20 Things You Didn't Know About The US GRANT HOTEL

  • 20 Things You Didn't Know About The US GRANT HOTEL

    The historic San Diego hotel has a long and storied history.

     
    FROM THE Spring 2016 ISSUE
     

Located in the heart of San Diego's vibrant gaslamp quarter, THE US GRANT HOTEL boasts a rich history. It’s been a friend to presidents, housed a speakeasy and nightclub, and earned National Historic Landmark status. Here’s what makes THE US GRANT HOTEL one of San Diego’s most treasured jewels and a favorite venue for meetings and events.

{1} The hotel was built by Ulysses S. Grant Jr., the son of 18th President Ulysses S. Grant.

{2} Fourteen U.S. presidents have stayed at the hotel since its opening in 1910.

{3} The first fireside chat President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered outside of Washington, D.C., was in THE US GRANT’S 11th-floor radio station, now the Presidential Penthouse Suite.

{4} The hotel owns one of the only two existing portraits of President Ulysses S. Grant; the other hangs in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

{5} The splendid Garden Court glassdomed atrium at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco was originally meant to be part of THE US GRANT Hotel’s lobby.

{6} During Prohibition, THE US GRANT’s Celestial Ballroom (then the Bivouac Grill) was converted into a speakeasy called The Plata Real Nightclub. Today, groups can host speakeasy-themed events there.

{7} In the 1940s, the hotel’s nightclub, called The Little Club, featured legendary entertainment.

{8} In 1969, a group of local female attorneys staged a successful sit-in over the Grant Grill’s notorious men-only policy.

{9} The hotel’s Presidential Ballroom originally served as an open-air terrace designed by Kate Sessions, the famous landscaper of San Diego’s Balboa Park.

{10} THE US GRANT’s two bilevel Presidential Suites historically served as the hotel’s ninth-floor Grand Ballroom and feature stunning views of the downtown skyline and San Diego Bay.

{11} Today the hotel boasts 33,000 square feet of meeting space across 22 unique venues.

{12} The very first Comic-Con festival was held at THE US GRANT in 1970.

{13} THE US GRANT was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1979 to avoid being demolished.

{14} In 2003, THE US GRANT was purchased by the Sycuan, a sovereign Tribe of the Kumeyaay Nation—the very ancestors of the land on which the hotel stands.

{15} The evening primrose, the tribal flower of the Sycuan and a symbol of life for the Kumeyaay Nation, can be found throughout the hotel, including in the Grand Lobby’s hand-milled carpet, the bronze banister of the Broadway staircase, the Spanish tiles of the Celestial Ballroom, the original plaster ceilings of the Crystal Ballroom and the molding of the Chaffee Court.

{16} The hotel’s blue theme represents Presidential Blue, in homage to President Grant and the other presidents who have enjoyed the hotel. It also symbolizes San Diego itself, evoking the city’s cobalt skies and endless sea.

{17} A time capsule that Ulysses S. Grant Jr. embedded in the arch above the hotel’s grant entry door was lost for decades and finally recovered in 2005. The family photos, memories and newspaper clippings from the capsule are now part of the hotel’s permanent collection.

{18} In celebration of the hotel’s 100th anniversary, the hotel’s mixologist created one of the first barrel-aged cocktails, named THE US GRANT Centennial Manhattan.

{19} The hotel is dog friendly.

{20} THE US GRANT boasts an art collection valued at over $6.5 million, highlights of which are the custom drip-paintings that are featured as the headboards in each guest room.

Gather your group for tropical cocktails and vintage vibes.

 

I have sweated onions in many kitchens in my lifetime, but never in one as well equipped or filled with as much good cheer as the teaching kitchen at the The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay during a recent weekend of their Global Cuisine Series 2018.