US Grant, San Diego, California $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
When the son of President Ulysses S. Grant opened this hotel in 1910 in the heart of downtown, it became an instant landmark, favored by presidents and the social elite through an extended heyday. You know the rest of this story: fading beauty, unfortunate makeovers, and finally, an unlikely savior. In this case, the heroes are the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians, who used capital from their nearby casino to buy the hotel and pour $56 million into its renovation. Unveiled in October 2006, the new-again U.S. Grant echoes the stately grandeur of its past without feeling dated. The 317 rooms are appointed with reproduction antique furnishings, basin sinks, and flat-screen TVs, and nearby Spa Velia partners with the hotel for in-room treatments. Downstairs, just off the opulent lobby, the new Grant Grill traded in its formerly dark, clubby vibe for light woods and mirrors, its traditional afternoon tea for "Tea and 'Tinis"; and steaks for lobster corndogs and blue-fin tuna tartare. If you're in San Diego for a beach vacation, this isn't for you, but it is close to the convention center, and attracts a lot of guests with business there.
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
The US Grant became the swankiest digs downtown overnight when it reopened in November after a $52 million retrofit that swept away almost everything but the original chandeliers. The cool blue hues throughout take their cue from both the presidential seal and the blue Belgian marble of the original 1910 lobby, while the 270 guest rooms flaunt Persian carpets and stylish retro-Baroque furniture offset by abstract black-and-white art. A lot of thought (and money) went into the bathrooms, especially the showers with their Escher-esque tiles. The menu at the celebrated Grant Grill has evolved away from chophouse fare toward California cuisine. The US Grant's one major drawback is its lack of sideshows to the main event: Spa Velia treatments are available in-room and in a special spa suite, but otherwise guests must seek their amusement in the nearby Gaslamp District.2007 Hot List
When to go: San Diego rocks out throughout the summer.
Which room to book: Get an inside room on the seventh floor overlooking the hotel's roof garden and Horton Plaza.
Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge, Gym, SpaSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›