Kimpton Alma in Downtown San Diego recently underwent a transformation by hospitality design studio Indidesign. Formally known as Kimpton Palomar, the hotel has been reimagined as a boutique lifestyle property with a laid-back feel.

The lobby now welcomes guests with a bar, lower-level café and outdoor patio, while upstairs offers 176 rooms and 35 suites – five of which are penthouse suites with two levels. On the F&B front, the hotel’s premier restaurant, The Desmond, boasts three dining areas totalling 112 seats, with the pool deck and Leave of Absence lounge providing 6,209ft2 of additional space.

Alma expresses the uniqueness of the Southern Californian lifestyle. Instead of theming the hotel with a beachy and surfer aesthetic, 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 deeply rooted in its surroundings.

The guestrooms are designed to look and feel residential with bright open spaces. All rooms feature small cacti that reference the local species of San Diego, while window seating provides views of the city and wellness equipment includes meditation pillows and eco-friendly cork yoga mats.

In-room dining and work surfaces by the window were a key move to reinvent how the space functions. In the details meanwhile, the accommodations are adorned with textiles and décor that pay homage to Mexican culture and the spa-style bathrooms offer standalone tubs that further emphasise the feeling of wellness.

Indidesign has also created a large array of bespoke designs for Alma. The walls are a focal point, intended to draw the eye with a variety of artistic wall pieces – lacquered wall panellings with geometric motifs being one of them. In the guestrooms, unique wall organisers stand out as functional statement pieces. Wallcoverings with a nod to graffiti and tattoo art fill the walls in some of the bathrooms too. In the public areas, large murals from local artists and exclusive 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, accessorised with accent pillows and Mexican wall décor.

Leave of Absence on the pool offers many seating options from avocado-print sunbeds to cabanas to regular dining chairs, all of which are sit atop mosaic tiles. The Desmond by Chef Jason Neroni is Alma’s timeless destination restaurant, designed with a mix of historical and contemporary elements. The design weaves deep blue and greens as well as brighter tones to open up the space for an approachable setting that is also intimate in nature.