Sè San Diego

The new Sè San Diego has been a seven-year labor of love for owner Steve Rubell and it’s evident throughout: Touches are inspired by his world travels, such as replicas of Shanghai paving stones in the elevator, Brazilian wood everywhere, even stingray skins (not from an endangered species, we were assured) that cover the base of the lobby bar.

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One-bedroom suites are in high demand at Se San Diego, particularly those with balconies overlooking the pool deck.

The general room count includes 37 suites and three Penthouse Suites. One-Bedroom Suites have separate bedrooms and upgraded bathrooms featuring soaking tubs and—our favorite—dual sinks carved from a single piece of stone. Tip: Choose one of the 09 series of One-Bedroom Suites—these come with a balcony overlooking San Diego’s financial center and the hotel’s pool deck. Elevate the experience by booking the hotel’s Luxe One-Bedroom Suites (floors 16-19; rooms ending in 04 and 05). These have views of the sunset and overlook downtown San Diego, San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Choose the 05 series if your VIP clients like the idea of having two balconies. Rooms can be reserved over the GDS, but you’ll need to make a follow-up call to Director of Sales Julie Chavarria (jchavarria@sesandiego.com; 619-515-3022) once a One-Bedroom Suite is booked to guarantee an 09 suite.

Two of the Penthouse Suites are two-story, while the Grand Penthouse is a triplex, with 5,000 square feet of space. Note: To book the Grand Penthouse, guests will need advance approval from Rubell. These ultra-luxe digs have three bedrooms, three baths, a dining area that seats 22 and the option for spa treatments on the wrap-around deck. The hotel is busy putting the final touches on the Grand Penthouse, which will be available in June.

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The pool deck is a lively spot to hang out over one of the hotel's signature cocktails.

The hotel’s Asian-inspired pool deck is angling for a sophisticated cool lounge ambiance, rather than a nightclub party atmosphere. Your clients can file off their rough urban edges at the infinity-edge pool, which has an underwater Bose sound system, or enjoy a cup of sake at VIP Wine & Sake Bar—the only such bar in San Diego.

The Sè Spa greets guests with a concoction they call the Elixir of Life—honey nectar, lime and pomegranate juice and cucumber-infused vodka. The spa has nine treatment rooms, two of which are suites. The Studio Sutra caters to couples—it’s ultra-private and has its own soaking tub. The Moroccan Rasul Steam Bath Suite is the place to go for a range of mud-cleansing rituals. The VIP Silk Lounge is perfect for small celebrations of six to eight. Here, your clients can choose their own menu of treatments and even arrange for private screenings.

After our Ultrasonic Microderm Facial, we were invited to choose a tea from the Fusion Tea Bar and kick back in the relaxation lounge. Hint: Insiders tell Luxury Travel Advisor that Eric Edwards gives the spa’s most expert massage. The Spa Director is Michelle Frye (mfrye@sesandiego.com; 619-515-3017), but bookings should be arranged through the spa reservation desk (spa@sesandiego.com; 619-515-3070).

The Suite & Tender restaurant is the domain of James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef Christopher Leech. Here, he presents a sophisticated play on Surf & Turf, pairing lobster and braised short ribs. The signature cocktail is named Energy, a bracing medley of Corazon tequila, Cointreau, cucumber, spicy chili paste, lemongrass and fresh lime. Cool Touch: Choosing our very own cutlery from the restaurant’s knife menu.

For a romantic evening, book table No. 17, a booth in a secluded corner of the restaurant that seats six, but is also available for two when not booked by a larger group. For special parties, there’s a private dining area that seats 10. Advance reservations are recommended by calling 619-515-3003.

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The lobby shows off many of owner Steve Rubell's own touches, such as the dark Brazilian wood flooring. The hotel is considered by many to be San Diego's first true five-star property.

Fly clients into San Diego International Airport, three miles from the hotel, which has an Escalade onsite to shuttle guests back and forth through San Diego’s Gaslight District. The head concierge, Chuck Huller (chuller@sesandiego.com; 619-515-3063), can arrange tours at the San Diego Zoo or private viewings at local museums.

Overheard: Rubell is hard at work planning additional Sè hotels on the West Coast and destinations abroad.