REVIEW: Luv San Diego Surf Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals

Billed as a “premier pet friendly boutique vacation rental company”, Luv San Diego Surf offers vacation homes that are packed full of amenities fit for every beach-loving member of your family – including those of the four-legged variety.  Recently, Adventures by Daddy was invited to experience all they have to offer firsthand, read on for our recap & review.

San Diego, California's Mission Beach

 

Luv San Diego Surf has 5 different vacation rentals to choose from, each with a different floor plan and layout.  From a 1 bedroom/1 story bungalow, 2 bedroom condos, and even 3 bedroom/3 story homes, all are pet-friendly, giving you lots of options to suit your vacation needs.  Their website offers a detailed overview of each of the homes, along with photo galleries, and an online booking engine.  Looking at the site after our stay, it offers accurate descriptions and photos of each of the rental properties.  Naturally, the nightly rates vary based on the season (and holiday, in some cases), and each unit requires a minimum 3 night stay.

Luv San Diego Surf Windermere Bungalow

 

During our visit, we stayed at 737 Windermere Court, which is less than one block from the beach and has a living room, dining area, full kitchen, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and a bonus room, with a maximum occupancy of 6 guests.  I may be stating the obvious here, but it’s worth saying that renting a vacation home isn’t quite like renting a hotel room.  For instance, before our arrival we were sent a confirmation email with 3 pages of helpful tips.  Covering things like how to work the cable, information about lights on timers, how to work the barbecue, etc.  Because there’s no lobby to check-in, the homes are equipped with a digital lock box on the front door that requires a special access code.  The code is included in the email, but I was surprised that there were no instructions in opening the lock box – there’s a bit of a trick to it for first-timers.  Unfortunately, we were mistakenly given the incorrect code, and since there were no instructions, we just assumed we were doing it wrong.  After a few minutes and many failed attempts, I eventually called the property manager for assistance.  It turned out we had incorrect code, which was reminiscent of getting to your hotel room and finding out the keycard wasn’t working.  In this case, it was nice that their staff was just a phone call away if we needed something, especially since there isn’t a front-desk to walk up to.

The front of the home faces the walkway to the beach and is gated with an adorable white picket fence.  The front yard/patio is ready to entertain with a table and chairs, a firepit, Adirondack chairs, a natural gas barbecue, and even an outdoor shower to clean off the sand from the beach. The Windermere property is only half a block from Mission Beach, and we were on the sand in under 2 minutes!  It’s also just across 1 major street from Mission Bay.

The front of the home faces a walkway that leads you right to Mission Beach.

Outdoor seating and a fire pit on the patio

Natural gas barbecue

Outdoor shower & wetsuit

 

When we walked through the front door, it immediately felt more like we were visiting a family member’s home who was just away for the weekend. The decor was a lovely mix of both modern and vintage beachy styles, making it feel both chic and cozy.

Living Room - the sectional couch is a sofa sleeper

Another view of the living room

 

The house features 3 flat screen TV’s, all equipped with cable, including movie and sports packages, and DVD players in the living room and bedroom.  There are also books and board games in each of the rooms; enough to keep every type of traveler in your party entertained.

Living room entertainment center

Dining area

 

The kitchen is bright and sunny, and I loved that it was open to the living room.  It has everything you’ll need, including pots & pans, plates, cups, utensils & knives, even wine glasses and frosty beer mugs in the freezer.  There were also some basic spices and condiments on hand in the fridge and in the cupboards. The only thing I couldn’t seem to find was a cutting board to go with the knives, so I improvised.

While there was only one bathroom in a home that can accommodate up to six people, it was convenient to find that it was accessible from any of the rooms in the house. Meaning you didn’t have to go into the bedroom to get to the bathroom.

The bathroom was stocked with full-sized/half-used containers of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, and even mouthwash, along with some standard hotel-type toiletries, although they looked as if they’d been around for a while. For the most part, I really liked the feeling that I was staying over at my aunt’s house, but in this case, we thought it was kind of odd. It was nice that these items are available for you, but the brands didn’t match and it just seemed like you were using someone else’s stuff. Maybe if there had been a note on the sink letting us know that everything in there was for our use it might not have felt as uncomfortable. Either way, we always bring our own toiletries when we travel so it wasn’t an issue for us, but I know this can be a big deal for some vacationers.

Full-sized toiletries in the shower and medicine cabinet

Hotel style toiletries for your use

 

The bedroom was quaint, yet nicely appointed and featured a flat-screen TV, a DVD player, and several more books to peruse through.  The bed was very low to the ground, which is something to keep in mind if that’s a point of concern for you.  Although, looking at their other homes online, it appears this is the only property with a low bed.  We did find the mattress to be comfortable, and slightly firmer than most hotel beds.  On a personal note, the bed was dressed with flannel sheets, and while the ocean air does cool down at night, it wasn’t cold enough (for us) to require flannel.  I’m sure for some folks that would be a nice perk, especially in the cooler months, but we would’ve preferred otherwise.

Bedroom entertainment center

 

The bedroom has a closet full of linens for the pull-out bed in the living room, including extra pillows.  The bathroom featured a linen closet full of clean towels, a hair dryer, an iron, and additional toiletries.

A look at the linen closet (left) and the bedroom closet (right)

 

Last but not least in our tour of 737 Windermere is the bonus room (a converted garage).  Here, you’ll find a futon, TV, stacked washer/dryer, and a doggy door, giving your pets easy access to the front yard.  There are also body boards, bicycles, beach chairs, coolers, and more, all ready for you to use, and all included in the cost!  This is a fantastic perk of staying at a vacation home rather than a standard hotel.

Futon and surfboards in the bonus room

Lots of equipment ready-to-go for your day at the beach!

The washer/dryer and doggy door

 

There are baskets throughout the home, all filled with goodies for you to use.  Lots of beach towels, balls, games, and even collars, leashes and toys for your pets.

For our stay, we didn’t bring any pets along with us, giving us a bit of a different perspective of the experience.  While it was evident that the home was pet-friendly, the home was very clean, and there were no signs of pet hair or odor any where.  Impressive!  While the homes are pet-friendly, it definitely doesn’t mean you have to have a pet to stay here.

Just some of the pet-friendly amenities in the home

 

While on the topic of cleanliness, it should be noted that there is a mandatory cleaning fee of $180 added to the total for your stay.  Admittedly, I flinched when I first learned about it, but in my research I actually found their pricing to be pretty competitive against other vacation rental companies in the area.  Because this is a home, you won’t be receiving daily maid service, and will actually need to take care of some of the household labor yourself. This includes taking out the trash, and running the dishwasher. Given the cleanliness of the home, the fee seemed to be well worth the cost, especially for a pet-friendly home.  The only negative for me was when we wanted to use the patio furniture, but found the table & chairs to be covered in cobwebs.  Of course, I understand that it is outdoor furniture, but with a decent sized cleaning fee, I’d expect that the furniture both inside & out should be ready for use.

Back to the big draw of the area….the beach!  The area was hoppin’ when we walked down the boardwalk.  People were biking, jogging, roller skating, playing beach volleyball, and soaking up the sun. The home is within walking distance of several beach front restaurants, from little dives to big chains (i.e. Tony Roma’s), and even to Pacific Beach Pier.

Top: A view of the beach in the late afternoon Bottom: A busy boardwalk with the Pacific Beach Pier in the distance

 

Luv San Diego Surf also manages their own restaurant in the area, The Patio on Lamont Street.  Just a few blocks from the beach, like their homes, the restaurant is also pet-friendly!  We enjoyed lunch here during our stay, and found the prices to be reasonable, the portions hearty, and a nice variation of choices.  From salads, to flatbreads, sandwiches, fresh seafood, and even a Kobe beef burger, their menu is broad.  We tried a grilled chicken sandwich, and the Patio Melt (a panini) and both were delicious!  We really enjoyed the atmosphere and the food, and I could definitely see us coming back here if we found ourselves in the area again.

Overall, we really enjoyed our mini-vacation in this bungalow by-the-sea.  There may have been some minor hiccups here and there, but certainly no more than we’ve experienced at any boutique or major chain hotel in the past.  Their vacation home had so much to offer, and a friendly and passionate staff who truly have a genuine love of San Diego.  Their homes are a wonderful option for couples, multi-generational families, or even a weekend away with friends, and your pets are welcome to boot!  I’ve already recommended Luv San Diego Surf vacation rentals to my own family members, and I look forward to visiting them during their stay!

Disclosure: Adventures by Daddy was hosted by Luv San Diego Surf and provided with one night accommodations and lunch at the Patio on Lamont Street for the purposes of writing this review.  However, all opinions expressed are those of the author.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Chrysty Summers

Growing up in southern California, Disneyland has always been a staple for my family. Today, my husband and I spend most of our free time at the parks, where you can usually find us soaking up the atmosphere of Buena Vista Street in California Adventure. We also love traveling to Walt Disney World as often as we can, especially during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival in the Fall! Find me on Twitter @PenelopePeach for live updates from around the parks.