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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

Hotel Solamar

March 8, 2016

 This week we sat down with Shannon Foster, general manager of Hotel Solamar in downtown San Diego. With an $8 million renovation set to wrap up this month, Hotel Solamar - EDC's newest investor - is adding to the vibrancy of downtown. 


1) Please tell us about Hotel Solamar. We’re not looking for the traditional ‘about us.’ Feel free to share anecdotes, projects or interesting facts that others may not know.

Hotel Solamar launched in 2005 and was the first Kimpton in Southern California at the time. Today, Kimpton has 66 hotels and a much bigger California presence—but we’re proud of the fact that we were first in the market. Being an 11-year-old property in the fast-growing downtown neighborhood, we were ready for an update last year and I’m thrilled to say we just completed a full scale renovation. The new design captures the historic essence of San Diego, Balboa Park and the missions, but with a contemporary twist. Another thing we’re really proud of is our service—it’s really like nothing else you will experience in San Diego. It’s anticipatory, genuine and personal.   

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diego is such a fast-growing market, especially in downtown, which has really developed over the last 11 years since we’ve been here. East Village and Gaslamp are perfect examples. Plus, there is no shortage of outdoor activities available to locals and tourists—surfing, hiking, biking, standup paddle boarding, you name it. The restaurant space is also growing and there are so many startup companies situated right here in San Diego.  This is the second largest microbrewery city in the country, blending that into a marriage of healthy fusion of beach life, entrepreneurial spirit and amazing weather year-round. I’m not sure you could ask for much more!   

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

I think Pura Vida is a really wonderful company. The idea behind this business was a simple inspiration found in Costa Rica and started out with 400 bracelets having been sold in 2011, but it has really taken off. They’ve sold over 2 million bracelets and their products are now seen around the world, symbolizing the need to live life to the fullest and to give back to the community. From what I’ve read, they’ve donated nearly $700K to 190 charities, so they are definitely living their social responsibility, which certainly really makes me respect them even more.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

We’ve recently announced a new property in Amsterdam and for the next five years we will have a growing international presence. I think San Diego is going to continue to grow, evolve, and attract the brightest minds from around the world. Because it’s such a great place to do business, newer companies, such as Houzz and Pura Vida are making a mark on the entire country and beyond. I’m excited to be a part of this growth and show our guests daily just how incredible this city is.