The pros and cons of staying on hotel circle for San Diego Comic Con.

Hashtag hotelpocalypse is happening, y’all! CCI finally announced that hotels blocks open up on Wednesday, April 4th (for more information, check here). I have never participated in the clustereff that is trying to book a hotel through this system, but I always thought if I did I’d be aiming for the Bayfront. My experience with SDCC has changed quite a bit since the first year I attended, so now I’m not so sure that would be the case. Especially after ending up at the Super 8 in hotel circle last year.

Being so far away from the convention center stressed me out at first. I couldn’t just get up at 2AM and walk down to the marina to get in a line. I felt like I’d miss out on all the action. Relying on the shuttle busses gave me a twitch; letting go of the control I had previously had over my schedule was a major source of anxiety. But it ended up working out so well I’m planning on repeating the hotel circle experience again this year.

First, the shuttles were fine. They run 24 hours, so my schedule was almost as flexible as it had been when the convention center was only a mile away. The two shuttle lines that run out to hotel circle drop off at Petco Park instead of at the convention center itself, which means you miss out on the snark of Harbor Drive. That really cuts down on delays, aka stress. Then you can either walk along the path next to the trolley tracks and see some of the cool installations, or take the footbridge to the Hilton Bayfront, which gives you an awesome view of all the hustle and bustle of the Hall H line and the convention center itself.

Being removed from the action at night is disconcerting at first, but ultimately led to better dinner. If you’re staying in the Gaslamp Quarter or nearby, you’re subject to long waits and higher prices. Being out on hotel circle opens up your options a bit. Especially if someone in your party has a car (a lot of hotels out there have free parking)! You can get delivery a lot faster, or you can branch out and explore. It can help keep you in budget, or just give you more money to spend on the floor.

You’ll still feel like you’re a part of the goings on, because 90% of the people around are also con-goers. I actually found myself to be less anxious in the mornings, having the shuttle ride to absorb the excitement of a bus full of like-minded geeks, and I didn’t feel like crashing immediately at night because the shuttle ride gave me some wind down time. Overall, I think I had more energy, because the lunacy of the Gaslamp wasn’t sapping it.

Pro tip: you can book hotel circle rooms outside of Hotelpocalypse if you’re too antsy to wait. I have three rooms currently reserved, just in case. Thank goodness for hotels.com and free cancelation.

If Hotelpocalypse gets you down, do a bit of shopping around. I would say “don’t sleep on hotel circle” but since I’m literally suggesting sleeping on hotel circle I’ll just say: give hotel circle a shot. I didn’t regret it, and I bet you won’t either.

Liz Keysmash
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Liz Keysmash

Liz has a ginger kitty named Thackery Binx who chirps like a bird and plays fetch like a dog. She reads a lot of slash, and writes a bit as well. She thinks she’s a good cook, she brews beer, she's a total nerd about baseball, she reads YA fiction, she has recently rediscovered her love of pop music, she swears like a sailor.
Liz Keysmash
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  • Mel keysmash

    Reading this is giving me anxiety and I already have a place to stay…. May the odds ever be in your favor.