San Diego, California
January 13-15, 2017
Room Rate: 250 USD
The weeks after the Christmas holiday season are undoubtedly the worst – weeks of winter on the horizon with not much to look forward to. As such, I decided to escape an admittedly mild New York City winter and head to California for the MLK weekend. After finding a great deal on tickets to San Diego, I decided to book at The US Grant Hotel, a luxury collection property located in downtown San Diego.
The US Grant Hotel, Luxury Collection
Spa: No, but Spa Suite available on 8th Floor
Make a Green Choice: No
Bar and Restaurant On-Property: Yes – Grant Grill
Room Rate Range: 200-400 USD
Looking for a Snapshot of the trip? Jump to the Takeaway
Brian and I arrived at the hotel just before midnight and were promptly checked in by the front desk associate. Unfortunately, no upgrades were available (or well, were given to us), but at this rate, I was far too exhausted to care and we soon made my way up to my assigned room – 415.
The lobby was very nice, though at first glance, the finishes seemed a little outdated (or “Old California”, as I would describe it), the furniture looked updated.
L-R Lobby entryway, Lobby seating, Concierge desk, additional lobby seating
We made our way to the elevator bank, located at the back end of the lobby. A key card was required to use the elevator to access any floor above the 2nd level.
Once we got to the fourth floor, the look and feel was noticeably more modern and different from the lobby – the hallways looked brighter and the decor was updated, though didn’t seem to completely clash from the decor downstairs.
The elevator opened up to a large space with a cushy ottoman in the middle. Walking past the elevator bank, we walked down the hallway, following signs to our room. The 4th floor had a modern Great Gatsby-ish feel to it – a modern, art deco mashup look , from the carpet print, to the gold mirrors in the hallway.
L-R Fourth floor elevator bank, Fourth floor hallway, Fourth floor hallway mirror, Room 415 exterior
The room located about halfway down the hallway, and the door was unlocked by tapping your key card onto the reader right above the door handle.
The door opens up to a small landing, to the right of which opens up to the room. The room was large and spacious, and the bed looked incredibly inviting the second I stepped inside.
The clean, crisp style from the hallway carried into the room – modern furniture, unique artwork, and herringbone printed carpeting.
L-R The US Grant Hotel Superior Room painted headboard, Privacy buttons, Herringbone carpet, Luxury Collectiion key card with crown molding reflection
Right by the entryway was a full length mirror.
By the mirror was a sitting area, with a plush overstuffed chair and side table. While the chair looks of the form over function variety, I’m happy to report it was incredibly comfortable to melt into after a day of walking around the city.
The bed was the central focal point of the room, and the pièce de résistance was undoubtedly the unique drip-painted headboard created exclusively by French artist Yves Clement for each of the hotel’s room.
On the left side, the bedside table had a bluetooth clock radio. The bedside table on the right had a cordless room phone.
The bed was chock full of pillows (which I love – Brian hates), including 3 European shams, 4 king sized pillows, and a decorative pillow with a ‘G’ embroidered onto it.
L-R The US Grant Hotel Superior Room left side bedside table, King sized bed, King sized bed pillows, Right side bedside table
The desk was up against the window. We didn’t have much of a view, just of the Westgate Hotel next door.
The desk came with a phone, some stationary, pens and the like, neatly tucked away, everything perfectly in place.
The room also had a 49 inch flat screen TV, a console table and a set of drawers. There was more than enough room for two people to comfortably unpack and settle into the space.
By the entryway was the closet and a stack of cabinets. The bottom section contained the refrigerator (I’m hesitant to call it a mini bar because it was, well, empty) and the safe.
The middle section held a couple of glasses, an ice bucket, and two complimentary water bottles. I loved that the water bottles not only had their logo and hotel name on the bottles, it also had a sketch of property on the label as well.
L-R The US Grant Hotel Superior Room entryway bottom cabinet (with safe and mini refrigerator), Mini refrigerator, Middle cabinet, and US Grant bottled water
The closet doors were gorgeous a deep brown color – which complimented the wood flooring at the entryway nicely.
The closet came equipped with some standard hotel room extras you’d expect to find – an iron, an ironing board, a spare robe, a shoe horn, an extra luggage rack (though on that note – why don’t all rooms come with an extra luggage rack?), a laundry bag, a bag for shoes to be sent out for shining, and an empty US Grant Hotel-branded shopping bag.
L-R The US Grant Hotel Superior Room closet doors, Ironing board and spare robe, Laundry and shoe shine caddy
The bathroom was spacious (at least in my opinion – keeping in mind that I live in a shoebox) – not unusually large, but easy enough for two people to share.
The sink had an ample amount of sink space for me to unpack my toiletries and hair dryer, which I’m always a fan of.
L-R The US Grant Hotel Superior Room bathroom sink toiletries and tissue box, Under-sink storage of spare towels and hair dryer, Magnifying mirror
The toilet was between the sink and shower. Brian mentioned the toilet was “large”, and while the piece was certainly heftier than most, I don’t think the seat was wider than the average. The flush handle was interesting – you pulled it towards yourself to flush the toilet.
The glass-enclosed shower space was a comfortable size, and came with a gorgeous floor tiling that was in tune with the herringbone carpeting in the room.
The shower had decent water pressure – I would have certainly appreciated something stronger, but it wasn’t terrible.
The toiletries in the bathroom were supplied by Elemis, which I am a huge fan of (I love the conditioner!). The bottles felt small (I’m not sure if smaller than usual) but housekeeping was great about providing us a constant supply – we always had a couple spare bottles in the room.
Right outside the shower was the towel rack, which held 2 sets of 3 towels. The bathrobe was hung on a hook on the bathroom door – a little too far from the shower. The robe was thick, soft, and warm – didn’t feel underwhelming like some other bathrobes I’ve used.
L-R The US Grant Hotel Superior Room bathroom shower head, Bathroom toiletries, Towel rack and weighing scale
The hotel offers turn down service, which came with a couple chocolates (the wrapper of which bore a photograph of the hotel’s exterior), plus a notecard with tomorrow’s weather, and some mood music to top it off.
In addition to the large flat screen TV, the room came equipped with plenty of outlets, and USB ports. As expected, the room comes with free wifi for those who book directly with SPG, though there are two options – regular and premium. SPG plats are able to select premium at no charge.
L-R The US Grant Hotel Superior Room outlets – desk, left and right bedside tables, and console table
Overall, I really loved our room. It felt very comfortable and was visually stunning. I in particular really liked the bed – it was just the right firmness and the pillows didn’t feel flat and old. I also loved the overall decor of the space – it looked very unique and modern, but touches like the crown molding and crisp lines gave a nod to a bygone era.
As my platinum amenity, we opted for the complimentary breakfast. Breakfast is held at the Grant Grill restaurant located at the lobby.
The restaurant was large and had several seating sections – bar table seating, restaurant tables, booth seats, and a lounge area.
We were promptly seated and brought to a booth in the back of the restaurant.
While most SPG properties offer the complimentary breakfast as part of a buffet, Grant Grill does not offer a buffet option. Instead, we were able to order off the regular menu and spend up to $40 between the two of us (I assume $20 if you’re one person), which is enough to order one large plate.
We had breakfast for two days at Grant Grill and tried a few items on the menu. Day one, I had the Farmer’s Market Omelette and Brian had the Grant Breakfast. Both our dishes came with potatoes, which were fantastic – crispy on the outside, but soft in the middle. My omelette was delicious – so good I thought about ordering it the second day. I would have, but the Nutella-stuffed french toast sounded too amazing to pass up (it was!). Brian had the Power Breakfast on the next day, which he liked, but there wasn’t enough food on the Power Breakfast platter (oddly).
The service at the restaurant was very attentive, and I overall enjoyed my meals there to the point that I looked forward to going to breakfast.
On a side note – I walked by the restaurant one evening on our way in and noticed they had a live jazz band playing and seemed pretty busy – a good group of people were there, some of who were on their feet dancing! All in all, the place seems to be a well run machine who sees a good number of patrons come through their doors.
Staff and On-Site Amenities & Extras
The staff was kind of a mixed bag – most were incredibly helpful and went above while others were simply lukewarm, though none were rude. All for the most part seemed to want to help.
One thing Brian noticed is that there were three concierge desks in the lobby. Most hotels usually have just one, maybe two, but I rarely see three. Especially unusual since there didn’t seem to be a ton of foot traffic when I was in the lobby. In any case, I never noticed anybody waiting around to speak to a concierge, which is always a good thing.
The hotel didn’t have too much in terms of extra amenities. While there’s a gym on-site, there is no spa – though there is a spa suite. I didn’t get to use the facility while I was there, so I’m not quite sure how it’s different from a standard spa, though I suspect it’s smaller and offers fewer amenities. You can also opt to receive spa services in your room. You can find the Spa Menu on their website here.
They did do a few extra things I appreciated. During the day in the lobby, they offered coffee and tea – and a fairly extensive offering considering it was complimentary (most places just offer one or the other and rarely leave it out as long as they did – at least through the early afternoon). This was a godsend the day I was working in the hotel. The staff was always quick to replenish the offering or clean up any garbage left by a hotel guest.
At night, there was a live jazz trio that played in the lobby to entertain guests. A bar cart was wheeled out to the lobby to allow guests to relax and have a drink at the lobby, without going into the hotel restaurant. I appreciated the small extra things that were offered – even if these were not “built in” to the hotel so to speak.
The US Grant Hotel is situated in downtown San Diego, across the street from Horton Plaza Park and a Westfield mall. Though I’m not particularly a fan of the downtown area, the neighborhood is incredibly convenient. As a traveler, having access to a mall nearby means a back up plan in case you forget anything (bonus: there’s a CVS in the mall). The area is also very close to other locations a first time visitor might want to go to (the Gaslamp Quarter is only a few blocks away), and thanks to its central location, it’s a pretty quick (and cheap) uber ride to most neighborhoods in San Diego.
We really enjoyed our stay at the property. I particularly loved breakfast at the restaurant – so much that I looked forward to it every morning. While I’ve had some impressive breakfast buffets at other properties, it is always really nice to order something off the menu and get something fresh off the stove. I didn’t love the location specifically, but it was incredibly convenient. Most importantly though – I really loved our room. The property lost points with the lack of elite recognition – I’m not one to demand an upgrade, but I do love receiving a welcome note and some local treats. None of those materialized during this stay, unfortunately (which was odd – the hotel didn’t seem particularly busy). Even so, we had a great stay and would definitely come back.
Check In: 8/10 – Quick, efficient, and my key worked.
Elite Recognition: 5/10 – Nothing offered other than the standard platinum amenity.
Room: 10/10 – Gorgeous, comfortable, functional. All the right things.
In-Room Technology & Entertainment: 9/10 – Free internet, large TV, plenty of outlets everywhere.
Staff: 8/10 – Attentive and friendly.
Location: 7/10 – Convenient location, though the area itself is not my favorite neighborhood in San Diego.
On-Site Dining: 9/10 – The food at Grant Grill was fantastic. Great selection on the breakfast menu.
On-Site Amenities: 8/10 – Gym, spa suite, plus options for in-room massages.
Hospitality Services: 8/10 – Plenty of concierges on hand to help
Hotel Appearance: 9/10 – Beautiful interiors (and exterior), though some of the decor seems pieced together from numerous eras.
Overall Rating: 81/100 (81%) ★★★★★