The Area: Downtown San Diego.
The DNA: Built in 1924 for the Army and Navy, and long time a YMCA, the handsome bones of the seven-floor Italianate Renaissance building on Broadway have been deftly realigned by interior designer Sormeh Rienne into a 162-room retreat. The period flourishes of the exterior have been faithfully restored, but it’s the interiors that have been thoroughly spruced up and reimagined – not least the original basketball court and elevated running track, and the underground pool, both now ballrooms. The conversion of the pool into a ballroom leaves the hotel with neither wet facility nor spa; though that probably leaves you with more time at the outdoor courtyard restaurant Luca – a black and white themed cocoon anchored by an outdoor fireplace – where head chef Justin Vaiciunas mollifies spirits with lobster salad rolls, red quinoa fritters, and tenderloin club sandwiches.
Suite-Me-Up: The bedrooms pair high ceilings, and city and harbour views with leather headboards, customised artwork by local artists, and Garnier-Thiebaut linen, with the best room in the house – the 2-bedroom penthouse – staking the rooftop terrace.
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 162 rooms (18-32m) (200-350 sq ft), including 13 suites (41-163m2) (450-1809 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2019 • interior design: Sormeh Rienne • parking possible on-site (charged) • pets allowed • 24-hour front desk • wheelchair accessible