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Things to do in San Diego

Dive down to Wreck Alley

For scuba divers, surely there's no better named site than Wreck Alley. Okay, so it may hold more weight if the ships weren't intentionally sunk, but regardless these artificial reefs make for a brilliant dive. The Coronado Islands, in Mexican waters, are another popular spot. Waterhorse Charter (tel: +1 619 224 6195; www.waterhorsecharters.com) sail to both.

Find the fairway on a championship golf course

Pleasant year-round weather makes San Diego a great golf destination. Whether you want to tee off accompanied by sea views, mountains or desert, there are over 90 courses to test your swing. Run by San Diego Park & Recreation, Torrey Pines (www.torreypinesgolfcourse.com) is a first-rate course that has hosted the US Open.

See the fireworks with a nighttime kayak

From June through to September, Seaworld hold a nightly firework display at Shamu Stadium. It might seem a little naughty and it certainly is novel, but instead of the stadium enjoy the spectacular with a night-time kayak. Lit by lanterns, San Diego Kayak Adventure (tel: +1 619 260 1880; www.sandiegokayakadventure.com) offers the excursion around Mission Bay.

Set sail for Catalina Island

During spring and summer, a gentle coastal breeze makes sailing around San Diego an inviting prospect. Visitors who don't know their boom from their bow should speak with Seaforth Boat Rental (tel: +1888 834 2628; www.seaforthboatrental.com) to charter a sunset sail or cruise to Catalina Island. The operator also offers whale watching in winter.

Surf's up San Diego

San Diego is something of surfing mecca. It may not have super-sized swells, but the city is wrapped up in the West Coast image of boards, breaks and beach bums. Black’s Beach is a hotspot for those with some experience, while San Diego Surfing School (tel: +1 858 205 7683; www.sandiegosurfingschool.com) offers lessons for beginners.

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La Valencia

Beauty, elegance, and charm live inside the pink stucco walls of this property, known locally as La V. Stunning views of La Jolla Cove and the ocean act as backdrops in the richly appointed La Sala room (where martinis and tapas are served in the evening) and many of the 100-plus original guest rooms and 15 villas, each boasting a whirlpool tub, king-size bed, and personalised butler service. The hotel's exclusive =Sky Room , with just a dozen or so tables and a small bar, is one of the most elegant restaurants in San Diego. The sidewalk level Whaling Bar is a La Jolla institution where local nabobs mingle over steaks and martinis.

Gaslamp Plaza Suites

The Gaslamp Plaza Suites is a European-style, San Diego hotel built in 1913, with many elements of the original décor intact such as the sculpted Corinthian marble, Australian gumwood carpentry, hand-cut mosaic tiles and bronze and brass embellishments which can be seen throughout the hotel. The location is as central as it could get - in the heart of the Gaslamp District. Complimentary continental breakfast is served daily on the rooftop terrace overlooking the beautiful Downtown area of the city.

Sofia Hotel

One of the oldest hotels in San Diego's Downtown has been transformed into a chic boutique inn with 212 rooms that have the feel of urban studios with efficient Wi-Fi and access to Currant, one of lower downtown's most happening cafes. Some rooms are dark and noisy - ask to see a few before unpacking.

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Set smack at the foot of Fifth Avenue, across the street from the San Diego Convention Center at the edge of the Gaslamp Quarter, the 12-story Hard Rock attracts awe-struck sightseers ogling The Rock Shop (collectable Hard Rock gear), Nobu (chef Nobu Matsuhisa's entree into the SoCal dining scene), Maryjane's diner-style coffee shop and the Sweetwater Saloon - a sidewalk bar by day and happening dance club at night. Guests in the 420 rooms and suites are greeted with their choice of music drifting from speakers on the flat screen HDTVs. Red leather chairs and low white couches, swirly patterned rugs and square showerheads in the ceilings set a fun-loving mood, enhanced by Sleep Like a Rock beds.

Tower 23

Named for the lifeguard tower it faces, this ultra-hip Pacific Beach hotel has 44 slick rooms with rain showers, Egyptian cotton bedding, LCD screen TVs and H2O toiletries. Some suites overlook the boardwalk and beach and have private balconies. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property - checking your e-mail from a cafe table by the sand is just about as SoCal techie as you can get. The hotel's JRDN restaurant serves the freshest regional seafood and produce in a casual setting.

Town and Country Resort

The resort features 1,000 guestrooms, four swimming pools and whirlpool, five restaurants and three lounges, in addition to 16 hectares (40 acres) of beautifully landscaped grounds. There is also a spa, salon and fitness centre. The 27-hole Riverwalk Golf Club and Mission Valley Regional Conference Center are adjacent. Premier shopping is also available nearby.