25 MARCH 2012
Comic Con hotel registration goes live Thursday morning, 29 March, at 9:00 a.m. PST/Noon EST. CCI has published a list of the hotels and shuttle lists here.
Why you should consult it: because the new (as of last year) booking process has us all selecting our top 20 choices. As with everything Comic Con, speed is of the essence, and the last thing you want to be doing is flipping around through screens and figuring out your best backup choices as the moments tick by and thousands of other attendees beat you to the punch.
The process: you select up to 20 hotels and later receive an email announcing which hotel you got. You then log in and leave your deposit, which you can fully recoup until May 4. In other words, don't worry about having your credit card out during the hotel booking process. That part comes later.
What's different this year: instead of putting down a night's deposit, you must put down two nights. The process is promised to be speedier as well; they say we'll get our hotel emails within 3 days and have 2 days after that to confirm.
If you're new to the Con, it's hard to know what hotels are "good." Here are things to consider:
~ If you want to go to and from the convention center frequently, staying close is the right option - Marriott Marquis, Manchester Grand Hyatt, Hard Rock, Hiltons Bayfront and Gaslamp and the Omni. These are the most popular hotels as well as the most expensive and sell out fast. But as I noted here, just battling the intersection can be a pain in the ass which makes the adjacent hotels (Hilton Bayfront, Marriott Marquis and to a lesser extend, Hyatt) even more attractive.
~ If you want to spend a lot of time at Gaslamp bars and restaurants, upper Gaslamp hotels aren't a bad idea. You can take the shuttle to and from the Con if you don't feel like walking (it's a short distance) and not have to travel far at night. But a lot of night events take place far from the Gaslamp, so don't think that's where all the action is.
~ If you want to save money, staying out at Mission Valley Hotels is the way to go - but only if you're going to stick to shuttle use and not spend money on cabs.
~ If you're traveling with your family/non-nerd friends and they're going to go to Sea World and Balboa Park, it's best to spare them the convention center area.
~ If you're picking hotels based on where you're likely to share an elevator with celebrities or see DC editors in the bar, don't bother.
~ Note that the rates listed on CCI's hotel page are "starting at" and will go up for bigger rooms and suites. Also remember to add daily parking charges (usually around $30/day) to the downtown hotel rates if you're bringing a car.