A Historic and Storied Gem in the Gaslamp Quarter
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The US Grant hotel has been a San Diego icon since its debut in 1910. While the handsome hotel itself is a sight to see, its history is what makes this property so fascinating. The land (which was once owned by the Kumeyaay tribe) was the home of San Diego’s first major hotel, Horton House Hotel, until it was bought and demolished by Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., son of the eighteenth U.S. president. In its place, he built The US Grant (named after his father), an eleven-story, luxury hotel in what is now the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego.
After many changes in ownership and renovations, The US Grant was purchased by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, returning the hotel to its roots — and its former glory. A 21-month, $56 million restoration undid almost a century of transformations, and made The US Grant a modern yet elegant homage to its long and remarkable history. Today, the posh property is part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Luxury Collection, with 270 rooms, including 47 suites, and a staff that is not only attentive, but also genuinely friendly.
Upon entering the Grand Lobby, guests will find crystal chandeliers, hand-loomed silk carpets on marble floors and artwork (with a fine art gallery). The hotel features a $6.5 million collection that includes sculptures, ironwork, murals and paintings. Guest rooms display works by French artist Yves Clement — large, custom, drip-painting headboards that extend towards nine-foot ceilings with crown molding. Native American Indian art also makes an appearance, as well as Empire-style furnishings and standing mirrors. Creature comforts abound in the well-appointed guest rooms, including comfortable beds draped in Italian linens, in-room coffee/tea makers, 32-inch flat screen TVs and iPod docking stations. Marble bathrooms house basin sinks, spacious glass-enclosed showers, large towels, hair dryers and Remède bath amenities.
Not just for history buffs, the hotel also caters to the suited set. With 22 meeting rooms and three ballrooms (which are also perfect for weddings), business travelers have a variety of options for different sizes and types of events. There’s a 24-hour business center, and Wi-Fi is complimentary in the lobby — additional fees apply in rooms, though. Its great location gives guests easy access to downtown San Diego’s venues and attractions, including the Civic Auditorium, the San Diego Convention Center and Symphony Hall. It is directly across the street from Horton Plaza shopping center, and many Gaslamp Quarter bars, lounges and restaurants. Also, just a few blocks away from the water’s edge, visitors can walk to the USS Midway Museum and nearby restaurants and bars.
Hungry guests need not travel far for good fare, though. The hotel restaurant, Grant Grill, serves excellent California cuisine using locally grown produce paired with regional wines and beers in a sophisticated, Art Deco-style setting. The Grant Grill Lounge offers a speakeasy experience, with live entertainment and phenomenal handcrafted cocktails and seasonal cuisine served over a granite-top bar or at one of its cozy candlelit tables. Guests can also enjoy cocktails in the lobby lounge, or dining in-room 24 hours a day.
Fitness fiends will find the convenient (albeit small) 24-hour fitness center to hold all the necessities — TechnoGym cardio equipment such as treadmills, stair climbers, ski machines and a stationary bike; free weights and weight machines; as well as on-site personal training, with in-room and outdoor workout options available. An exclusive “Work It Lifestyle” fitness package offers guests their choice of personal trainer and custom workout style (which includes classes such as yoga, Pilates, boot camp, TRX, Booty Barre and strength training). And although there’s no spa on site at The US Grant, local mobile day spa Relax & Rejuvenate provides treatments in the spa suite on the eighth floor of the hotel, as well as in guests’ rooms.
As the site of important events and host to many politicians and famous figures, including Albert Einstein, Charles Lindbergh, Franklin D. Roosevelt and twelve other U.S. presidents, this historic property is certainly something to be experienced firsthand.
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