The rich history of the past and the artful presence of our future come together in San Diego’s landmark in luxury, THE US GRANT HOTEL. 

The grey veining of Italian Carrara marble floors from the original 1910 lobby glistens under opulent crystal chandeliers.

The minute I entered the spacious first floor lobby, I felt the world class luxury of a cosmopolitan experience. The  polished mahogany woodwork, the grey veining of the Italian Carrara marble floors from the original 1910 lobby, glistened under the pristine and opulent crystal chandeliers that sparkled under the hand-carved ceilings  The old world elegance of the interior architecture mixed with contemporary rich cool Belgian blue accents, gives the property the prestige of the Presidential seal. In fact, every time I valeted my car, three handsome men opened my doors and greeted me as if I was the First Lady.  Loved it!

Presidential blue sitting room
with custom Persioan carpet.

San Diego rocks out in the summer and the US Grant became my swanky digs for the weekend.  My room was an escape into luxury.  The dark wood floors flaunted Persian carpets.  The stylish retro-Baroque furniture was off set by the most exquisite black and white authentic drip paintings by noted French artist Yves Clement. Each of the paintings was created on property during the $56 million dollar renovation.   

The avant-garde light grey canvases are framed by a period piece of architectural moldings.  Each room has a unique piece that’s used as a framed headboard 6 feet x 6 feet for the bed.  Monsieur Clement’s creativity graced my thoughts as my head rested upon the luxurious pillow top bed.  I drifted off for a relaxing afternoon nap amidst the Italian linens and a yummy fluffy white cotton woven duvet comforter.  My eyes fluttered peacefully up at the nine-foot ceilings accented with rich white crown moldings.  I took a deep breath and luxuriated in the opulence of great design and artistry.  My cares I evaporated as I listened to the birds chirping outside my open window to the comforting hum of the city below.

Elegant guest room with custom art work headboards 
of Monsieur Clement is available to purchase.

My stay became an adventure in paradoxes.  As I opened the black shuttered closet, the light went on to invite me to wear their plush contemporary black robes. 

The six foot mirror framed with silver
embellishments ornately graces the room.

The elegant guest bathroom.

The six foot black mirror framed with silver embellishments was ornate but the  small black  writing desk in the sitting area was simple. The sateen chocolate brown chairs with velvet backs and arms were posh but the accordion cream sheer window coverings unpretentious. 

The bathrooms were small but extravagant.  The shower with Escher-esque tiles was spacious.  The white porcelain basin gracefully featured a shiny silver spout that was supported by a heavy dark wooden stand.  The two small black night stands with acrylic cylinder 24 inch creme lamp shades coddled the oversized pristine white linen bed.  Flowered pewter nobs accented the sturdy black four drawer dresser.

Flat screen televisions, wireless, high speed and dial up internet, multi-line cordless phones and CD player/clock radio seemed incongruous with fact that Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation’s, the Native American tribe who originally settled on the land that now includes downtown San Diego, where THE US GRANT resides, are responsible for restoring this historic hotel to its original splendor. 

Business desk with embellishments.

I felt like I was a global explorer experiencing the modern élan, historic guest rooms, tribal ownership, original art work (both French and Native American).  I was embraced by a lovely melange of classic and modern tranquility.  The phenomena of this property is that they artistically wove 21st century textiles, technology and design with turn-of-the century character and nine decades of history.  Wow!

The US Grant is the best place to stay when you want to indulge your urges for shopping, dining, beach beauty and night life.  I just walked out of my room and voila, I was in heaven. Horton Plaza is the best shopping experience you can have.  The Plaza boasts every beautiful store imaginable and the kiosks, art work and the winding circular design that reaches six levels high excites the imagination.

Suite and Tender on the mezzanine level of the Se’ Hotel is the chic place to dine. 

US Grant Dining Room...the food is exquisite.

Only a block away, my daughter (who lives in San Diego) and I got to wear our cherished two hour shoes.  But it was the food, the ambiance, the cocktails and the wine that made our toes curl with excitement. The waiters treated us like celebrities.  They created a dining experience that catered to our every whim.  Whatever we wanted the answer was “yes”  and they couldn’t wait for our next request!  There were no rules to our dining experience.  The evening became our personal journey in unique gastronomical delights.  We could have customized our own shellfish platter but everything looked so good we ordered it all.  Each chilled oyster had taste of the ocean, briny and sleek.  The little neck clams were sweet and salty.

Old world charm looks out to San Diego.

Only in the middle of winter in the depths of the Bering Sea can you find Alaskan King Crab.  They are called the deadliest catch in the ocean.  I trembled with pleasure with each bite of this sweet, and succulent dangerous catch.  The Canadian Lobster Tail was elegant and rich.  We were surprised by the meaty texture that was as good as steak of the Stone Crab Claws.  The Poached Jumbo Shrimp were slightly slaty with a firm to the bite, chewy buttery taste.  Each morsel was tenderly filled with the ocean’s delights.   We sipped our Passion cocktails mixed table side of Kai Vodka, Champagne fresh sour with a splash of cranberry.  We clinked glasses and toasted to the night!

There’s a a spell binding glow about the restaurant.  The interior decor uses all natural elements and  has a sensual, edgy artistic appeal with the see-through fireplace in the lobby and a living green wall opposite a stingray bar.

The organic shell curtains cascading from the second floor restaurant to the bar area below, create the mystery surprises of a wave leaving shells behind on the beach.

Beauty is everywhere.

The evening was filled with detailed and astounding pleasures.  I was offered to select a knife that felt best in my hand.  We got to create our own wine flight from their distinguished American wine list.  The menu was divided between “Ocean”, “Land” and “Suite and Tender.”  I ordered the “Suite and Tender.”  The Lobster and braised short rib  must be the reason why Chef Lee received two Michelin stars for 2009. 

There was explosion of flavor when the tender ribs and the sweet taste of the Lobster tail melted in my mouth. The truffled French fries were a delicacy.  The Jasmine rice pilaf was light and hauntingly delicious.  The wine pairings with each entree highlighted our dining experience.  Leaving the restaurant our host and owner, Kelly Jones, gave us a warm hug and thanked us for coming.  “No thank you,” we both exclaimed!  We left feeling as special as Paris Hilton or Angelina Jolie.

Be embraced by the historic richness of
the past & the modern e’lan of our present.

Our cosmopolitan experience was complete with our visit to Stingaree.  The crowds were lined up down the city blocks and we found out why.  The attention to detail in this mega-club is everywhere: from the sunken granite-top bar on the main floor, to the shimmering three level water wall to the catwalks and glass railings and mirrors, and the ceiling light fixtures that resemble puffy golden pillows. Candlelight on the low cocktail tables on the roof convey intimacy.

Enclosed booths on the ground-floor level look like the cubes of a honeycomb and after the night's dining service is done, these can be reserved for lounging or as private tables to sit out turns on the dance floor. Wine service, as opposed to bottle service, is emphasized, and that's a classy departure from the norm of a Vegas Club.

Historic comfort is in the details.

Chef Antonio Friscia created a foodie-friendly menu.  We sat in a  Retro-modern booth "pods"  that outlined the dining room. The upscale menu, which ranged from fois gras and porcini ravioli  to shrimp cocktail and steak frites was scrumptious.  The  American Kobe Beef Burger with a toasted egg bun, truffle aioli, truffle-plam frites, St. Agur, lettuce and fresh tomato was the best burger of my life.  My daughter had the Jidori chicken with wild mushroom pan, boursin mashed potatoes and the freshest vegetables I’ve ever tasted in a restaurant.

We watched private limo’s dropping off their invited clientele that disappeared through a private entrance.  The night sizzled with excitement of the club scene of a a state-of-the-art restaurant, nightclub and event center.  It’s the ultimate blend of high style and excellent service.  Sleepy San Diego has learned how to party with this three story club on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Island Street .  The  floor-to-ceiling waterfall, rooftop cabanas, fire pit and VIP lounge makes this club the place to be seen.

My cosmopolitan adventure in San Diego, was an escape into luxury, a study in paradoxes and culinary feast of unique pleasures.  This over the top weekend sizzled with unexpected surprises that you can’t find anywhere else.

All I can say is,  “Stay classy, San Diego.”

— Feature by Janice Wilson, Jetsetters Magazine Las Vegas Corespondaant.