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A Mid-Century Modern Luau at The Pearl Hotel in San Diego

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

It’s unusually gloomy for a summer Saturday evening in San Diego. Clouds dot the sky and the streets are busy, a quick-paced mix of out-of-towners and locals alike.

The Pearl Hotel is mid-century modern on the outside, yet simple — like a classic motel you might see in old films from the 60s — where the buildings are pastel and muted in color.

But inside, we step foot into a tropical oasis, where festive garland finds itself strewn over the handrails and succulents rest tall up the walls ahead. There’s a box upon entry of vibrantly colored lays and a pool that rests in the center of the space where Hawaiian-print shirted folks sit along its outskirts. Their chairs teeter between conversations and taking a dip of their own into the light teal liquid below.

At the bar, we go with X Marks the Spot — made with rum, green chartreuse, falernum, orgeat, lime, and pineapple. Served in a tiki glass, we find a spot to sit with it and sip.

Beside us, there’s the scent of an entire pig that has been roasting since 8am. And we pile our plates with it — serving the roasted delicacy alongside Hawaiian macaroni and purple potato salad and pineapple fried rice with macadamia nuts.

After dinner, we sit with our friends, a dozen hands reaching out to grab bowls of warm rice pudding. A hula hoop contest narrates the background banter behind us. And when the young girl wins — the crowd, now boisterous from the layer of rum on their tongues — erupts into a fit of cheering.

Above us the sun has now set and the sky, no longer cloud-filled and hazy, glitters with the promise of luau stars.

To learn more about The Pearl Hotel San Diego and Charles + Dinorah, visit their website or check them out on Instagram.

Because like they say, it's a style that soothes, sizzles, and sustains.


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