Best of 2000: Best Place To Sleep Over The Ocean

Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages
4500 Ocean Boulevard,
Pacific Beach
(858) 483-6983

You can't afford the cruise? No worries! Listen to the waves below your pillow! Feel the sway! You feel as if you're at sea when you stay in the blue-and-white Cape Cod­style cottages on Pacific Beach's Crystal Pier. The pier goes back to 1927. The cottages to 1936. They're still charming. Red geraniums dance in blue planter boxes. Rooms look out over the rollers below. The salt air comes pure into your windows. Open-deck patios make the ideal breakfast nook. Summer rates go from $195 to $250 for one bedroom and $305 for two-bedrooms. Winter rates start the week of October 1, 2000: $150 one-bedroom and $250 two-bedroom. Two problems: they require a three-night minimum, and in summer they're booked six months ahead. One family has been coming every year for 40 years. Then in winter, storms can give you a good rumbling night when the waves grow really big. Not to scare anyone, but in January 1953, two 40-ton ocean barges broke loose in wild surf and careened into the pier. They ripped out nine pilings and sent one cottage toppling into the waves below. Everyone was all right, and they've strengthened the pier since.

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