Just completed a 2-night stay (26-28 Dec) at this San Diego favorite to attend the Holiday Bowl & related festivities. I requested an early check-in via the virtual concierge, and they were able to accomodate us at around 10AM. The Elite desk was able to check us in quickly and efficiently. We were upgraded to a great Bay View room, but were saddened to learn that the Concierge Lounge was closed over the holiday season. However, they did give us coupons for 2 free breakfast buffets each day at their Marina Kitchen restaurant. We received the extra towels we requested, which is pretty rare for us, so kudos to them on that. Parking - you have 2 choices, self ($26/night) or valet ($36/night). We went with self to start, but had to do valet the second night, as the self-parking lot was full. The hotel was packed with football fans and the UCLA football team. Plus, there was an Auto Show occuring at the adjacent Convention Center. I ran into Jerry Rice in the lobby, as his son is on UCLA's team. The Marina Kitchen buffet is excellent, but the coupons were only for 2 buffets and there were 3 in our party. They ended up comping the 3rd buffet the first morning, but would NOT the second morning. May want to consider asking the front desk for extra coupons if there are more than 2 in your party. We waited about 20 minutes to be seated the 2nd morning, as it was packed. Valet parking was fast and friendly, considering how busy they were. The morning of the game, they have the "Big Bay Balloon Parade" which is a nice 20-25 minute walk along the bay to the grandstands. Overall, a great stay. I can't recommend this place enough. Good area restaurants: Lotus Thai, The Fish Market and Chocolat (gelato).
Love the info on upgrades as well.
Am coming up with a theory that the best upgrades are in Marriott FS or JW Marriotts
While worst upgrades are in Renaissance, CY.
For RI, SHS, and any other suite properties, it really doesn't seem to matter unless there is a view to be had