You’ll learn the answer to this and many other fascinating historical tidbits during your stay at the newly remodeled (to the tune of $52 million and 20 months of meticulous renovation), US Grant Hotel.
Perfectly located just a hop, skip and jump from: the myriad of restaurants and clubs in the Gaslamp Quarter, the scenic waterfront for a sunset stroll, great shopping at the Horton Plaza Mall, San Diego’s Convention Center, The US Grant is a member of the elite Luxury Collection Hotel’s, the ultimate hotel seal of approval. Which is why I chose this Beaux Art beauty for my “home” during my recent visit to San Diego to cover the
International Fancy Food Show
. (This is the premier trade show for gourmet food products- more details on this to follow- and since I knew there were over 40,000 foods for me to taste, I REALLY needed to be guaranteed total comfort and tranquility, to rest my weary stomach at night!) And boy, did they come through- on just about every count.
1. The service is sheer perfection. The beautifully trained staff jumped to assist me with every request. When I mentioned that I was allergic to down pillows, 5 minutes later there was a knock on the door and no less than 4 alternative pillows were offered. The young man who parked the cars cheerfully welcomed me by name (and even pronounced it correctly) and I hadn’t even parked a car with him! One night when I had to go out for a business dinner, I asked the concierge for suggestions, since I was completely sated from my day of tasting and really did not want to even think about another morsel of food. She suggested an ideal little Bistro just a block away, where I could just order a nibble if I wanted, and even thoughtfully phoned ahead so the hostess saved us a quiet table.
2. I would need to write a complete book to describe all the historical art collections and architectural details that were such an important part of the make-over, not to mention putting together the real scoop on all the notables who have stayed there for the last almost 100 years–no wait, luckily for you,
, the Executive Director of Media Community Relations, is just putting the finishing touches on his book that will regale us with all this and more.
***As a matter of fact- and he’ll probably kill me for this- but if you spy him in the lobby, beg him to take you on a brief tour to point out some of the highlights. My tour lasted 1 1/2 hours and both of us could easily have gone on for another hour or six. One interesting fact is that in 2003, the hotel was purchased by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, the Native American tribe who’s ancestors had originally settled on this same piece of land.
3. Some stand-out designer touches are: the cool “Presidential-seal” blue color used throughout that perfectly match the blue Belgian marble of the original 1910 lobby, the lush hand-loomed Persian silk carpets, the soaring ceilings supported by rich mahogany columns, the custom made Empire style furnishings, and the opulent Italian linens. But what I most appreciated was that the design team thoughtfully combined all this elegant tradition with the best of modern day luxuries such as 32″ flat screen televisions and wireless internet, double marble pedestal sinks in the bathroom, and my room sported a HUGE six-headed rain shower which I never wanted to leave. I also fell in love with their unique “Sleep with Art” headboards which were made of padded black-dribbled canvas paintings created by the world-renowned French artist, Yves Clement.
4.The legendary Grant Grill eatery, like the rest of the hotel, manages to create the elegance of by-gone days using rich dark wood, silver candlesticks and heavy leather chairs but somehow, pulls it off with a happier, light touch. Again, the service was exemplary. In all honesty, after three days of Fancy Food Show gluttony, I could barely do more than nibble, but managed to polish off a tasty cocktail, the “1969 Invasion”, so named for a group of women who stormed the Grill in ‘ 69 and insisted on being served lunch, which previously had been reserved for “Men Only”. The menu offers contemporary twists on the classics such as Chef Nieto’s “Mock Turtle Soup” as well as a nod to the original Native American owners, with their Roasted Corn Soup and Sage Fry Bread.
My one quibble that prevents me from giving The US Grant a perfect TEN was that the fitness room was a bit on the small size. But wouldn’t you know it…they are already hard at work on adding an 8,000 square ft. two story spa with an indoor pool!
A: Ulysses S. Grant born Hiram Ulysses Grant wrote his name in the school register as “Ulysses Hiram Grant” because he was concerned that he would otherwise become known by his initials, H.U.G.
THE US GRANT
326 Broadway · San Diego, California 92101 · United States
Phone: (619) 232-3121 ·