The Bahia Resort Hotel is located on Mission Bay in San Diego, California a very popular and touristy part of the city due to SeaWorld as well as the many waterfront promenades and colleges nearby. The resort itself is on a peninsula which makes it look appealing. With your stay one car receives free complimentary parking—an often rare trait for most hotels in Southern California.


Upon arrival to the resort surrounded by palm trees, handicapped parking is available at the front desk to check in. The desk includes a lower section for easy wheelchair access. The staff was courteous and asked if any help with baggage was needed. Adjacent to the front desk is a business center for guests. Checking email and whatnot is free but printing costs a fee.

Around the corner from the business office is the resort’s restaurant and bar. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner but the food’s quality was just okay for the price—the same goes for the room service. Many tables with chairs were arranged inside and on the patio. The bar counter was low enough for comfortable wheelchair access. Right next to the restaurant and bar is an animal rescue exhibit featuring two different California seals. Ducks can frequently be seen everywhere as they are acquainted with human presents.

Room Access

Four wheelchair accessible rooms exist at the Bahia Resort Hotel and all have roll-in showers (no bathtubs). Rooms 182, 604, and 214 have two double beds. Room 114 is a suite with a king bed and the best view but it cannot be guaranteed, only requested. Both rooms 604 and 214 are in buildings with hallways and elevators. Room 182 has one room above it and 114 is a single unit. During my 3-night stay I was in room 182. One handicapped parking spot was located just outside the room but since spots are not assigned other hotel guests that have a handicapped placard may also park there. For most of my stay, it remained open.

Access into the room was done so with a card and the door has a lowered peephole. Every time that I tried to open the door it seemed to stick. Overall, the room had a good open flow to it. When first coming through the door the closet with a lowered bar is on the left which also acts a as full-length mirror, the vanity is directly in front and the bathroom door is in-between. To the right were the two double beds, flat-screen TV, coffee/tea pot, small table, and door to the patio. The vanity’s sink was not a full roll-up sink as it was an angled piece of wood blocking access. A sulfur-type smell would occur when the sink water was turned on, making me very reluctant to consider it safe drinking water.

Upon entering the spacious bathroom, the toilet is directly in front with two grab bars. The roll-in shower is to the right and includes a permanent padded flip-down bench and hand-held shower nozzle. A small soap shelf was within reach. Soap, shampoo, and conditioner along with a cotton ball, Q-Tip, or two are provided by the hotel but don’t forget anything else as items such as toothpaste and razors must be bought at the gift shop for an inflated cost.

The beds were a little on the high side but still transferable. However, if you find the beds are too high then ask hotel management what they can do, like remove the box spring, etc. Access to the beds was possible on three of four sides—the space between the first bed and the wall is too narrow for the majority of wheelchairs. All but one light switch were accessible, which was placed behind the table in a corner. The HVAC system was located in the same area on the floor, which made it a little challenging to reach. One power outlet by the television was accessible but was an inconvenient location when it came to using cell phone alarms, etc.

The view at 114 is really lovely and is what’s seen in all the hotel advertisements but the other rooms including 182 was less than so. To access the patio at 182 one must be able to go over a small lip as the patio was not flush with the room’s level and there was no ramp, so power wheelchairs and scooters may have difficulty. The paved patio would almost max out on space with two power wheelchairs. What decreases the attractiveness of the bay’s view is a very large parking lot, which is often heavily populated during the day. The beach room 182 looks onto the part of Mission Bay where fire-pits are but none are currently accessible.

Around the Resort

The grounds of the hotel are landscaped with a tropical feel. The center of the property has a gazebo, pond, and shuffleboard courts. Towards the resort’s main office is where the pool and spa are located, both with lifts to lower you into the water. Bahia Resort Hotel offers beach equipment like foot-operated paddleboats and small sailboats but nothing has been modified for the physically disabled even the beach area in front of suite room 114 has no wheelchair access.

Two large, 19-century inspired paddleboats dock at the Bahia Resort Hotel’s harbor during the day. Starting at 6:30pm the Bahia Belle begins to shuttle back and forth from two ports in the bay, taking a half hour each way. Most purchase tickets but guests of the hotel board for free. The Bahia Belle is two levels but only the first level is wheelchair accessible because there is no elevator. The bar, DJ, and party are on the top deck so be prepared for a nice quiet ride on the lower level. Also, note that the ride is kid-free after 9:30pm. A fancier boat docked next to the Bahia Belle is used for special events and exceptionally busy weekends.


The price of the Bahia Resort Hotel is built around the water amenities included. If you are unable or uninterested in taking advantage of these offerings then perhaps look elsewhere for overnight accommodations. Food is average at best, comparable to a Holiday Inn. If you like to stay here be sure that you are clear about if you want maid service. For some reason, my room was opted-in for no service on one day, which means no trash collection, supply replenishment, etc.

I’ve heard of not having your sheets and towels washed every day but not completely no service, especially at a resort. It was an obvious mistake that I called the front desk and corrected. The Bahia Resort Hotel gets high markings for meeting the basic standards of the ADA but falls short to go the distance of making their water activity amenities accessible for all guests to enjoy. Would I stay here again? Probably not.

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