Right after The Guild Hotel, San Diego, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel opened, it was added to many best of San Diego hotel lists. Critics knew that the luxury boutique hotel would cater to today’s experiential traveler who doesn’t want to lay their head in your average hotel.
The building’s exterior stays true to the century-old history of this former Army-Navy YMCA, while the inside brilliantly blends current design trends with the existing Renaissance-style architecture. And what they can’t offer internally due to space constraints, they supplement with partnerships. Combine this minimalistic room design — to let the architecture stand out — with an outstanding culinary program, and you have one of the hottest places to stay in downtown San Diego. You do need to know some things about the hotel though to decide if it’s right for you.
WHAT I LOVE
- Outstanding interior design that pays tribute to the hotel’s former life as an Army-Navy YMCA
- The arched ground floor windows
- Experiential partnerships like Padres game sky boxes and exotic car rentals
- Walkable location to Little Italy, Embarcadero, Gaslamp Quarter
- Excellent customer service consistently reported by guests
- A fair price point for what you get
- Value-added Marriott Luminous amenities
GOOD TO KNOW
- Pay attention to room size as some are only 200 square feet
- Ground floor rooms can have street noise
- Guests who are light sleepers should choose higher floors
- Valet parking or Columbia Street parking garage
- No swimming pool or spa
- Good for couples, solo travelers, business travelers — families who don’t need a lot of kid-friendly amenities will be fine here, too
The Guild Hotel’s History
In 1924, the building opened as a new Army-Navy YMCA in downtown San Diego. It was originally designed by architects Lincoln Rogers and Frank W. Stevenson. Funds to build the structure were raised in just 10 days.
The YMCA ran until 1970, after which the building’s purpose shifted a few times. This included parts of it being a hotel, as well as some rooms being rented as low-cost accommodation. In 2007, the building was registered as a National Historic Place.
The building then went on sale in 2014, and not long after, now co-founder Alvin Mansour secured it as his newest project. He joined forces with Sormeh Rienne, a Swedish designer, who brought her incredible talent into the many features of the hotel.
The original building held a basketball court, which has been reimagined into an elegant ballroom. An underground pool area has also been recreated into a marvelous event space. What you find now is a Renaissance-style architecture building with minimalist-designed rooms, and a Paris-chic-inspired lobby, bar, and restaurant. It’s part of Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio of independent hotels that cater to travelers looking for fresh and exciting experiences.
Rooms and Suites at The Guild Hotel, San Diego
There are 162 accommodations, spread across eight floors. There are six different room types, each with their own elegant designs. Of these rooms, 12 are suites and there is one exquisite two-bedroom penthouse.
The hotel’s rooms are where the futuristic design and technology-focused conveniences really shine. Each room offers WiFi, smart TVs, and appliances like hairdryers and air-conditioning for managing the San Diego sunshine. Dual-paned windows help keep street noise out but light sleepers should choose rooms on higher floors.
The rooms all combine custom-made furniture with high ceilings and stunning historic architecture to create an inviting atmosphere for travelers. They all come with clothing racks (no wardrobes), TVs, bottled water, Garnier & Thiebaut bedding, Maison Margiela Paris toiletries, and a walk-in shower or tub.
You’ll find every room is adorned with minimalist decor, but they all contain curated local art. The only real difference in rooms is the size (pay attention to this) and the floor that they are located on.
This luxurious, spacious penthouse has its own rooftop terrace overlooking the spectacular San Diego sights. It’s also situated on its own private floor.
The two-bedroom suite has 2.5 bathrooms, a living area, a wet bar, and a dining room. Both bedrooms have king beds and their own smart TVs. (1809 square feet)
Society rooms are divided into guest rooms and suites. The suites offer a living room area, while the guest rooms do not.
Located on the higher floors, these rooms provide the same clean yet comfy style and design, with high-quality bedding and a cozy place to spend a few nights. They also have WiFi and smart TVs, for your entertainment. (310 square feet for room/450 square feet for a suite)
The Master junior suites offer a plush king bed, a sofa bed (sleeps two people), and a desk to sit at. The bathrooms contain a tub or a walk-in rain shower, and large windows overlook the city below.
You’ll get the same luxury feel, but with a more scenic sight out the windows, in one of the master suites with a bay view. (446 square feet/350 square feet for bay view option)
Journeyman rooms at The Guild Hotel in San Diego are ideal for business trips, or adventurers who spend most of their time exploring.
There are king rooms and double queen rooms, with the queens offering two beds and more space than the kings. (260 square feet)
These rooms are all located on the first floor. They are snug rooms but feel a lot bigger than they are thanks to high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling arch windows.
The sounds of San Diego can be heard vaguely from the rooms, letting you experience the city’s vibe. However, once the long velvet drapes are closed, the rooms become quieter (but you’ll still hear some noise).
The hotel lobby bar and restaurant are on the same floor, allowing quick and easy access to coffee in the morning, and a short walk back from dinner. (250 square feet)
Choose between a king or queen apprentice room, these rooms work well for solo travelers, but can also fit a couple snugly.
The high ceilings and bright windows make the smaller rooms feel bright and roomy. When you’re not out exploring the city, or people watching from your window, there’s a smart TV to stream on. (200 square feet)
Although there are a number of fantastic restaurants in downtown San Diego, guests at The Guild can enjoy a delicious meal right at the hotel.
Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, Luca has quickly become known in the area for its world-class Mediterranean cuisine. Thanks to Chef Justin Vaiciunas, the food here receives great reviews from almost everyone who visits. The restaurant is located just off the lobby and provides courtyard seating. There’s a soft ambiance about the place, due to the charming pink, black, and white accents, soft lighting, and classic furniture.
For a quiet cocktail, before you retire to your room, the hotel’s onsite bar is a splendid place to be. The marble tabletops and velvet furnishings create a rich, elegant atmosphere. Guests can comfortably sip on wine at the bar or enjoy a chat on the couches with a locally brewed beer in hand.
Ideal for summer afternoons, Grace Garden is the only of its kind in downtown San Diego. This urban garden offers a quiet outdoor place to enjoy salads and sandwiches, and sip on ice tea as you plan the rest of your itinerary. You can also fetch your complimentary coffee from the Intelligentsia coffee bar (located in the Guild Bar) and drink it under the trees in the garden.
Wellness, Events, and Other Amenities
The Guild focuses on “… providing comforts and conveniences that will afford practically unlimited opportunity for pleasure and social diversions.” But the hotel still offers extra amenities to make any stay enjoyable.
The 1000-square-foot onsite fitness center is open 24/7 for guests of the hotel. It contains cardio machines, weights, strength training equipment, and stretch mats. There are also water bottle fountains and towels available.
Ballrooms, Boardroom, and Garden Event Spaces
The event spaces include a stunning Grace Ballroom (the former basketball court) that can be rented out for stately events like weddings and the Society Ballroom (the former pool) for larger meetings. There is also the Council Room boardroom for business meetings in a trendy location, surrounded by historic charm and elegance, and the lovely outdoor Garden Terrace for social gatherings.
The hotel has partnerships with many businesses in the area, allowing you to access enhanced services with your booking. This is incredibly helpful since the hotel doesn’t have its own spa or pool. Guests can take advantage of the 16,000-square-foot Broadway Athletic Club across the street and Aqua Vie Spa (7 minutes walk).
The partnerships also allow for custom driving experiences in exotic cars via O’Gara and exclusive Padres game experiences including special Sky Box arrangements.
Child- and Pet-Friendly Amenities
While there are no specific child-focused amenities, The Guild Hotel, San Diego, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel happily welcomes children of all ages. You can request a crib in your room free of charge and can pay $50/night plus tax for a rollaway bed in Artisan rooms and above.
Pets up to 40 lbs. are welcomed, too. Guests will have to pay a non-refundable cleaning deposit for furry companions to join in on San Diego vacations.
The Guild Hotel San Diego parking is in the adjacent Columbia Street Garage if you’ve driven to town or rented a car. Or, if you’re visiting a guest or enjoying one of the restaurants, you can try metered street parking. The latter can be hard to come by though.
The Guild Hotel’s Location
The Guild’s address is 500 W Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101.
The Guild Hotel, San Diego’s downtown San Diego location is a big draw for guests. It’s two blocks up from the Santa Fe Depot Amtrak and trolley station. It will also take you less than 10 minutes to walk to the bayside Embarcadero entertainment area to the east and Little Italy to the north. This means that if you’re in the mood to venture out for dinner, there are plenty of restaurants nearby, and you’ll find a few good places to party as well. Walk to nightlife in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter in about 15 minutes. The airport is also a 10-minute drive away.
For sightseeing outside of downtown, take a short Uber ride to San Diego’s must-see attractions, such as Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, and Old Town San Diego (10 minutes). Reach the gorgeous Coronado beaches by a scenic ferry that you’ll board at the Embarcadero (10-minute walk to the ferry) or by car (15-minute drive) over the scenic Coronado Bridge.
Don’t forget to send me your dates to get access to Marriott Luminous benefits.