New digs on the beach

Tower23 is San Diego's first new oceanfront boutique hotel in 10 years

Matthew Jaffe
Along with all the scenery at San Diego's new Tower23 comes quite a scene. The hotel, named after a nearby lifeguard tower, adds a touch of minimalist grace to the fun and funk of the city's Pacific Beach neighborhood. Think of it as the anti-Del: If the the Hotel del Coronado celebrates 19th-century elegance, Tower23 is all about 21st-century cool.

As a Tower23 guest, you become part of the beachfront action, which includes the hotel's bar and its restaurant, Jordan ($$$$; call for hours). Whether from a lounge by the reflecting pool or a balcony room facing the water, it's fascinating to watch bicyclists along the beach slow down to take a look at this glassy apparition ― and to check out who is staying here.

Rooms are furnished simply but filled with creature comforts, including high-tech foam mattresses and 32-inch flat-screen TVs. But then again, who needs the tube when the best scenes happen just outside your window?

Info: Tower23 (from $359; 4551 Ocean Blvd., San Diego; or 866/869-3723)