This boutique hotel in San Diego by Indidesign underwent a unique transformation that draws inspiration from the city’s Mexican heritage, street culture, and comic book obsession to create an identity rooted in its surroundings, at Alma.

  • area / size 193,999 sqft
  • Year 2022
  • Type Hotel,
  • Located in the heart and soul of Downtown San Diego, the Kimpton Alma is an eclectic boutique lifestyle hotel with a laid-back feel. Formerly known as the Kimpton Palomar, the hotel underwent a transformation that reflects the sense of humor and edginess of the city that is rarely showcased. The lobby welcomes guests to Alma with access to a bar, lower-level cafe, and outdoor patio for an inviting, hospitable experience. The hotel offers 176 rooms and 35 suites—five of which are penthouse suites with two levels. The pool deck and “Leave of Absence” lounge provide a 6,209 square-foot expanse where guests can swim, grab a quick bite, or simply take in some fresh coastal air. The hotel’s premier restaurant, The Desmond, boasts three dining areas totaling 112 seats.

    Designed by Indidesign, Alma expresses the uniqueness of the Southern Californian lifestyle. Indidesign veered away from the stereotypical vision of San Diego and drew inspiration from the border city’s connection to Mexican heritage, street culture, and obsession with comic books to create a brand new identity for Alma, deeply rooted in its surroundings.

    Alma’s design is simple yet complex with high attention to detail. The rooms are designed to look and feel residential with bright open spaces. All rooms feature small cacti that reference the local species of San Diego, along with meditation pillows and eco-friendly cork yoga mats for wellness. In-room dining and work surfaces by the window were key moves to reinvent how the space functions. In the details, the accommodations are adorned with textiles and decor that pay homage to Mexican culture and the spa bathrooms in the guestrooms offer standalone tubs that further emphasize the feeling of wellness.

    Indidesign created a large array of bespoke designs for Alma, including textiles, furniture, wall panelings, and wall coverings. Textile patterns were inspired by traditional Mexican motifs, with an Indidesign spin, along with handmade tapestries and convex mirrors set in handwoven baskets that cement the luxury lifestyle experience. The walls at Alma are a focal point, intended to draw the eye with a variety of artistic wall pieces—lacquered wall panelings with geometric motifs being one of them. In some of the guestroom bathrooms, wall coverings with a nod to graffiti and tattoo art fill the walls. In the public areas, large murals from local artists and one-of-a-kind artworks illustrate the fun and laid-back attitude of San Diego.

    For dining, Alma has options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the Café, the “Leave of Absence” pizza bar, and The Desmond. At the lower level, the Café has 64 seats and booth seating that circles the space, accessorized with whimsical accent pillows and Mexican wall decor. The “Leave of Absence” lounge located on the pool deck is a pizza bar and offers many seating options from avocado-print sunbeds to cabanas to your regular dining chair; paired on top of mosaic tiles. The Desmond by Chef Jason Neroni is Alma’s timeless destination restaurant, designed with a mix of historical and contemporary elements.

    Design: Indidesign
    Photography: Will Pryce