I’ve lived in downtown San Diego for years and years. But apparently I still have much to discover. Because I had no idea that the Marriott Marquis on our waterfront has a hidden parklike hollow, in a place where seemingly few people venture.
The quiet green space, with a beautiful lawn, fountain, waterfalls, koi and ducks is partially concealed in an island of trees. You’ll find it set back a short distance from Harbor Drive, at the center of the looping driveway that leads to the Marriott’s front entrance.
There’s no clear footpath to the hollow. But there is a fish food dispenser and a couple of stone benches, and plenty of tranquil beauty. Hotel guests who’d like to unwind and quietly relax have their own secret garden, a place for meditation in the middle of bustling San Diego!
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One of my favorite places in Balboa Park is the reflecting pool, or lily pond, as some call it. This tranquil body of water lies between El Prado and the enormous wood lath structure which is the Botanical Building.
Flower beds, green grass and families enjoying picnics surround the pond, and colorful lotus flowers grace the surface. All sorts of interesting creatures call it home. In addition of numerous large koi (two can be seen in this photo), and floating turtles craning their heads to gaze at tourists, there are crawdads and a variety of fish that people have dumped into the pond. Years ago a small shark was spotted in the serene water!
An interesting historical fact: during World War II, when Balboa Park was utilized to mobilize American soldiers, the Navy used the reflecting pool to train sailors! You can still see old black-and-white photos of men rowing on the pool when you visit the San Diego History Center, a bit further to the east down El Prado.
These photographs are of the small pond-like section right next to the Botanical Building. This is the best place to watch brightly colored Koi swimming about.