MISSION BAY, CA — Today thousands of travelers enjoy tropical vacations without ever having to cross an ocean, all because of the curiosity of one Portuguese explorer, our far-sighted San Diego city fathers, and an imaginative Hollywood movie producer. Long before Paradise Point was known as San Diego’s Island Resort, the 4,600-acre watery wonderland that it sits within was discovered by Portuguese shipbuilder and navigator Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo in 1542. (Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma commemorates his discovery of the California coast.) Disenchanted with the bay because it was not sufficiently deep to accommodate his ships, Cabrillo named the area Bahia Falza, or “False Bay.”
Hundreds of years later in 1902, George Hall, city horticulture commissioner, suggested that the swamp Bahia Falza be developed into an aquatic park. After more than 50 years, a master plan for the Mission Bay Aquatic Park was approved by the city council in 1958, and dredging soon followed. The $60 million project created 30 miles of shoreline beaches, grassy knolls, areas for sailing, swimming, picnicking, powerboats, fishing, water skiing, SeaWorld and Paradise Point.
Enter movie producer Jack Skirball who, weary of building sets only to watch them being torn down at the completion of a film, was introduced to the grounds in 1962, and immediately saw its potential. He envisioned a permanent fantasy-island setting of that would feature family vacationers as the cast.
Skirball enlisted architect Eldridge Spencer and builder Bob Golden to help implement his ideas and the trio worked in concert to create an extraordinarily stunning and unique vacation island escape that was insulated
from the city, but not isolated.
Artifacts driven from Skirball’s film-making ideas were incorporated around the property, such as the porpoise fountain from the movie Cleopatra which Mr. Skirball produced in 1963 as well as decorative masonry that
adorns the entries to the original cottages; and the state’s largest collection of original mission bells from along El Camino Real – the first roadway in the state, built by the Spanish during the early mission days. In 1914, 50
of these bells were delivered to the San Diego area to line this celebrated roadway and now over 20 of these historic icons reside at Paradise Point.
The movie producer turned hotelier and his enthusiastic team created an exotic South Seas atmosphere with skillful placement of lagoons and waterfalls. An abundance of tropical and subtropical flowers and foliage amongst the cabana style cottages gave each a picturesque view of Mission Bay, lagoons or tropical gardens. Skirball named it Vacation Village and its reality at the time was 150 guestrooms, one restaurant, two tennis courts and a small golf course. With continuing expansion and renovation over the next 40 years, the facilities came to include two unique and exciting restaurants overlooking spectacular Mission Bay, 462 luxurious guest cottages, and a relaxing lobby.
Other guest amenities that were added include 5 lit tennis courts, 5 swimming pools, a state of the art fitness center, an 18 hole golf putting course, a full service marina, a 1.3 mile jogging course, bicycle rentals, lawn croquet and a sand volleyball court.
Today it is known only as the hotel choice of Mission Bay that offers a convenient, beachfront location providing travelers’ with easy access to all of San Diego’s attractions. The resort is adjacent to SeaWorld Adventure Park and a short drive to Balboa Park where the world famous San Diego Zoo is located. The hotel’s proximity to these attractions and its family friendly amenities caught the attention of the editors at Forbes.com who designated the resort one of the “Top Ten Family Resorts in the World.”
Paradise Point, which recently completed a $20 million renovation and still features comfortable, California beach bungalow style guest rooms amidst lush, tropical gardens and meandering lagoons also now has an Indonesian themed spa which transports guests into a pampered retreat with custom designed spa services and rituals.
The beautiful, park like resort has received honors from the national Professional Grounds Management Society for “best landscaped and maintained grounds” among U.S. hotels and motels. The property’s central location and proximity to San Diego International Airport makes it a great escape for business travelers, as well as group and meeting attendees. Paradise Point’s 30 meeting and banquet rooms offer more than 32,000 square feet of indoor event space for group and social activities which are complimented by an additional 30,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space. Spacious meeting rooms overlook Mission Bay and provide a unique setting for both day and evening events.
The resort is owned by La Salle Hotel Properties of Bethesda, MD who is a multi-tenant, multi-operator real estate investment trust that owns several upscale and luxury full service hotels.
LaSalle Hotel Properties is a leading real estate investment trust (REIT), owning 32 upscale full service hotels
and resorts, totaling over 8,700 guestrooms in 14 markets in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
The company focuses on investing in upscale full service hotels located in urban, resort and convention markets. LaSalle Hotel Properties seek s to grow through strategic investments, aggressive asset management and partnering with premier hotel operating companies.
In August of 2010, Destination Hotels & Resorts took over the management contract from Noble House for Paradise Point. Destination Hotels & Resorts is the fourth largest independent hospitality management company in the United States with more than 30 luxury and upscale properties and conference centers located in urban and resort locations. The company has developed a variety of initiatives to better serve its communities, stakeholders and customers including Destination Earth, an environmental sustainability program, and the Destination Delivers guest loyalty program, which provides the best available offers to members. Destination operates properties in key metropolitan areas and resort markets including Washington, D.C., Denver, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Aspen, Palm Springs, Houston and Lake Tahoe. Destination is a subsidiary of Los Angeles based investment, development and management firm Lowe Enterprises.
For more information on the properties in the Destination Hotels & Resorts collection, please visit www.destinationhotels.com or to join Destination Delivers, visit www.destinationdelivers.com.