The new Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton quietly opened on Memorial Day weekend without fanfare and celebration due to the current pandemic. The 62,000-square-foot, 100 room hotel is the last phase of the Breakwater Town Center construction project.
The hotel’s opening during the pandemic while others are struggling is an anomaly in itself but General Manager Robert Blatt explained that leisure travelers and military personnel have chosen the hotel for their stay and business has been good. The hotel expects a large number of Navy personnel to stay at the hotel due to its proximity to the Navy Campus. Blatt said that a U.S. Navy flag will be flown in front of the hotel and Navy related art will also be placed inside.
The Hampton Inn & Suites has a beach modern theme and features grey, light blue and brown tones in the lobby and large seating area with added colorful touches of reds and green in the form of chairs and throw pillows. The seating area features large floor to ceiling windows that allows for lots of light. The hotel features large photos of Imperial Beach by a local photographer throughout the building.
The bar is open and offers local beers like Mike Hess Brewing and Coronado Brewing Company. The breakfast room, which serves buffet style, is separated by the main seating area by sliding doors. It is currently closed due to the pandemic. At this time a to go breakfast already packaged is being offered to guests. A business center desk with a computer and printer is also available for guests and is open 24 hours. A gift shop near the reception desk has a large assortment of snacks and drinks.
The new hotel has a number of amenities such as a gym with a number of exercise equipment, each featuring a TV, and there is an outdoor pool. An outdoor seating area in the back of the hotel has a fireplace which allows guests to relax, especially in the evenings. A 500 square foot meeting room is yet another amenity of the hotel, as is a laundry room for guests use.
The hotel is following many regulations due to the pandemic and has removed lounge chairs from the pool as well as the main seating area for social distancing. The gym is open on a reservation basis. Guests have to check in at the front desk to use the pool as a total of 10 people are allowed in for two hours at a time. After the guests leave, the pool is closed for cleaning, then reopened.
Blatt feels he and the staff are lucky that the hotel opened at the end of May and missed the first two months of the pandemic avoiding furloughs. “We were very cautious. We were wondering -should we open now? We have a good team ready to work,” he said. This is the first hotel opening for Blatt and his team who have worked together at other hotels in San Diego.
This hotel is owned by Heritage Inn of Imperial Beach, LLC, while Sudberry Properties and Tharaldson Hospitality Management are the managing partners.
The Hampton Inn & Suites is environmental friendly. Rooms are energy efficient powered by the the hotel key. Bottle refill stations are available to reduce carbon footprint. Electric car charging stations for Tesla and universal types are located in the back parking lot. Contactless check in is also an option. Guests can check in via their phone and head straight to their room.
The hotel aims to be a good neighbor. “We’ve been in touch with the neighbors and we are sensitive to their needs,” said Blatt. That meant placing shades on the parking lot lights and hiring a night team to make sure guests are quiet in the back parking lot.
The hotel management has ensured that locals were hired. Some of them who worked at other hotels further away now get to walk to work or have a shorter commute. The fact that locals work at the hotel is a plus because they know the area well and can give guests tips on things to do, said Blatt.
The hotel is close to the beach and restaurants. Only 4,000 plus steps away from the hotel, Blatt has walked the distance himself, and the shopping center offers a variety of food choices and even a place to get a haircut if needed, with the hair salon now open.
The four story hotel offers five types of rooms from standard studio to suites - some with views of the bay, the bridge and the hills of Tijuana.
Blatt expects the grand opening to take place in July and will feature a VW classics car show with older models that have been transformed into electric vehicles.