Founded more than a century ago, the US Grant gracefully mixes its historic legacy with contemporary touches. Ulysses Grant Jr., the son of President Ulysses Grant, began construction on the property at the turn of the 20th century. A time capsule filled with family photos and newspaper articles that he left in 1907 is now part of the hotel’s permanent collection. Since opening in 1910, the hotel has played host to 14 presidents. For a dose of culture without leaving the property, check out the Celebration Fine Art Gallery, where you can view paintings, sculptures, glasswork, and ceramics by national and international artists.
Today, the US Grant’s prime downtown location in the Gaslamp Quarter is hard to beat. When you enter the Grand Lobby, crystal chandeliers and hand-loomed carpets provide a sneak peak of the elegant decor found throughout the property. Guest rooms impress with tall ceilings, Empire-style furniture, and commissioned French and Native American art. No detail has been left out; even the headboards—one-of-a-kind figurative drip paintings—are a work of art.
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The Gaslamp Quarter is compact enough to be explored on foot, but for a unique way to see this part of downtown, rent an eight-person group bike from City Cruiser of San Diego. The company also runs Gaslamp pub crawls that make for fun corporate parties or outings with friends. Dig into Southern California fare at Cafe 21, where a menu of local ingredient–driven options includes omelets, salads, and specialty sandwiches. For fashionable souvenirs and gifts, swing by Dream Gallery. Part boutique, part gallery, here you’ll find purses, women’s clothing, and jewelry by area artists.
Need to Know
Rooms: 227 rooms, 43 suites. From $229. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The art deco Grant Grill serves seasonal California cuisine for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Consider the buttermilk-fried quail or the free-range chicken with sweet potatoes and kale. Named one of Food & Wine’s top hotel bars, Grant Grill Lounge has a notable variety of indulgent cocktails, local and international craft brews, and wine. Spa and gym details:While there isn’t a spa at the hotel, you can arrange a massage, facial, or body treatment from Relax & Rejuvenate Spa in the Spa Suite or your room. The fitness center has high-tech machines and free weights. It also provides fresh fruit, water, and towels.
Who's it for: American history buffs and corporate travelers with a taste for luxury. Our favorite rooms: The Signature Suites have two king beds and a separate living and dining room with views of the rooftop garden or downtown. The showstopper is the 10-foot-by-10-foot marble shower with six showerheads. Located on the top floor, the opulent Grand Deluxe Rooms include whirlpool tubs. Signature tipples: Two drinks at Grant Grill Lounge deserve special attention. The recently launched Gentleman Grant Imperial Red Ale was developed by the hotel’s resident cicerone in partnership with the local Mission Brewery. After you’ve sampled the craft beer, move on to something a little stronger. Created for the hotel’s 100th anniversary, the US Grant Centennial Manhattan is the hotel’s most popular drink, thanks to its blend of whiskey aged in oak for 100 days, Dolin Rouge Vermouth, and Fee Brothers bitters.