San Diego: Penthouse Living & Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road

Southwest, USA By

I booked our trip from Anaheim to San Diego the day before we were due to leave. After scouring a half dozen websites I booked with Lux Bus for $117 for 3 of us, Caius was free. The bus had maybe 10 people on it so there was lots of room to spread out and Caius did not need to sit on our laps. It was due to pick us up out the front of our hotel about 9am. It was on time, we were not. 

In the end it probably cost us a lot more as we rushed for the bus we forgot a number of items. Mia’s brand new GAP jeans, some leggings with a skirt were left at the hotel to be found by them 1.5 weeks later, after many emails they finally agreed to post them to us in New York at a charge of $5.55. The bus was also a rush to get off and it wasn’t until it had pulled away and we were shivering that we realised we had left Caius’ brand new GAP jacket on the bus, plus my one and only cardigan.

Anyway the trip was pleasant enough and as it only did hotel stops the friendly bus driver found the closest hotel to us and organised to drop us off there. It was in the hotel circle near Mission Bay and the hotel had a lovely big van that took us to our new place of residence for a hefty $15.

Our new home was gorgeous. We were at the top of a hill and then up some steep steps, which were a suitcase burden. At the top of the stairs was a door with an electronic lock. The Owner who we had found on VRBO and communicated with via email had emailed me the code and it was very simple getting in.




WOW! The Penthouse was everything it promised and more. And the moment we walked in I felt at home and wish we had booked a longer stay. A nice big kitchen fully equipped and even those items you need like butter and oil. A beautiful living room with a stone fireplace and huge screen TV leading to a balcony overlooking the scenic Mission Bay and SeaWorld.

A few stairs up and there were two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a cupboard laundry (thank goodness, boy did we have laundry!) and outside the master bedroom was a kind of patio-covered balcony with toys, a blackboard and board games. The kids found that before I did.

In the evenings we left the blinds open because the view was stunning. We could see SeaWorld’s Christmas tree and I hear during the summer you can see the whole fireworks display.


The Owner, Richard, came over when he heard we were settled and we had a lovely chat to him. He built the place himself and lived in it for 15 years before moving. It has little touches everywhere of a well-loved home, convenient storage and space. After awhile Richard offered me a lift to our rental car place, so generous and such a wonderful host.  

I can highly recommend staying at this place while in San Diego. The location is so convenient with walks to the tram, a big mall with the Cheesecake Factory restaurant and other locations.

It was a few minutes drive to Alamo car rental. We had booked a week’s rental car through Carrentals, who were super easy and friendly to deal with. When I got to Alamo the man showed me the car and being realistic I knew if we were going to drive with all our bags to Las Vegas we were going to need something a lot bigger. The upgrade was fairly easy and they even included free car seats, which I had plans to buy next. I ended up with a giant Hyundai Santa Fe 7 seater, which I immediately tried to drive from the left hand side, haha. It was nerve racking driving on the other side of the car and I couldn’t work out where the hand brake was. The guy at the security gate told me it was a foot brake, so strange.

I got lost on my way back to the house several times combined with trying to figure out which way to drive and what way to turn was slightly frustrating. Was definitely going to need my favourite navigator to drive in the US.

The roads are far more civilised then the roads in Bali so that was a bonus, it was just the turning which was the most concerning because I could never remember what side I was meant to be on. Was always more comforting with someone in front of me. Oh, and all of a sudden the roads are back up to 120/130kms per hour compared to Bali and Penang’s maximum 70km/hr roads.


I finally found my way back to the house, thank you to the new Google Maps app, no thanks to the massive Apple Maps epic failure. It was like returning home, in an instant we were completely at ease in our new surroundings.

That night we headed into the Old Town for good, old authentic Mexican. It was cold. And we were all exhausted after 3 days at Disneyland so we didn’t stay long. Boy was it nice to have a car, a big, beautiful home and clean clothes. 

Reader Comments...

"I respond to every comment by direct private email. I look forward to your feedback" -

Wonderful digs you are finding on your American Excursion. Love keeping up with you on FB.

A King's Life Jan 6th, 2013

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