entered the room. It startled me at first, but then I giggled each time it anticipated my entrance.

Upstairs, the bedroom and bathroom

Since the apartment was a top corner unit, it provided three different views of the surrounding area. Through the large floor-to-ceiling window in the living room you could look down on the action below or out into the hilly cityscape. From the bathroom, balcony and entry you had beautiful views of the harbor and waterfront, which was only a few blocks away.

Situated at the edge of Little Italy, we found ourselves at an ideal location which offered easy access to a wide array of dining options as well as bars, coffee houses, a donut shop etc. With so many people out and about, it felt very safe. Having grown up in NYC, I was excited to be staying so close to all the action. The neighborhood was family-friendly and at the same time full of life, great for people watching. CLICK HERE to read my Little Italy Happy Hour article.

San Diego’s Little Italy, becomes a bustling destination at night

Our accommodations also came with a free designated parking spot inside a gated courtyard, so there was no need to search for parking or worry about items left in the car. In fact, my husband shocked me by leaving his expensive fishing equipment in the vehicle, so he could depart before sunrise to capitalize on the spectacular tuna fishing out of Fisherman’s Landing. CLICK HERE to read Richard Bilow’s article about fishing in San Diego. Our home away from home was also easily accessed via the street through a locked gate which led directly to the stairwell below our unit.

The owners/hosts, Alli and Kathy, were very helpful – they told us about the neighborhood and suggested restaurants, but allowed us to have our space as soon as we settled in. When we had a couple questions, we received responses surprisingly fast.

We were told there was a four story walk up with no elevator, so we braced ourselves for a bit of a hike upon arrival. Fortunately, this was no big deal. Plus, when I travel I like to keep active, so I can burn off all the meals I end up eating.

Art comes in many forms, art and views; artwork by Isabelle Scheltjens;

Now let’s talk about the art. On Airbnb, this apartment is touted as an “art-filled loft”, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to it. As the founder of LAArtParty.com I am a huge art lover. Rarely do you see a carefully curated selection of art in a vacation rental property. The collection was exquisite and created an amazing atmosphere. Our host Alli, is an art lover, and she has done a great job with the art selections…mixing pop art with impressionistic works and mixed media. The artworks played off each other, allowing a flow that was slightly whimsical, yet modern throughout the apartment.

The artists who created these works included: Jack Graves III, Bruce Rubenstein, Campbell LA Pun, Jean Duquoc, and more. I particularly loved the extra large mixed-media piece (the face of a beautiful woman by Isabelle Scheltjens) that was the centerpiece of the main living space. The scale was just right, and I found myself looking at it with the tv off, as I sipped my first cup of joe to start my day.

Art can calm your nerves, energize you and balance your mood. One can only identify the allure of art when it is present. This is a chance to live with it while on vacation…and witness your own discerning taste.

My husband and I had a restful, fun stay at this property, and I highly recommend it. If you are looking for a great place to stay on a weekend trip (if you are CA local), or are visiting San Diego from another part of the world, be sure to check out this listing. CLICK HERE – Alli and Kathy will take care of you.

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