Last month we were treated to a night stay at the beautiful U.S. Grant hotel in downtown San Diego, courtesy of our daughter who owns the luxury travel business, Passport To Friday. While we’ve had the opportunity to walk through the lobby of this amazing, historic hotel, staying here for the night was a wonderful experience!
The U.S. Grant is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was built by Ulysses S. Grant, Jr (whose father was president Ulysses S. Grant). The hotel opened on October 15, 1910. The architectural features of this historic hotel are impressive, and visiting the hotel is like taking a step back in time.
The hotel is a Luxury Collection hotel and its location in the Gaslamp section of downtown San Diego is ideal for a perfect weekend getaway. We were just a short walk to the San Diego Bay, Seaport Village, and all of downtown. On a beautiful sunny day (and what day in San Diego isn’t picture perfect!), there’s no shortage of sights to enjoy.
While check-in is normally 3:00 pm, one of our amenities of booking with Passport To Friday was early check-in. Checking in early gave us plenty of time to take a nice walk downtown enjoying the 75 degree weather (not bad for January!).
Another amenity we enjoyed was a free upgrade (based upon availability), so we were happily surprised to walk in the door to our suite. A beautiful, spacious living room separated from the bedroom was the perfect place to enjoy our welcome gift – a bottle of wine and cheese platter. The view of downtown from our 12th floor was spectacular.
The separate bedroom was so inviting with a large, plush bed and classic designs. One interesting fun-fact is that every bed in the hotel is framed by an original Yves Clement drip-painting headboards, valued at between $10,000 and $15,000 each!
4:00 – Happy hour
With money to burn (thanks to our $100 Passport To Friday resort credit), we headed down to the Grant Grill Bar Lounge for a round of drinks to start off our evening. The cocktail lounge feels like an old-age speakeasy and the signature cocktails added to the ambiance. My husband ordered the US GRANT Centennial Manhattan, a U.S. Grant signature cocktail consisting of High West Rye Whiskey, Dolin Vermouth Rouge, Fee Bros Bitters. It’s blended and aged in oak for 100 days.
I was in the mood for a Mezcal drink (my new favorite liquor), so we asked the bartender to use his imagination and create a drink. I told him I didn’t want it to taste like a margarita and not too sweet. He came up with the perfect cocktail – mezcal, soda, and a splash of grapefruit juice. It was exactly the type of drink I was craving.
The bar lounge also serves a great selection of small plates. We selected the Roasted Corn Fritters with Red Curry Lemongrass Barbecue Sauce (only $12.00 for 6 giant corn fritters) and the Hot Pastrami Sandwich.
6:00 pm – A Night Out in the Gaslamp
It was such a treat to be able to walk around the downtown Gaslamp district, have dinner, and not worry about looking for a parking space or driving home afterwards. The U.S. Grant is so centrally located that we had our choice of a huge array of restaurants. We decided to enjoy some small plates at Searsucker, a Brian Malarkey signature restaurant.
10:00 pm – Nightcap in the Lobby
We still had money left over from our $100 resort credit, so we headed back to the U.S. Grant to enjoy some jazz and an after-dinner drink. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, the Grant Bar Lounge features live music. Genres range from classic and new age Jazz, Blues, Rock, Soul, Pop and Samba. This is a very popular venue and unfortunately we arrived to a packed lounge. At first we thought we were out of luck, but then decided to sit in the lobby where we could hear the music perfectly. The cocktail waitress was more than happy to serve us out in the lobby so it worked out even better. We didn’t feel crowded and the lobby sofas were much more comfortable. It was the perfect ending to our evening.
9:00 am – Breakfast
Sunday brunch at the Grant Grill was amazing! I love restaurants that serve unique dishes – especially for breakfast when common fare such as scrambled eggs and pancakes can be found anywhere. They have a rotating seasonal quiche which I selected. This Sunday, the choice was a Roasted Cauliflower Quiche which contained marble potatoes, stilton blue cheese and pine nuts. It was topped with rosemary cream – yum!
If you are in the mood for french toast or pancakes, their offerings will not disappoint! My husband chose the Nutella Stuffed French Toast – served with vanilla macerated berries, coffee whipped butter, and hazelnuts. I thought the Brown Butter Citrus Pancakes topped with citrus segments, basil, grand marnier mascarpone and oatmeal crunch looked delicious.
Did I mention that brunch is also included, courtesy of Passport To Friday?
I love my home town San Diego and after enjoying the perfect Saturday night in downtown, my husband and I have promised to treat ourselves more often to weekend getaways. What made the evening even more special was that for the price of the hotel room, which was averaging about $250 the weekend we went, we also received a $100 credit (which we used for happy hour and late-night drinks after dinner) and free Sunday brunch. Not to mention the amazing upgrade to one of their suites!
The U.S. Grant is truly a beautiful, iconic hotel that was a true escape. It felt like we were on a far-away getaway, not just 20 minutes from home.
We’ll definitely be back!